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Why Did The Oilers Come Up Short?

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The Oilers came within a goal of advancing to the Western Conference Finals. What was the biggest reason that kept them from doing so?

Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Oilers ended their season Wednesday night at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. The Ducks took the best of seven series by a 4-3 score, and will face the Predators starting tomorrow.

While the Ducks and Preds battle for the right to head to the Cup Finals, the reflection on the season has just begun. There’s plenty to love about this past season. Connor McDavid is easily the biggest story for the Oilers, with Cam Talbot probably right behind. Leon Draisaitl and Patrick Maroon were certainly big stories throughout the year. The defence appeared to take some steps, and there were several stories along the way about secondary scorers like Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian to keep the scoreboard moving along.

I had them down for about 85 points this year. The club blew that number out of the water by 18, and they were a regulation win away from the Pacific Division Crown. That’s not too bad. They took a series from San Jose in the playoffs, and were a goal away from doing it in seven games against the Ducks. It was a good season.

Now that it’s over, let’s examine why the Oilers couldn’t get past the Ducks. There are a few reasons, but what’s the biggest one? Is it one that can be addressed in the offseason?

A few options:

INEXPERIENCE

Mention the word ‘playoffs’ between the years 2007 and 2016 and you’d get a lot of stories about what a playoff game used to look like. In 2017, there were six of them at Rogers Place. Man, what a concept. They should have a few more there next year too. The Oilers went out and acquired Milan Lucic for a few reasons, but one of them likely was his playoff acumen. Lucic is a player who has actually seen the playoffs with a couple of teams. Anyone drafted by the Oilers might have heard of the concept of what playoffs are. This year was the first playoff action for long tenured Oilers like Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Did inexperience set the Oilers back?

DEPTH ON DEFENCE

Adam Larsson was brought in at the end of June in a slightly controversial deal that sent Taylor Hall to the New Jersey Devils. Hall was no doubt a giant price to pay for Larsson, but there’s also no doubt that the Oilers were able to find Larsson some work immediately. Was it enough? When Andrej Sekera and Oscar Klefbom were unable to play due to injury in game six just a few days ago, the club was forced to insert Griffin Reinhart and Eric Gryba into the lineup.

LACK OF SCORING FROM TOP PLAYERS

Probably the most glaring numbers (or lack thereof) are Jordan Eberle’s statline. Eberle mustered just two points in thirteen games of the postseason. Nugent-Hopkins had four assists, and Benoit Pouliot failed to acquire a point during this postseason. Milan Lucic had six points (2-4-6), but only one point while 5 on 5.

THE OFFICIATING

Yeah, it stunk for large swaths of the playoffs. Don’t think it was the reason that the Oilers couldn’t carry the flag past the second round, but it was rather pungent at times.

So what’s the reason that the Oilers couldn’t keep it going? One of these reasons? Something else? Let’s hear it.

Poll

Why did the Oilers fail to advance past Anaheim?

This poll is closed

  • 7%
    Inexperience
    (40 votes)
  • 7%
    Lack of depth on D
    (39 votes)
  • 42%
    Lack of scoring from top players
    (228 votes)
  • 40%
    Officials
    (220 votes)
  • 2%
    Something different (leave in comment)
    (15 votes)
542 votes total Vote Now