Draisaitl reflects on Oilers’ playoff defeat: ‘feels like a failure or a wasted year’

An emotional Leon Draisaitl described his feelings following the Edmonton Oilers' second-round exit to the Vegas Golden Knights and how when they don't win the Stanley Cup it can feel like a failure or a wasted year.

Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl didn’t mince words after being eliminated by the Vegas Golden Knights in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Sunday.

In year eight of the Draisaitl, Connor McDavid duo, the Oilers were dispatched before reaching the Stanley Cup Final once again.

Coming off a trip to the Western Conference Final in 2021-22, expectations were raised for Edmonton to finally break through in 2023.

“It hurts. Tough, tough to find words right now,” said Draisaitl post-game. “Obviously, when you start a season, you’re in it to win it, and we’re at that stage. If you don’t complete that, just feels like a failure or a wasted year almost. It hurts.”

When McDavid was asked if he felt like Edmonton missed out on an opportunity this year, he agreed.

“Certainly. Yeah, you said it.”

Despite bowing out before he and the team would like, the 2023 Hart Trophy favourite spoke on how the sting of losing in the playoffs is a part of becoming a championship team.

“(It) feels like every team that wins, and goes on a stretch of winning, experiences this,” he said. “Obviously, it’s not what you want to do, not what you want to feel. That being said, I really feel you got to go through some of this to win. I think we’ve seen that all the way through. Let’s hope it’s the last time.”

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After scoring 13 goals and 17 points in Edmonton’s first eight playoff games, Draisaitl was held off the scoresheet in three of the final four games against the Golden Knights — all of which the Oilers lost.

“Yeah, they’re a good team. They played us well. Played us hard,” he said of the Golden Knights. “There’s too many little mistakes at key moments for our group that ended up backfiring and (turned) the series around.”

As for what he will take away from the series loss?

“Just the feeling of how much it hurts. I don’t think anyone in here wants to feel like that again,” said the NHL’s second-leading scorer. “You gotta do whatever you have to do personally to make sure you don’t feel like that anymore. Obviously very fresh. Hurts right now.”

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