Edmonton Oilers Are a Cautionary Tale for the Toronto Maple Leafs

This year's Edmonton Oilers could serve as a cautionary tale for next year's Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Edmonton Oilers' current situation mirrors that of the Toronto Maple Leafs
The Edmonton Oilers' current situation mirrors that of the Toronto Maple Leafs / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Edmonton Oilers have had a postseason run that the Toronto Maple Leafs can only envy.

The Oilers have gotten past three tough teams in the Los Angeles Kings, Vancouver Canucks, and Dallas Stars. The Toronto Maple Leafs, you may remember, couldn't even get by one.,

While the Oilers are in tough against the Florida Panthers, their overall season has been a successful one. Nevertheless, the Panthers have exposed the Oilers' weaknesses.

Namely, the Oilers are a top-heavy team that relies on its big guns to drive scoring. While the game 4 rout in which Edmonton scored eight times on the Panthers has alleviated some of the criticism, it remains to be seen whether the Oilers can fully comeback.

But what it the Panthers shut down the Oiler's top stars again? What if the power play falls flat once again? What if the depth scoring dries up? What if the goaltending just isn't there? These questions are still very much in the back of everyone's minds.

Anyone following the Toronto Maple Leafs knows these question sound eerily familiar. The top guys don’t score in the playoffs, and the power play falls flat in big games. Of course, the Oilers have gotten much farther than the Leafs have. But if the Oilers ultimately come up short, will big changes be on the horizon for the Oilers?

The Leafs are very much in the same situation heading into next season. If they make the playoffs next season (assuming they do), and the big core players can't get it done, that is get past the second round, big offseason changes will come. While many expect those changes to happen this offseason, it seems unlikely. There's still one more year of Mitch Marner and John Tavares. It'll be next season, when those contracts are up, that fans can expect big changes.

As such, the Toronto Maple Leafs have one more kick at the can. I don’t expect Mitch Marner and John Tavares to go anywhere. Brad Treliving will do his best to fill out the roster with the cap space available. )

At this point, it seems that the only untouchables are William Nylander and Auston Matthews. Beyond that, do the Toronto Maple Leafs let Marner and Tavares walk away? Do they at least make a courtesy chase for both players?

These questions will emerge next summer. While a Cup would do wonders to appease the fan base, anything short of a Finals appearance will not suffice.

Leon Draisaitl Situation Mirrors that of Mitch Marner

Like Marner, Draisaitl has one year left on his deal before hitting free agency. The Oilers expect Draisaitl to command a huge payday.

So, do they keep, trade, or sign him?

This reflection made me think how Edmonton is in the same position as the Toronto Maple Leafs are with Mitch Marner. If I had to bet, I would say the Oilers keep Draisaitl, hoping he’ll resign. If he doesn’t, they’ll let him walk.

The Leafs gain nothing by trying to trade Marner now. Like the Oilers, the Leafs gain a lot more by letting Marner play out the final year of his deal. If Marner resigns, it’s a big plus. If he doesn’t, the Leafs win cap space.


Ultimately, Leafs fans had better keep an eye on Draisaitl in Edmonton because that negotiation could indicate how the Marner situation plays out (or doesn’t) in Toronto.