Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl know that if the Oilers want to lift the Stanley Cup, the time has come to make it happen.
Two tough-to-digest playoff eliminations have made the dynamic duo hungrier than ever to do better this season.
The team reached the Western Finals in 2022, before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the Colorado Avalanche.
Last spring, they lost in the second round, once again to the Cup-winning team, the Vegas Golden Knights.
“We weren’t consistent enough for a lot of the series,” McDavid said during a media tour in Las Vegas on Wednesday. Small errors here and there made our case worse. We learned from this lesson. It was a tight and tough series. »
Draisaitl said the Oilers understand they need to be much better.
“In the important moments of the fifth and sixth games, the Knights made fewer mistakes than us,” said Draisaitl, who will play a 10e NHL season. They showed a little more maturity. They deserved to win. »
The forward added that the two disappointments in a row in the playoffs added motivation to the team.
“There’s a reason why we didn’t forget, and why we didn’t win,” Draisaitl said. However, we are not far away. I think we all feel that way. »
McDavid will be in his ninth season. He led the NHL in 2022-23 with 64 goals and 153 points, winning a third Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP.
Draisaitl scored 52 goals and was second in points with 128.
There’s no doubt the duo will dominate, or at least be among the top scorers again this season, if they stay healthy. However, numbers are not the priority.
“To say ‘cut or bust’ is a little dramatic,” Draisaitl said. On the other hand, we are at a stage where we all want to win. We are ready. We want to work and do everything to make it happen. »