Edmonton Oilers avoid disaster with Leon Draisaitl situation

The NHL Department of Player Safety delivered just one piece of supplemental discipline, but fortunately for the Oilers it didn't involve Leon Draisaitl.
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Two
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Two / Elsa/GettyImages

The Edmonton Oilers are going to need more than their fair share of good fortune, if they are to recover from their 2-0 deficit and make a series of it versus the Florida Panthers. Well, they've received their first bit of positive luck before even getting back onto the ice for game three at Rogers Place.

As per Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press, Leon Draisaitl has avoided a potential suspension and will be eligible to play in Thursday night's game against the Panthers. This will bring understandable relief to the Oilers and their fans.

The reality is that you can make the case Draisaitl deserved further punishment, after his controversial hit on Aleksander Barkov along the boards. The Oilers centre appeared to use his elbow high on the Panthers captain, who left the game and never returned.

As you'd expect, Draisaitl denied there was any frustration or malicious intent, but there were plenty who believed he should have been suspended for at least one game. The only solace for the Panthers is that the hit resulted in a power play which they scored on, to all but put the game away at 3-1 with just 7:34 remaining.

So why did Draisaitl avoid a suspension?

There is a school of thought that the NHL does not want to impact the result of this Stanley Cup Final, by not having the stars playing. However, this rationale can be questioned, by the possibility that Barkov will miss playing time because of Draisaitl's hit.

What does make sense, is that the 2020 Hart Memorial Trophy winner's history in the NHL helped him. He's not someone renowned for controversial hits, having never been suspended and only fined twice previously.

Regardless, in our humble opinion the Oilers have dodged a bullet. Now, Draisaitl has to find a way to make up for the reality his hit and the subsequent penalty ultimately cost his team a chance to win game two.

The five-time NHL All-Star currently sits tied second in playoff scoring (along with teammate Evan Bouchard), on 28 points. However, his production has dried up of late with just three points in his past seven games, including none in the two Stanley Cup Final contests.

More good news for the Oilers

More good fortunate came the Oilers way, with the news that Warren Foegele also won't receive any further discipline. He was ejected from game two during the first period, as a result of a knee-on-knee hit on Eetu Luostarinen.

From our perspective the ejection of Foegele seemed harsh, so it is good to see common sense prevail. Although you can make the case he's had minimal positive impact on the ice for the Oilers so far during these playoffs.

In the end, the only punishment handed out by the NHL Department of Player Safety, was to Sam Carrick. As per Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, Carrick was fined $2,213.54 -- the maximum amount allowable -- for slashing the Panthers' Dmitry Kulikov.

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Overall, the Oilers should be thankful the NHL Department of Player Safety was so lenient. Now, they need to take advantage of this leniency as they attempt to make a series of it versus the Panthers, beginning on Thursday night back home in Edmonton.

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