Summer, it’s a time for reflection in the NHL.
The champion has been crowned, the future has been drafted, and the bulk of player movement has subsided. Much of the conversation is rightfully focused on the season ahead and expectations.
But let’s not move on too quickly. Despite not having quite as long a playoff run as they wanted, the Edmonton Oilers still had a fantastic regular season and an exciting two rounds in the postseason. During that time, a number of players either helped the team reach their greatest potential, carried water down the stretch, or actively held the team back.
Today’s edition of the 2022–23 player grades has all of that. So, without further ado, let’s get a-markin…
Leon Draisaitl: A+
It’s really hard to discredit Leon Draisaitl at all.
The German superstar turned in yet another superb season that saw him hit career highs in assists (76) and points (128). If it weren’t for Connor McDavid having such a historic year, all the headlines and awards would be going to #29.
Funnily enough, his regular season actually felt a little underwhelming at times, despite those video-game numbers. Draisaitl has played at such a high level that anything less than complete dominance feels out of place.
That type of regular season alone would have landed Draisaitl a very solid A, it was his playoff run that put him over the edge and into McDavid territory.
Draisaitl was an absolute beast in the postseason that could not be stopped. In just 12 games, he scored 13 goals and 18 points. Only Jonathan Marchessault had as many goals and he played in 10 more games than Draisaitl.
It’s hard to believe that the Oilers have a player that can rival McDavid in skill, but Draisaitl does just that. Another fantastic campaign in the books.
Tyson Barrie: B
It was another productive year for Tyson Barrie and the Oilers.
The 32 year old anchored the league’s best power play for most of the season and was very good at it, notching 28 of his 43 points with the man-advantage. Defensively, the story was the same as well, as he was not always the greatest defensive player.
To be fair to Barrie, being a defensive stalwart was never his job on this team. He was brought in to score points and he continued to do that for the Oilers, which is why I think a B grade is fitting.
Perhaps his biggest impact on the team this year was his value on the open market. He was a key piece in the Mattias Ekholm trade, which greatly helped make the team more reliable in their own end AND helped Evan Bouchard take the next step in his development.
Barrie gave the Oilers some very good seasons during his tenure and 2022–23 was no different. Wishing him the best in Nashville this upcoming season.
Devin Shore: C+
There isn’t much to say about Devin Shore’s final season with the Oilers.
Coming into the year, Shore was expected to be the extra forward that would probably find himself in the press box more often than not. He ended up playing in 47 games during the regular season, which is probably more than a lot of people expected.
During that time he was ok at the bottom of the roster, outperforming some of his analytics (47.46 xGF%) and actually had a positive goals for margin while on the ice (13 for and nine against.)
He was particularly effective during a short stretch at the end of the season after he changed to #19 to give Ekholm his previous #14 sweater. Something that seemed to amuse both fans and his teammates.
That brief stretch wasn’t enough to warrant him any playoff time and his contract expired at the end of the season without renewal.
He wasn’t the worst depth forward to play for the team, but he certainly wasn’t the best either.
Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire