The post Are Oilers Better Off Than Maple Leafs If They Don’t Win the Cup? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

As the Toronto Maple Leafs watch the playoff semi-finals, the Edmonton Oilers are one game away from a Stanley Cup berth. Can the last Canadian team in the hunt pull off a Game 6 win and get into the Stanley Cup Final? If they do, can they go on to beat the Florida Panthers and win it all?

Finally, the bigger question for this post is whether – if the Oilers cannot win the Stanley Cup – they are better off than the Maple Leafs, who have been out of the running since losing their first-round series to the Boston Bruins in seven hard-fought games?

The Maple Leafs and the Oilers Have Been Built in Similar Ways

The Maple Leafs and the Oilers have rosters of notable first-round picks who continue to play pivotal roles within the team. Auston Matthews, the first overall selection in 2016, stands as one of the NHL’s best goal-scorers, consistently leading the Maple Leafs in offensive production. Mitch Marner, drafted fourth overall in 2015, is a dynamic playmaker whose creativity and vision on the ice make him a constant threat.

Related: Oilers Power Play Finally Catches Up to Penalty Kill In Game 5 Win

William Nylander, chosen eighth overall in 2014, adds scoring depth and versatility to the lineup with his skillful play. Additionally, Morgan Rielly, selected fifth overall in 2012, anchors the Maple Leafs’ defense, providing leadership and offensive contributions from the blue line. Together, these first-round picks embody the Maple Leafs’ commitment to building a competitive roster through the draft and developing homegrown talent.

Brad Treliving confirmed the Maple Leafs will look at trades to bolster their defense and he talked about Nylander’s negotiations.

The Oilers have made significant first-round selections who remain integral to the team’s lineup. Connor McDavid, the first overall pick in 2015, is regarded as the best player in the NHL. He consistently led the league in scoring and served as the face of the franchise. Leon Draisaitl, who was drafted third overall in 2014, is another elite forward who complements McDavid. Together, they form one of the most potent duos in the league.

Additionally, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was selected first overall in 2011. He has developed into a reliable two-way forward, providing versatility and offensive production. Evan Bouchard was selected tenth overall in 2018. He’s a promising young defenseman. His offensive skills and poise with the puck make him an exciting prospect for the Oilers’ blue line. These players collectively represent the Oilers’ commitment to building a competitive team through the NHL Draft and developing talent internally.

The Maple Leafs Have Floundered, While the Oilers Have Flourished – Well, Almost

Fast forward eight years since the Maple Leafs drafted Matthews. Toronto’s dream of success remains distant. Despite their core, they’ve only made it past the first round once in the last eight postseasons. Matthews, Marner, and Nylander have had some great moments, but it’s never been enough for an extended run. Hot opposing goalies, defensive lapses, and bad luck have all played their parts.

On the other hand, the Oilers, with a similar star-studded approach, have seen more success. McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nugent-Hopkins are in their second Western Conference Final. Bouchard has become a standout defenseman, and former Maple Leafs stalwart Zach Hyman is thriving. The Oilers have the top three scorers and four of the top six in this year’s playoffs. McDavid and Draisaitl even rank among the top five in career playoff points per game, trailing only legends Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux.

The Oilers’ power play is finally working.

Still, in an age where it’s often said that “only the Stanley Cup counts,” the Oilers have not yet won it.

Because Both Teams Have “Cup or Bust” Mentalities, Is Anything Less Satisfactory?

Given both teams’ cup-or-bust mentalities, are the Oilers better off than the Maple Leafs in the long run if they don’t win the Stanley Cup this season? Despite Edmonton’s deep runs, they haven’t clinched a championship either. The Maple Leafs’ stars face criticism for their playoff performances, and new coach Craig Berube aims to shake things up.

Can Maple Leafs fans take solace in the fact that a coaching change worked for the Oilers? However, Edmonton’s near successes have yet to yield a Cup. So, where do the Oilers currently stand? Are the Oilers in a better position, or are both teams still chasing an elusive dream? Really, with the Stanley Cup so elusive, are both teams stuck in the same boat?

It doesn’t feel that way watching the Oilers play. Despite their lack of ultimate success, the Oilers seem to be in a far better position.

Related: Oilers and Stars In Elimination Games Show Intriguing Trend

The post Are Oilers Better Off Than Maple Leafs If They Don’t Win the Cup? appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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