The biggest reason the Edmonton Oilers lost? A single decision made one month ago

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“We second guess ourselves…” Holland said of NHL players, coaches and GMs. “Down the road, you get to look back and say, ‘What did I miss? What would I do it differently?’ You just need to make way more decisions that work out. Whether you’re a general manager, whether you’re a head coach, whether you’re a player, you’re going to make some decisions that don’t work out, but you got to make way more decisions that do work out than don’t work out. When I analyzed Dave Tippett, I thought we made great progress this year… I think he was a big piece of the progress…”

Tippett did indeed get almost everything right this year as a coach. And it was him, after all, who created the Dynamite Line.

But, as Holland says, he’s got to get most of his decisions right, which means running with the Dynamite Line next year.

In Yamamoto and RNH, Tippett has now found his linemates for 2020-21 for Draisaitl.

Finding the right linemates for McDavid, however, will present a greater challenge.

In that regard, he’ll need help from Holland. The Oilers GM has to find smart wingers with big shots, noses for the net, and a willingness to back check, win board battles, and cover off the defensive slot effectively.

Kassian, as fierce and swift as he can be, failed to step up in the playoffs and be that player, but maybe he can again reach that height. Athanasiou and Joakim Nygard might mell have what it takes, and would combine with McDavid to be the NHL’s single fastest line, perhaps the fastest hockey line in NHL history. Josh Archibald works in a pinch. Tyler Benson might find a way to fit into that slot, though he’s more of a passer than a shooter. Rugged James Neal, with his sniper’s hands, is still an option. Raphael Lavoie might work out in years to come.

But along with one more NHL quality goalie, I’d say finding a Top 6 winger with the unique attributes it takes to play with McDavid is Job #1 for Holland this summer.

At the Cult of Hockey

Staples: Holland defends defensive play of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl: “They are getting better”

McCURDY: What burst the Oilers bubble in the 2020 play-ins?

McCURDY: Rangers win draft lottery, Oilers to pick 14th overall

STAPLES: Will heads explode if Oilers win draft lottery? Yes. Yes they will

STAPLES: Edmonton Oilers ripped to shreds for playoff failure by NHL writers

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