Will Leon Draisaitl be banned? Oilers star criticized for high hit on Aleksander Barkov

The Oilers had to endure a whopping 45 penalty minutes in their 4-1 loss to the Panthers in the second game of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.

A large part of that total was due to Warren Foegele’s knee to the midsection of Eetu Luostarinen. The 28-year-old winger received a major penalty for that hit and was ejected from the game. He received 15 penalty minutes for that one play alone.

The penalty that caused the most uproar after Game 2, however, was a two-minute excessive force penalty against star forward Leon Draisaitl. NHL fans are wondering if he should be penalized after running too high on Panthers star Aleksander Barkov in the third period of Monday’s game.

Here’s everything you need to know about Draisaitl’s hit on Barkov and whether the NHL considers this play to be blocked.

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Leon Draisaitl attacks Aleksander Barkov

Draisaitl was cautioned for unnecessary roughness at 9:28 of the third period after hitting Barkov in the Panthers’ defensive zone.

Draisaitl went straight over the wall at Barkov and hit the Panthers star high. Barkov immediately grabbed his face after the hit before falling to the ice. Seconds later, the whistle blew as Draisaitl touched the puck and a mini-scrum ensued between the Edmonton and Florida players.

Upon closer inspection, it was clear that Draisaitl’s elbow had touched Barkov’s face, and the Oilers forward appeared to have left his skates when he made the shot.

Barkov did not return to the game after the hit. Panthers coach Paul Maurice admitted it was not because the team was being cautious with its star.

“I think it was 9:28 on the clock and the game was 2-1,” Maurice said. “I didn’t hold him back.”

This has many NHL fans wondering if Draisaitl will face an additional penalty for his behavior after receiving only a minor penalty in the game.

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Will Leon Draisaitl be banned?

It is not yet clear whether the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will impose disciplinary action against Draisaitl.

Given the attention Draisaitl’s hit has garnered, one might assume the NHL would at least give the Oilers star a hearing. After all, Barkov was injured during the game, while Draisaitl only received a two-minute penalty.

After a hearing, the NHL could decide whether to suspend Draisaitl for his conduct or simply fine him and continue the series.

Draisaitl has never been suspended in the NHL before. He was suspended for one game for hitting Andrew Copp from behind while playing for Germany at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship.

The NHL has suspended only one player for his on-ice actions during the 2024 postseason. That was Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy, who sat out Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals after checking Connor McDavid.

Avalanche striker Valeri Nichushkin was also suspended by the NHL, but for violating the terms of the NHL/NHLPA Player Assistance Program. He will therefore be out for six months.