A 103-point campaign. A few points shy of winning the Pacific Divison. A second-round playoff exit.
Safe to say the 2016-17 Oilers played above expectations.
President of Hockey Operations and GM Peter Chiarelli said as much Tuesday at his media availability.
"They did," he said. "I had us in meaningful games in March."
Chiarelli assumed the team would be in the hunt for the post-season and saw their identity develop as the campaign prolonged.
"I kind of had us in and around the playoffs," said Chiarelli. "What happens is that the team starts developing a real identity and starts feeling good about itself and that's what you saw at the end. That was a leap that I hadn't projected but it carried into the playoffs.
"I thought we had a good series against San Jose. We had a good series against Anaheim, there were a couple of results I didn't like but that uptick at the end, that was a bonus, and everyone went along for the ride. Now we've got players that have played in a playoff drive, young players, we've got players who have played in two rounds of a heavy series. I was banking on the meaningful games and maybe the playoffs and that was a 15- to 20-point improvement from the year before. We exceeded that."