Leon Draisaitl is out-scoring Alex Ovechkin & Sidney Crosby

29-Draisaitl-4

With a four point night against the New York Rangers on Friday, Leon Draisaitl climbed a bunch of spots on the NHL scoring list, moving into a tie for No. 20 overall with 26 points in just 20 contests.

It’s been crazy. After a year in which everything went wrong, things are suddenly going very, very right. So right that when Draisaitl looks at the NHL scoring list, he can see Alex Ovechkin (25 points) and Sidney Crosby (19 points) in the rearview mirror.

Everything Has Gone Right

14-Eberle-13

It certainly has. This is a little like Eberle’s big year in 2011-12 in that there’s obviously a very talented player driving the results but there’s some lucky wind in those sails, too. Draisaitl has nine goals on just 44 shots; it’s generally pretty hard to sustain a 20.5 shooting percentage. That’s not to say he doesn’t deserve a break, as last season he shot at just a 4.1 percent clip, but it is to say that we should expect the goal-scoring to cool off a little bit.

Unsurprisingly, Edmonton’s on-ice shooting percentage as a team is high when Draisaitl’s on the ice, leading to lots of goals to get points on. He’s also collecting a point almost every time his team scores a goal; that’s often something that even really good forwards struggle to keep going long-term.

Get to the Good Stuff!

Draisaitl, Leon

But honestly, so what?

Yes, everyone mentally setting this as the new baseline for Draisaitl is likely to end up disappointed in the not-too-distant future. That’s not the point. The point is that even after pessimistically cutting down his shooting percentage and his on-ice shooting percentage and recalibrating for his inflated individual points percentage… this is a staggeringly good season.

Imagine a pessimistic world where one-third of Draisaitl’s points vanish in a puff of smoke. Even in that world he’d have 17 points in 20 games, putting him on pace to top 70 points over a full 82-game season. All of a sudden he’s a big, fast, strong centre scoring at a 70-point pace at the age of 20 while playing tough opposition. That’s an incredible player; after all, Evgeni Malkin and Ryan Getzlaf were 70-point players last season. They don’t exactly grow on trees.

Draisaitl is visibly faster than he was a year ago. His strength against established NHL’ers is so obvious as to be impossible to miss. His playmaking ability is so good that comparisons to Joe Thornton are not crazy. He plays a shockingly mature defensive game for a player of his age and experience level. That’s a fantastic combination of attributes.

His on-ice shot metrics (Corsi and the like) look really strong, too.

After a tough 2014-15 season, Draisaitl could have gone a number of different directions. Another poor campaign would have raised questions about his future and had fans pining for someone like Calgary’s Sam Bennett. Instead, he’s come back strong and given Edmonton the kind of centre depth it hasn’t seen since Glen Sather was general manager.

All this probably sounds a little breathless, maybe a little over-the-top. It should sound that way. Draisaitl is so far past any reasonable expectation of what he’d look like in the early going this year that it’s hard to overstate things. 

Draft Lottery

It’s probably not quite on par with the Oilers winning the Connor McDavid lottery in terms of franchise impact, but it’s perhaps even less likely.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS



  • 24% body fat

    now can we get another legit Dman out of -3 Eberle. What a waste of 6M. If he wants to stay here at end of his contract than he needs to take a healthy pay cut.

    • .

      We have to be patient….yes I said it.

      If Yakupov looked like a legit top six forward on McDavid’s line before McDavid got hurt…can you imagine what a healthy Eberle would look like beside him?

      The odd man out is RNH because you can’t have a $6M 3rd line centre. It kills me to type this but if Leon maintains his chemistry with Hallsy and McDavid develops some with Eberle, then RNH and Yakupov are your chips to get one super awesome D man or 2 decent top 4 D men.

      • 24% body fat

        any one can play with mcdavid. Yak at 2.5m is more preferential than Eberle at 6M.

        Eberle can still get you an asset. At least until the league finds out he is not that good, and super soft.

        Nuge is not the odd man out. A high possesion defensive line can be built around him. He is better, bigger, younger, harder and on a better contract than eberle. You do not trade him.

        And why wait for eberle to develop cheimsty with mcdavid, yak has it. And the media and everyone else will say it is all mcdavid so we get yak for cheaper. If eberle get more points he is going to want 7M with his new contract.

        No thanks.

        Eberle is not a winner, he has never been on a winning team. Playing for team Canada does not count. You are expected to win and the team is stacked.

        • .

          Yak is not as good as Eberle (and never will be) plain and simple regardless of salary. My money is on Eberle and McDavid tearing it up in the back half of the year like Hall and Leon are.

          McDavid centring Pouliot and Eberle will be a very strong 2nd line behind Leon, Hall, Purcell this season.

          Fun problem to have.

          • 24% body fat

            didnt say yak was better than eberle, said it was more preferential.

            How do you expect to pay all these guys in a few years. We need to shed some contracts. And Eberles is the worst value by far.

            If you trade him now you can get something for him. If you wait until trade deadline before he is UFA you get nothing. If you sign him for a raise at UFA you have washingtoned yourself and will never win a cup

        • .

          “Eberle is not a winner, he has never been on a winning team. Playing for team Canada does not count. You are expected to win and the team is stacked.”

          He’s not a winner even when he’s the 2nd highest scorer with the best +/-on a stacked team?

          What’s he got to do to win, then?

        • Blackgold

          “Eberle is not a winner, he has never been on a winning team. Playing for team Canada does not count. You are expected to win and the team is stacked.”

          By your measuring stick Hall, and even McDavid (the team is sub .500 with him in the lineup) are losers too.

          Stop being stupid!

          Yak got points by making plays at his own blueline mostly. Completing the breakout, and then McDavid goes down and scores. A lot of the guys in the league can play that role.

          Ebs would really flourish in the offensive zone, capitalizing on the space that McDavid opens up, much much much more than Yak. Yak is on pace to be outscored by Korpikoski, Pakirenen, Hendricks etc etc. None of those guys have Ebs’ offensive abilities.

          • THRNHJE

            If Eberle keeps up his current scoring pace, he won’t break 30 points. If he scores a point per game for the rest of the season, he won’t break 60. At some point the Eberle fan club is going to have to accept their hero isn’t bringing it. Scoring at a 0.41 ppg pace, he doesn’t deserve to play with McDavid.

            But even though he hasn’t produced, I would still give him some time with McDavid. Let him score some goals, get some assists, pump him up so you can trade him in the off-season. Then Chiarelli can bring in a player that plays heavier, at a lower $AAV.

          • fisherprice

            Sigh. If if if. What’s more likely here? That a player who has put up an average of 0.8 PPG over their career suddenly and irreversibly scores at half that rate – or a player in his offensive prime comes back from a shoulder injury and scores closer to his career average?

            Also, if he score at a point per game (52 points + his current 7 points) for the rest of the season he would finish with 59 points. Quite frankly 59 points over 69 games is actually an incredibly good stat line these days.

            Why exactly does a guy who puts up points pretty much exactly in his price range not get a shot with McDavid? Uh ok, yeah, just dismiss a guy who is probably going to average 65 points for the next bunch of seasons. 28 players last season scored 65 or more points. Less than one player per team.

            Jordan Eberle didn’t create this patchwork defence. Jordan Eberle didn’t give us these goaltending issues. Jordan Eberle didn’t hire Dallas Eakins. Jordan Eberle has only done exactly what has been asked of him, in fact, exceeding expectations for someone taken 22nd overall. 60 point guys are a much harder commodity to find in the NHL these days than you might expect.

            If we could get a legit number one D for Ebs? Sure, I’d even give up Nuge for that. Eberle is the most expendable of the offensive stars, but let’s not pretend he is somehow a bad player for some reason. But it’s always typical in Edmonton – your only good players are somehow responsible for the awful play of your bottom 6, defence, and goalies. Since calling out for a Hall trade is impossible now, I guess Ebs is the new whipping boy.

          • Before Ze Germans get here

            A few things;

            1) He has never scored a point per game, so 59 points is fairly optimistic. If he makes 50, he will have turned around his brutal start.

            2) He is the most expendable. If you can move him to strengthen the team, then you look at it.

            3) The defence has been bad for years, and that’s not on him. Outside of Nilsson’s strong play, goaltending has been weak, and that’s not on him.

            He is paid big money to score and he’s not. He is not an all-around player, so when he doesn’t score, he’s not bringing anything else. This isn’t the MacT era; so he shouldn’t just get a key spot just because fans remember his play in previous years.

          • fisherprice

            How quickly we turn on a guy who started the season injured…. Let look at some stats:

            FIRST: League Right Wing Rankings: TSN @ 17, NHL.com @ 17. There are 16 ahead of him but based on 4 per team, 103 behind him.

            SECOND: Production over career vs. salary: 0.78 points/game @ $6M/season as compared to:

            Rick Nash: 0.80 PPG @ $7.8M/season (production is dropping from career average)
            Blake Wheeler: 0.69 PPG @ $5.8M
            Phil Kessel: 0.77 PPG @ $6.8M
            Landeskog: 0.69 PPG @ $5.6M
            Callahan: 0.57 PPG @ $5.8M

            Based on these numbers, the fact that Eberle is relatively young (i.e. will likely improve), has always played against top 2 D as we had no one else (until now) so his numbers are hard earned I would suggest we all be thankful for such a talented player.

            FINALLY: We are relatively weak at RW after Eberle with Yakupov and then Purcell so if we are stupid enough to move this talented player, then what?

      • The Soup Fascist

        Sorry. I keep RNH, as he is a very well rounded 22 year old center. When McD is back I would run Hall-RNH-Drai for a good stretch. This line would draw the tough matchups and top D and the world becomes a lot easier for a Pou-McD-Ebs line.

        Drai can certainly play C but with his size / speed and ability to make plays from the off-wing I would argue he is more dangerous as a winger. Think of how many goals have come from Drai making a play off the right side wall and then dishing some backhand sauce to Hall or steaming in from the off wing.

        RNH is an incredibly subtle 200′ player who thrives on good players. Plus he can skate with these two. He strips pucks from the opposition as well as anyone.

        Draft good players. Keep good players. Until you are forced into a move by the salary cap, RNH would stay on my team.

        • Justin R

          EXACTLY!

          Honestly when McD gets back I think you first have to give it a shot with all 3 at C if everyone is healthy.

          Hall – Drai – Purcell

          Lander/Hendricks – Nuge – Ebs

          Pouliot – McD – Yak

          but if that fails to get all the lines going then you do as you said and stack the top two lines – no trades, until cap forces it.

          If all three at C works you are laughing. All of a sudden Drai, Nuge, and McD are each playing 16-18 minutes a night like Drai and Nuge right now. Also a nightmare for the other coach. One of those lines will be firing on all cylinders each night.

      • Serious Gord

        RNH is what he is and people should not over-value him. A 50ish point player when playing 1st line minutes and getting pp time. If he is relegated to 3rd line minutes wo much PP time point production would be lower. Agree that 6M for a 3rd line center is not long term sustainable, although it likely won’t be an issue until the 2018 season.

        I don’t think Yak has much trade value

      • Dan 1919

        77 trashes so far, its comical how emotional most people are here. Drai is going to command atleast $6mil when it’s his turn to sign.

        Some quick basic math in a salary cap world will prove to anyone that you can’t have $6mill third liners. Maybe it will be Eberle, maybe it’ll be RNH, mabye someone else… The facts are something will have to give on this team eventually. I wish it didn’t, but the Oilers are and will be subject to the cap just like everyone else.

      • Klam

        You know that whole chemistry thing?

        I think the attributes that Yak added to that line are exactly what that line needs. Willingness to hit, willingness to take a hit to make a pass, shoot first, put the puck into open space.

        There was something amazing about those three together.

      • The Soup Fascist

        If you noticed there has not been a trade this season that has involved roster players at the NHL level so I doubt we will see any big name trades, it just doesn’t seem to happen anymore. If RNH is a third line centre we will have a pretty good team and still not have cap issues.

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          Actually, don’t we already have cap issues? McDavid, Yak, Pouliot and Ferrance are all on IR $12M+ ??? Are these contracts already included in cap?

    • Anton CP

      Ok, I’ll bite, name a D that you can get from Eberle and also name which D that you are willing to take out of the roster?

      As for now, Klefbom and Nurse are both still a bit raw but they are showing every signs that they are ready for top pairing jobs. Sekera is settling down and play quite solid games. Davidson and Gryba are low pairings that can be easily rotated. With this understanding that the only spot available is somewhere mixing with Nurse, Klefbom, or Sekera. Unless that you feel strongly that they should also get rid of Nurse and Klefbom for the D of your dream?

    • The Soup Fascist

      Pay cuts …… Pay cuts ……. Mmmmmm

      What page of the CBA covers pay cuts ?

      Relax. Ebs is a very good hockey player. He (and RNH) were showing some significant improvement the last couple of games until some tough matchups against Brassard’s line.

      Ebs can score. TMac will help him figure out his defensive deficiencies. Can we please see him on McDavid’s right side for 20 games or so before we run him out of town?

      Sigh.

      • 24% body fat

        A pay cut with his new contract. That is clearly implied in the statement.

        Eberle at 6M (7 in future) or yak at 4 in future on Connors side.

        HE is being run out of town because of 6 years of soft play and a bad contract. 20 games on connors side? You mean at 6M he cant do anything on his own?

        Stop being in love with all these players. We need to fill the gaps where there are holes. ASk your self is this team better now and going forward with Eberle at 6M or Hamonic at 3.9.

        Yes I know the islanders dont want that trade, but something could be put together around it.

        • TRAIN#97

          Hamonic is starting to become the most overrated dman talked about coming here. Good player but not a legit #1 or 2 dman. I don’t want to trade a first line winger for a#3 winger

        • The Soup Fascist

          What new contract you are carrying on about? Ebs’ contract runs for three more years AFTER this season.

          He is not a perfect player – but he can score. He has proven that year after year. Something that is at a premium in this league.

          Sure if you can get a 25ish top pairing D man – great. But I don’t see it happening. He is what, 18 games removed from a major injury? Let’s see what his value is after 20 or so games with MacD.

          I am not saying moving Ebs or Yak at some point is wrong. Selling low is a mistake. A BIG mistake.

          Until 20 games ago there were many saying “move Leon for a defenseman”. Would that have been smart?

  • Van isl Oiler

    I hate to be this guy, but…..why is Draisaitl so much faster? Last season he seemed to be described as a slow moving bus. This year he is described as a Ferrari. Apparently he worked very hard on his skating over the summer. I hope his new found speed is purely hard work and not a PED

  • Anton CP

    Draisaitl’s hot streak partly benefited from poor outing last year. Most of the team’s scout report were on how was like last year compare to this. He will cool off only when other teams start to pay more attention to him. However as the way he is playing as for now that if he can keep it going until McDavid’s return then even when he will eventually cool off that it will still remain to be the nightmare for the opposing teams to match all 3 lines of McDavid, Draisaitl, and Nuge.

    The sky’s the limit with McLellan behind the bench with this bunch young hungry lions.

  • lucky

    Willis is wrong! Let’s raise our expectations for this pace of scoring to be the norm from him! When he fails to live up to the hype we should run him out of town. I’m only glad he’s found home next to Taylor “terrible attitude” Hall. Draisaitl has been able to drag that plug of a winger along with him, to a top 5 scoring place in the NHL….
    Any way, now that Draisaitl has emerged as Anze Kopitar on offensive steroids, we can trade that ‘soft two way’ 22 year old Center who also on pace for over 60 points.

    Things are only looking up as long as the Oilers keep winning! When they turn bad again, we can run all these kids out of town in HF boards trades for Shea Weber and PK Subban!

  • Before Ze Germans get here

    Who are we able to keep

    If we project that we push for the playoffs this year, make the playoffs next year and win the Stanley cup the following – 2018-2019, here are possible players to keep in relation to Salary Cap.

    McDavid, Draisaitl, Nurse agree to a bridge contract.

    1st line – Mcdavid – 7M, Eberle- 6M, Pouliot – 4M
    2nd line – Draisaitl – 5M, Hall – 6M, RNH- 6M
    3rd line – Letestu – 1.8, Hendrix – 1.8, Klink – 1M
    4th line – Lander – 1M, Khari – 1M, Gazdic – .8M
    Spare – Pakarenin – .9M, Slepyshev – 1M

    1st pair – Big stud – 7M, Nurse – 4.167M
    2nd pair – Sekera – 5.5M, Klef – 4,167M
    3rd pair – Davidson – 1.4M, Gryba – 1.25M
    Spare – Reinhardt – .86M

    Starter – Nilsson – 5.M
    Backup – Talbot – 1.5M

    Deleted from current poster are – Purcell, Korpikoski, Yakupov, Nikitin, Schultz, Ference and Fayne.

    14 forwards, 7 Defensemen and 2 goalies for 23 man roster for a total cap hit of $74,147.000.

    Of course we could tinker with bottom of rooster regarding names, but the scenario indicted we can keep RNH and Eberle.

    • Dan 1919

      Lol Drai will take less than RNH playing above him on the C list, does that make sense?

      Try McD at 10, Davidson will be closer to 3 if he stops improving right now… Nurse has two and a half years left before he signs, he could very well be worth more than 4.1 then.

      Although I don’t mind MacT and think he was put in a position that 80% of decent hockey people would also fail at, it appears him getting overexcited and overpaying Nuge and Eberle will be the ultimate reason someone will eventually have to go.

      Ebs and RNH should both be cap hits of about 4mill right now, but because they’re not, it looks like one of them will be going in a couple years.

      • Dan 1919

        McDavid, Nurse and Drei would have to accept a bridge contract much like Subban.

        Davidson could very well be worth 3M.

        Lots of different scenarios regarding the line up.

        All I was trying to show how tight things are.

        It is easy for Oiler Nation to say keep Yak, Eberle, RNH, Purcell, etc but they do have to fit under cap.

        Not all of our favorites would be able to be on the roster in year three when McDavid, Drei and Nurse entry level contracts are up.

    • Serious Gord

      Good effort.

      No way macd takes 7 mm

      Or drai 5 if they play as well as they are playing now.

      Interesting that you have Reinhart as a bust.

      IOW there is no way the team can stay under the cap with the talent it has AND add the talent it needs. One or more of the stars is going to have to be moved.

    • fisherprice

      7M a year is pretty conservative for what McDavid’s next contract might look like, it’s the nature of contract sizes to inflate over time as the salary cap and league revenues go up. The number Connor will sign for at the end of his ELC will 8.5M/year or higher, with the oil or via offer sheet from another team.

  • Jay (not J)

    Ok, so the Nation has clearly agreed. No trades. Now comes the fun part. In three weeks when McDavid, Yakupov, and Pouliot are back, which lines go where and if any, what changes to you make to the forward lineups?

    Here’s mine.

    Hall – Draisaitle – Purcell

    Pouliot – McDavid – Yakupov

    Jhujar Khiara – Nugent Hopkins – Eberle

    Hendricks – Lander – Pakarenin

    Korp Letestu and Gazdic alternating in.

    Stick with a good thing and this point. Those lines are insane!!!

    • The Soup Fascist

      Sure, let’s keep the hat trick scorer as our 13th forward for the rest of the season, sounds good to me. Everyone keeps talking about how we can’t keep Nugent-Hopkins behind McDavid and Draisaitl, but its the value roles I regret that are going to be moving out in trades and free agency that concern me. Yeah we’re going to have two to three really good centers playing in our top six, but who thinks we are going to be able to afford players like Hendricks or Korpikoski after next year, especially with the cap discussions ad nauseum about our top six.

      The reality is, our bottom half of the lineup is going to be made up of some combo of newish players (Khaira, Yakimov, I like Chase but his languishing in our C teams roster is telling) and value signings a la Stempniak ideally. Korpikoski has one more year left at 3M, if the Oilers are not in the playoff hunt come trade deadline(lineups at the kool-aid stand are long, not convinced we’re going anywhere this season yet), what do you think we could get for a LW that can play up and down the roster and fits within most cap rooms teams have for the year?

        • Anton CP

          Again I like the guy, but for real here, if the organization thought he was anywhere near ready I don’t think he’d be bouncing around between the AHL and the ECHL. Are we stewing him in the ultra minors so he can make Bakersfield history or do you think he’s gonna make the jump from Norfolk straight into the Oilers ranks the next time they want to shake things up?

          http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=134437

          He’s not blowing the doors off either league for any means, see for yourself. And lay off the name calling, I know plenty of morons who are great people.

    • Petrolero

      So you will keep 15 forwards which leaves room for 2 goalies and 6 defence. One of the defence has to be Ference due to his no movement clause.. Sorry buddy but two more forwards have to go down.

  • Jay (not J)

    I don’t see why LD’s shooting percentage has to be unsustainable. He and Hall are passing the puck extremely well right now and between them they are forcing the goalie to cover too much of the net to have a real chance. As long as they can continue to slide through and around defenders these two are going to keep giving the other either a torn open five hole or a wide open half net to shoot at.

    • Before Ze Germans get here

      Ryan Smyth made a couple of comments this week about Eakins clearing out of everything honoring tradition the Oil had in the dressing room. I was shocked Lowe/McT let him come in and show such total disregard for the Oiler tradition. Having Eakins in Edmonton was the equivalent of ‘barbarian’s at the gate’. Smyth also referenced last year’s commemoration of the ’84 to ’04 teams and the missed opportunity to pass on tradition to current players. Clearly Eakins resented the former dynasty.

      Teddy Purcell’s uptick is really something. He is a highly complimentary player right now. Hall has credited Purcell a couple of times for the puck plays he has made and how he fits with Drats and Hall. My cynical side wonders if he is amping things up hoping for another contract. My hope is the coaches are helping him and he stays on a value contract for maybe 2 years tops. Rehabbing some flawed performers may say more about coaching and renewed development strategies. See Kaira, Pekarinen and the young D.

    • The Soup Fascist

      I knew there was a problem with Eakins when he took away the donuts.

      Mmmm ……. Donuts.

      Eakins, was out to prove he was smarter than everyone else. Those situations rarely end well. TMac has been a breath of fresh air ….. And yes, I thought that before the recent home stand.

      This team still has warts but suffice to say, coaching isn’t one of them. (Except for leaving Schultz on the powerplay ….. But I digress).

      • Anton CP

        Eakins wouldn’t have been in any position to assert his smartness if it wasn’t for genius Craig MacTavish. Not only was MacT out to prove himself smarter – – – he didn’t want anyone around with a lick of smarts to show him anything lest he get replaced with them.

        Eakins replaced the old photos with the following phrase:

        Stultus populus obtusius conducere populus

        (Stupid people hire stupider people).

      • Craig1981

        LOL….yes the Great Donut Caper goes down in NHL history….lol….did you know if you spell Dallas Eakins backwards…co-incidentally…is looks like SNEAKY SALAD…snikaE sallaD…..lol…just saying.It was more than the donuts/sallaD it had “a little something” maybe to do with the Sneaky/snikaE parts, and it was pre-destined and pre-written…..lol.

  • toprightcorner

    The lack of ability to understand.

    Every one talks top 6!

    But!

    Many of the coaches and gm’s you see are disciples of Scotty Bowman who still believes in offensive pairs. With a strong pocession Forward.

    Not lines 3 players

    but pairs. 2 Players with a retrieval player.

    Hall-Draisatl-XXX 2y @9.4M; 3yr @12M

    Pouliot-Mcdavid-XXX 3yr @7.775M; 1yr @13M

    XXX-RNH-Eberle 4yr @12M