It’s no surprise that Leon Draisaitl is an elite NHL forward.
With his two-goal performance enroute to a loss for the McDavid-less Oilers against the Nashville Predators, Draisaitl is now pacing for 50 goals in only his fifth NHL season.
The 50 goal mark is one that hasn’t been seen in Edmonton in decades — and by decades, I mean since Wayne Gretzky scored 62 goals in 1986-1987.
The offensive prowess the towering forward holds has only gotten better and that’s ever more clear having now passed the 70 point mark in the last three seasons.
Not only that, but Draisaitl has been on an absolute tear this month. In 12 games in February, he’s scored 11 goals and four assists.
More impressive, his last seven games have seen him tally six goals and four assists.
While he put on a dominant performance against the Predators, one can’t help but realize just how much depth the team is lacking.
The Oilers have only five 20+ point scorers — McDavid with 85, Draisaitl with 76 and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins with 56 before it drops off to Darnell Nurse with 29 then Alex Chiasson with 27.
It’s just not enough and it’s a big reason why the Oilers are on the outside looking in for the playoffs this year.
Number one priority for the Oilers this offseason will be getting good offensive depth to surround the aforementioned players with.
Edmonton struck first Monday night when while killing a penalty, Draisaitl made the most of a loose puck in the neutral zone. A quick jump and he was left all alone splitting Pekka Rinne open tucking the puck through his five-hole and into the net for his 37th tally of the year.
It was just the tip of the iceberg for him, as he continued to be a dominant force on the ice with McDavid watching from above.
Sam Gagner showed well, once again, for the OIlers with his best chance of the night coming on a early second period powerplay. He, however, just couldn’t get a full handle on a cross-crease pass firing his shot wide of the net.
A welcome addition back in the Oiler threads, Gagner has already notched two goals in this first five games with Edmonton — more than what the team had gotten out of predecessor Ryan Spooner.
All night Gagner was around the action, generating strong scoring chances for the Oilers.
Edmonton kept up pressure on the Predators through the halfway mark of the second frame until Cody Sissons got Nashville on the board.
Not even a minute and a half later P.K. Subban, who was a question mark to play due to an illness, let go a signature bomb from the point beating Mikko Koskinen.
The Oilers slumped soon after and barely managed to keep their head above water until Draisaitl scored his second of the game.
The power play goal came from a slapshot at the point where Draisaitl was able to get the rebound, spread Rinne and pot a backhand goal.
While they fought and clawed all night, the Oilers lost the game in overtime.
Edmonton now has points in the last four games — two wins, one overtime loss and one shootout loss. The two wins were done without McDavid in the lineup securing wins against the Arizona Coyotes and the Anaheim Ducks.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 2/25/2019 – 9:00 pm MT