Leon Draisaitl had a career year last season, scoring 50 goals and 105 points. Draisaitl shot the lights out this past season. He scored on 21.6% of his shots. This season Ivan Barbashev, Greg McKegg, Valtteri Filppula, Brayden Point, Sven Baertschi, David Perron, Joe Pavelski, and Jayce Hawryluk all had a shooting percentage over 20%.
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In the past five seasons, every 20-percent shooter saw a decrease in their shooting percentage the following season. That isn’t terribly surprising: it’s hard to score on every fifth shot you take.
Some players saw a dramatic reduction in shooting percentage the following year : Zack Smith and Alex Kerfoot. Some saw a less significant drop: Mark Scheifele and Paul Byron. Brett Connolly actually scored more goals the following season, with an increased role and shots on goal. Where will Draisaitl end up?
Draisaitl had a 13.7% shooting percentage prior to this season. If we remove his rookie season, it moves up to 14.6%. 13-14% is still a very good percentage and would be on the higher side of the league.
Draisaitl also had a career-high 231 shots this season, up from 2.49 shots per game to 2.82. If he stays alongside Connor McDavid, he should be shooting a lot, but that total is still a bit light for a 50-goal scorer. There’s only been eight 50-goal scorers since 2010 and all of them had over 300 shots except Corey Perry and Draisaitl. Perry had 290 shots, nearly 60 more than Draisaitl.
The last time a player scored 50 goals with less shots than Draisaitl was Cam Neely in 1993-94 with 185.
Alex Ovechkin was the league’s only other 50-goal guy. Ovechkin had 338 shots compared to Draisaitl’s 231.
It’s unlikely Draisaitl hits 50 even if he spends the majority of the seasons beside McDavid. If Draisaitl scores on 14.5% of his shots, roughly his level from 2015-2018, he’d have 33 goals if he had the same amount of shots.
This isn’t to diminish Draisaitl or take away from his fantastic season, but more about setting realistic expectations for Draisaitl in 2019-20. It’s unlikely Draisaitl hits 50 goals again, but Ken Holland should plan around Draisaitl scoring 30-35 goals when he builds his roster in June and July.
It’s unfortunate the Oilers wasted a truly remarkable season from Draisaitl. The Oilers had two superstars performing at the top of their game and still couldn’t make the playoffs.
Draisaitl’s 50-goal year was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing season. It was one of the few things Oilers fans could look follow towards the end of the season. Draisaitl closed out the season with 8 goals in 11 games.
I’m putting Draisaitl down for 33 goals next season. A big drop from last season, but a more reasonable rate, and still very good production. What about you?