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Photo Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Draisaitl Point Projection

Leon Draisaitl had a remarkable 2019 NHL season. He scored 50 goals and 105 points to finish fourth in NHL scoring. He logged the most minutes of any NHL forward with 1,852:27 and only Connor McDavid averaged more TOI/game than Draisaitl. (McDavid missed four games which is why Draisaitl had the most TOI).

Draisaitl became only the eighth player in the past 20 NHL seasons to score 50 goals and 100 points in the same season, joining Alex Ovechkin (4x, 2006, 2008-2010), Jaromir Jagr (2001, 2006), Dany Heatley (2006, 2007), Joe Sakic (2001), Vincent Lecavalier (2007), Sidney Crosby (2010) and Evgeni Malkin (2012).

He is in pretty good company, but what is most surprising about his season is how he scored 50 goals on only 231 shots. That was the fewest shots for a 50-goal scorer since Cam Neely scored 50 goals on 185 shots in only 49 games in 1992. Neely’s shot total is the third lowest all-time behind Craig Simpson (56 goals on 177 shots in 1988) and Charlie Simmer (56 goals on 171 shots in 65 games in 1981). Maurice Richard scored 50 goals in 50 games in 1944, but they didn’t track shots on goal then.

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Draisaitl wasn’t a high-volume shooter, although he did shoot more from January 1st to the end of the season, 2.97 shots/game, compared to 2.64 shots/game in the first three months of the season. Draisaitl was red-hot in 2019, leading the league with 29 goals after January 1st. Alex Ovechkin, who led the league with 51 goals, had 22 after January 1st.

Draisaitl was outstanding offensively, despite not having the best possession numbers as his CF%, FF%, SF% were all lower last season than in the previous two.

I looked at his overall numbers at 5×5 through the past three seasons.

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He played 200 more minutes at 5×5 last year than in either of the previous two. He scored 15 more goals on only nine more shots than in 2018. He made his shots count.

Here are his PP numbers over the past three seasons.

He had more PP time, and a big increase in goals, although his PP point totals weren’t much different than in 2017. He was more of a shooter than a disher on the PP last season.

Draisaitl was 21st in PP TOI among NHL forwards. McDavid was 26th, and they were 30th and 22nd overall in PP TOI/game, but that is mainly due to the Oilers being 25th in PP opportunities and 28th overall in PP TOI as a team. If the Oilers can draw more penalties, we will likely see McDavid and Draisaitl get more PP time.

I could see both Draisaitl and McDavid’s overall TOI drop a bit this season, but not significantly. If they dropped a minute each to 21:35 and 21:50 respectively they would have finished ninth and eighth in TOI among forwards last season. I don’t see Tippett lowering their minutes that much. They are simply too good not to play 21+ minutes/game.

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OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION THIS SEASON…

The likelihood Draisaitl scores 50 goals this season is low. The only players to score 50 goals in consecutive seasons in the past 20 years include Pavel Bure (2000, 2001), Heatley (2006, 2007) and Ovechkin (2008-2010 and 2014-2016). In fact only 22 players in NHL history have scored 50 goals in consecutive seasons.

If he doesn’t score 50 no one should consider it a bad season. The only active NHL players with multiple 50-goal seasons are Ovechkin (8), Steven Stamkos and Ilya Kovalchuk (2).

Even scoring 40 goals in consecutive seasons is rare today.

In the past ten NHL seasons (82 game campaigns dating back to 2009), only four players have scored 40 goals in consecutive seasons.

Ovechkin did it in 2009, 2010, again in 2014-2016 and in 2018 and 2019.
Stamkos scored 40 in three seasons from 2010-2012.
McDavid scored 40+ in 2018 and 2019.
Kovalchuk reached 40 in 2009 and 2010.

The other players who have scored 40 goals two times since 2009 include: Eric Staal (2009, 2018), Corey Perry (2011, 2014), Rick Nash (2009, 2015), Malkin (2012, 2018), Nikita Kucherov (2017, 2019), Patrik Kane (2016, 2019), Marian Gaborik (2010, 2012) and Crosby (2010, 2017).

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Scoring 40 goals multiple times in today’s NHL is very rare. If Draisaitl does it in back-to-back seasons you should be impressed.

Since 2009 we have seen a total of 12 occasions where a player scores 50 goals.
And 58 times a player has scored 40 goals.
And 121 times a players has scored 35 goals.

There is only a five goal difference between 35 and 40, but burying that fifth extra goal is extremely difficult.

Last season two players scored 50 goals, 13 had 40+ and 24 potted 35+. Goal scoring was up slightly last season averaging 6.02 goals/game compared to 5.94/game in 2018 and a big increase from 5.54 goals/game in 2017.

If that trend continues next season, Draisaitl’s chances of reaching 40 goals goes up slightly.

WILL HE SCORE 40?

Let’s start with the obvious. His SH% will almost surely go down. His 21.6% was the second highest since 1999 among players who scored 40+ goals. Only William Karlsson’s 23.4% in 2018 was higher.

His shot total among 40-goal scorers since 1999 was 18th lowest at 231. Karlsson potted 43 goals on 184 shots while Brayden Point had 41 goals on 191 shots last year. They are the only two players to score 40 goals on fewer than 200 shots since 1999.

Let’s say Draisaitl has 231 shots again this season. If he scores 40 goals his SH% would be 17.3.

I suspect he will shoot a bit more this season, so let’s say he fires 250 shots. If he buries 40 goals then he’d have a 16.0 SH%.

Since the 1999 season we have had 132 occasions of a player scoring 40+ goals.
Sixty-three times a player had a SH% of 16 or higher.
Sixty-nine times a player had a SH% 15.9% of lower.
And in the 38 times a player fired fewer than 259 shots their SH% was 16.1% or better and in fact only nine of the 38 times was a player below 17%.

I suspect Draisaitl’s SH will drop, but it could dip to 16% or 17% and he’d still score 40 goals if his shot totals are between 231-250.

POINT TOTALS…

Scoring 100 points is almost as difficult as potting 50 goals. In the past ten NHL seasons (82 games) only four players have scored 100 points in consecutive seasons.

McDavid has 100 points in each of the past three seasons, and became only the 18th player in NHL history to have three consecutive 100+ point seasons.

Crosby (2009, 2010), Ovechkin (2009, 2010) and Nikita Kucherov (2018, 2019) are the others. Ovechkin also had 100 points in 2008 and he was the 17th player to produce 100 points three seasons in a row.

Kane and Malkin have two 100 point seasons since 2009, but not consecutively, while Henrik and Daniel Sedin, Brad Marchand, Claude Giroux and Nicklas Backstrom have done it once. Draisaitl is one of only 13 players to surpass the 100-point mark and his 105 point season was the 12th highest of the 21 times a player has reached the century mark.

Doing it again will be difficult.

Even scoring 90 points is very difficult, as only 30 players have reached it a total of 48 times since 2009.

POINT PROJECTION…

Draisaitl has been one of the NHL’s best point producers the past three seasons, picking up 252 points, which is seventh most in the NHL behind McDavid (324), Kucherov (313), Crosby (278), Kane (275), Marchand (270) and Blake Wheeler (256).

He is very skilled, but also durable, missing only four games the past three seasons. He is a lock to remain on the first unit powerplay, and the Oilers PP should be in the top ten, so I feel 25-30 powerplay points is a safe projection.

Draisaitl had 14 points at 4×4 or 3×3 last season and McDavid had 18. They are the most dangerous duo in the NHL at 3×3 and for sure they will play together in OT. I think 10-14 4×4/3×3 points is attainable again.

Draisaitl had three short-handed points last year, which tied him for 23rd most in the NHL. In a perfect world I wouldn’t have Draisaitl or McDavid on the PK very much. But unless some other centres can be close to 50% on faceoffs, Draisaitl might get more PK than head coach Dave Tippett would like. I’ll say he scores two SH points this year.

That leaves 5×5 scoring.

He was sixth in the NHL with 59 points trailing Kucherov (68), Patrick Kane (65), McDavid (63), Crosby and John Tavares (60).

His production will be impacted by how much he plays with McDavid. Tippett said at his introductory press conference he plans to start the season with them together. Does the James Neal acquisition change that? We’ll see.

Here are Draisaitl’s 5×5 numbers the past three seasons including production with McDavid.

In 2017 he played 1,177 5×5 minutes and produced 40 points. He played 676 minutes with McDavid and scored 25 points with him on the ice. Thus 62.5% of his points came with McDavid and he played 57% of the time with him.

In 2018 he played 1,126 at 5×5 and produced 43 points. He skated 498 minutes with McDavid and produced 22 points together. So 51% of his points came with McDavid and he played 44% of his TOI beside him.

This past season he logged 1,377 minutes at 5×5 and produced 59 points. He skated 805 minutes with McDavid and scored 45 points together. That means 76% of his points came with McDavid and he played 58% of his TOI together. It is interesting to note McDavid scored 74.6% of his points with Draisaitl and played 59% of his TOI with him.

They both produced more together than apart.

They are going to start the season together, and considering Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t have nearly as much success on McDavid’s wing as he did playing centre, I don’t see Tippett experimenting with RNH on the wing.

Who starts with them seems open for discussion, but I expect Tippett to run with his dynamic duo quite a bit this season, unless there is a serious injury to one of them or Nugent-Hopkins.

And because of that, I see Draisaitl scoring 55-58 points at 5×5.

Total it up and I have him producing between 94-102 points.

What say you?

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  • Sammy27

    I would love to see competent lines with Drai sliding back and forth between McDavid and RNH. If that means more team wins fewer points for Drai, so be it

    • MrBung

      Exactly. What will give the TEAM more points. And if it results in a player pushing personal bests, great, but means nothing if team just keeps missing playoffs.

  • Gravis82

    would the team score more goals with drai on line 2 with neal and nuge with mcdavid? I know draisaitl scored 50 with mcdavid, but that is probably only about 12 more than he would have scored on his own line. Would we more than make up those 12 goals with them separated? What do you think? 50 goals sounds awesome, but its about total team goals at the end of the year, not player goals.

    • Dean Martin

      This makes sense to try as Nugent-Hopkins can’t win a face-off for love-nor-money.
      I hope that the centres are working on their face-off skill this off season. That alone will help the team, most importantly the defense & goal tending.

    • El Connor mcdaddy

      I don’t think they would, only because Nuge would not produce as much as Drai does on McDavid’s wing, so that is less team goals. I think Drai and McDavid will get more goals as a duo, than McDavid and Nuge would. Also, lets say that Nuge can help Neal get 14-24 goals, I honestly don’t think that Drai can help Neal get exceedingly more than Nuge could. So I don’t think its worth splitting up the best duo in the league.

      • Ken McTippett

        I agree. Nuge and McDavid need to stay together. They both make each other better. If Neal pans out, throw him up there if the team really needs a goal. The balance has to come by supplying Nuge with wingers who can play.

  • OiLNATION

    Is it just me or are those orange oilers playoff jerseys the nicest jerseys ever made and they should have kept them as their mai or atleast alternate with the blue as the main jersey. These orange adidas are not even close to as good as those prior orange reeboks.

  • Jay (not J)

    Can’t put caps on the man just because of what other people did or didn’t accomplish. He’s a ****** savage out there (Arron Boone) and I don’t believe that he’s willing to accept that the best season of his career is in his rear view mirror.

  • Fireball

    I would like to see the league start calling all the clutching and grabbing on McD this year. There’s obviously a direct connection between the Oilers having the least amount of power play time and the none calls on McD. It’s almost insane., if you go to the game and just watch McD there’s a Absoloute insane amount of it happening behind the play .. when he doesn’t have the puck .. let alone when he has it.., maybe they won’t start calling it and when he can’t play anymore because of plays like the ones that lead to his last two injurys .. maybe then they will start calling more.. McBure or McNeely ?? All I know is if they actually started calling all the penalties he draws the Oilers would surely be first in the league in power play time.. or people would stop doing it and McLeo would have a lot more open ice = points =wins

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    I dont know if Drai will get 50 goals again but I can see 40+ just because Drai when he gets on his game andnpushes for the puck he can be a beast, I think that was the things Hitch got Drai doing was pushing himself harder to get on the puck more, you could see a change in Drai in the later half of the season that he just seemed to push the play.

    I dont think we have seen Drai hits his full potential yet, Drasi has been getting better and better and better, yes there are thinsg I would love to see Drai working at like his back checking and for him to know a little more to get off the ice before he gets out of gas, but when McDavid and Drai are together they are money, heck Drai Chaisson and Reider were really good together but TM for some reason blendered the line.

    Drai is going to continue to improve, his contract was and still is a bargain compared to what some are making and his point totals are showing it, If Tippett can get even more out of Drai then what we have been seeing the last few seasons then Drai could certainly put himself in the category to get close or better than what he has done the last two seasons

    • OilerFaithful.Always

      As much as I love the McDavid/Draisaitl combo and it is without a doubt the best duo on the planet. I am so curious too see Neil on McDavids wing we know from the All Star game that they already have insane chemistry. The kind that had us drooling. I think starting Neil on McDavids wing to start the year would be very beneficial, get Neal pumping them in the back of the net like clockwork from feeds the McD and once his confidence is through the roof move him down to Nuges line and Drai back up that way it all but solidifies Neil’s bounce back year and give us our much needed secondary scoring line and dare I say it could be one dangerous line at that.

  • Hemmertime83

    Put Him with 97 and leave him there all year unless an injury to 97 29 93. Leave the duo together. Stop dreaming of three scoring lines and Nuge isn’t a winger.

  • #97TRAIN

    A lot of good things happened in an otherwise bad season. With an improved power play and overall team success there is no reason that he won’t hit over 100 points again.

  • YFC Prez

    It would take a insane amount of blind somewhat dilusional over the top fandom love to think Draisaitl would match last years production.

    So obviously I say he gets 50 again and sits around 100 points 😉

    Mcdavid and Draisaitl together all season. They’re the best offensive duo in the league. Don’t touch it.
    Neil and nuge together as well. Let nuge and Neal build chemistry. I think this pair could be very solid 2nd line combo.

  • Serious Gord

    I think Draisaitl is possibly at an inflection point in his playing career.

    It’s the point where his goal and point totals decline but he becomes a better, more complete player. This would require him becoming a true, great centre – able to drive his own line.

    Two lines that make opponents lay awake at night that individually are less of a threat but combined are much, much more hinges on Draisaitl. Casual fans and immature players may still obsess about the point totals. Let’s hop Draisaitl is not in the latter group.

  • It would be great to see Draisaitl center his own line then the Oilers would have 2 good lines. The way it was last season Edmonton only had 1 great line and 3 duds. See if McD can elevate another winger as he did Leon so teams wouldn’t have to stop only one line. Put McD & RNH together and see if he can reach Draisaitl’s numbers this season.

  • hagar

    Man the word filter sucks. Absolutely zero reason my post isnt going through, I tried changing a couple things and still wont go. Not a single combination of things or single words that should get caught. It could be read in church word for word.

    • YFC Prez

      I’ve started copying and pasting my comments before I hit the post button. Because half the time they don’t go through. Let’s see it this one makes it.

  • Ranford.85

    I believe the sky is the limit for Drai, especially playing with McD. He’ll have ups and downs but I see him hovering around 45-55 for his career, give or take a dozen points. He turns 24 this October and he’s on a long contract that keeps looking better and better at 8.5mil. This kid is unreal and it seems like he takes his development seriously. I don’t see his point production dipping while he continues to become a better 200 ft player.

  • Oily Reign

    Why can’t he hit 50 again? He’s only 23 yrs old. McDavid is only 22. They haven’t even hit their prime yet. Both of their scoring stats have trended up, year after year. Rocket Richard this year!

    • I think tippett is going to make them play actual hockey which might come at the expense of a few goals. That being said I think 40 is still very possible, as leon seems to have realized his powers last year. Watching him play with his drive and humbleness should draw comparisons to kahwai Leonard when this guy is passed the cup first from connor. His goals and his shooting percentage were not flukes. If anyone can back to back it, leon can.

  • Dan13

    By my calculations, an NHL forward’s prime is at 26yo, so until they hit that, I usually predict that they will do better than last year. I’d say barring injury or spending a lot of time without McDavid, Draisaitl scores over 50 goals and over 105 points. Maybe his shooting percentage isn’t a fluke. Maybe he’s coming into his own and that’s his thing. Why not?

  • Esa Beukberger

    Drai snapped a bunch playing in garbage time with nothing to play for but PBs. I’ll take 35G in meaningful games ending with a playoff berth over 50G & a tee time anytime. The kid is a player.

  • The one remnant that Chia left behind that I actually love, is having this beauty at 8.5 mil.
    When I think of our power play the Neal thing seems like it changes the game a bit, and our penalty kill should have a crop of good skaters , whom with good coaching might actually be effective. That seemed to look good in Vegas. If our goalie can play himself into his contract or Mike Smith has some juice left; I actually feel optimistic about our team this year, especially what we saw out of the west last year.

    Leon is to connor as Malkin is to Crosby as eminem is to dre. This guy is a beast at a tremendous value, as well as a consummate professional.

    I want a counterfeit signed drai Jersey.