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Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Draisaitl Dominance

Leon Draisaitl leads the NHL with 25 points.

He is tied for the NHL lead in goals with 12.

He leads the NHL with 11 even strength goals.

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He is first in the NHL with 18 EV points.

He is the first player in 29 years to produce 25 points in October.

Draisaitl has been dominant.

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He joins a very unique club of players who produced 25 points in October. Courtesy of HockeyReference, Al MacInnis was the last player to produce 25 points in October when he scored 8-17-25 in October of 1990.

Guy Lafleur also had 25 points in October of 1975. So Draisaitl is one of 12 players in NHL history to hit the quarter century mark in points in October.

Only four players are within seven points of Draisaitl’s 25 points this morning: David Pastrnak (24 points), Connor McDavid and John Carlson (23) and Brad Marchand (21). Alex Ovechkin is sixth in league scoring with 18 points.

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Some might suggest this is just a hot month for Draisaitl, but in the 2019 calendar year, he leads the NHL with 41-40-81. McDavid is second with 26-55-81 and Marchand third at 31-49-80.

Draisaitl and McDavid are the most dangerous duo in the NHL. A year ago some suggested Draisaitl’s success was on the back of McDavid, but anyone who watches the games knows that is quite misleading. Of course playing with McDavid helps, but most top scorers score more when they play with other elite scorers. Draisaitl is not riding the coattails of McDavid. They feed off one another, and on opposing teams.

After scoring 50 goals last season, any doubt of Draisaitl’s talents should have been quieted. Some wondered if his scoring prowess was just a one-year hot-streak, but Draisaitl’s stick has quashed those questions.

He has 41 goals in 57 games in 2019. Ovechkin is second with 33 in 57 games and Jake Guentzel is third with 31 in 56 games.

Currently, Draisaitl is right with Ovechkin for the best finisher in the NHL. I’m not talking career, of course, as Ovechkin will go down as one of the top-three goal scorers of all-time, but just right now. Draisaitl doesn’t possess Ovechkin’s lethal one-timer — few do — but his quick snapshot and soft touch around the net have made him one of the most dangerous snipers in the game.

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He isn’t just producing points. He is logging lots of minutes, and while he lines up at wing with Connor McDavid, he often takes the centre’s defensive responsibilities in the defensive zone. He is becoming a more well-rounded player every year.

His great start is just an exclamation point on what has been a fantastic last 13 months for Draisaitl.

BEST MONTHS…

His 25 points in October shouldn’t be downplayed. Historically it is rare, but I was curious to see how many other active players have produced 25 points in any month during the season.

He became the 11th active player to score 25 points in one month.

Nikita Kucherov had 30 points (9-21-30) last December in 14 games. He also produced 25 points in March, 2019, scoring 8-17-25 in 15 games. Not surprisingly, he led the NHL with 128 points last season.

Connor McDavid scored 28 points (13-15-28) in March, 2018, in 16 games. He also had 27 points (7-20-27) in March, 2019, in 14 games.

Sidney Crosby has had 26 points twice. In 14 games in December, 2006, he tallied 7-19-26 and in November, 2010, he produced 12-14-26 in 14 games. He also scored 25 points ( 6-19-25) in March, 2013, in 15 games.

Alex Ovechkin produced 26 points twice as well. First in March, 2008, with 14-12-26 in 14 games and again in January, 2010, with 15-9-26 in 17 games. He potted 25 points (11-14-25) in November, 2008, in 14 games.

Evgeni Malkin scored 26 points (9-17-26) in February, 2008, in 14 games. He also had 15 points (4-21-25) in November, 2013, in 15 games.

Johnny Gaudreau potted 26 points (11-15-26) in November, 2018, in 14 games.

Ilya Kovalchuk scored 26 points (13-13-26) in November, 2005, in 14 games.

Brad Marchand potted 26 (10-16-26) in 15 games in March, 2018.

Jason Spezza had 25 points (10-15-25) in December, 2007, in 14 games.

Artemi Panarin scored 25 points (8-17-25) in March, 2018, in 16 games.

All-TIME BESTS…

Not surprisingly, this list is dominated by Wayne Gretzky. He has the most points in every month, except October.

Mario Lemieux had 38 points (16-22-38) in 11 games in October, 1988. Gretzky’s best October was 33 in 1986.

Gretzky had 49 points (17-32-49) in 14 games in November of 1983.

He scored 44 points twice in December. He had 19-25-44 in 14 games in 1981 and 8-36-44 in 14 games in 1985.

Gretzky had 43 points (12-31-43) in 15 games in January, 1986. Between December 1985 and January 1986, he scored 87 points in 29 games. Mind blowing.

He scored 35 points (15-20-35) in 11 games in February, 1982.

The Great One tallied 38 points (5-33-38) in 14 games in March, 1988.

Gretzky had 40 points in a month six times, while Lemieux did it once (43 points).

WRAP UP…

Draisaitl’s 12 goals in October was one shy of tying Wayne Gretzky’s 13, which he reached in 1981 and again in 1983. Draisaitl and James Neal (11 goals) combined for 23, the second most in Oilers history behind Gretzky and Messier’s 24 in 1981.

I don’t expect Draisaitl to maintain his 146-point pace, but he looks poised to surpass the 105 points he scored last season.

He was the Oilers best player in October, and it is easy to argue he was the best in the NHL this month, along with David Pastrnak.

The Oilers have the best player in the NHL in McDavid, but I don’t believe it is unrealistic to say that Draisaitl should be considered among the top-ten, for sure, and even the top five.

It will be entertaining to watch see how many points and goals Draisaitl finishes with this season.

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