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Edmonton Oilers player review and 2023-24 preview: Leon Draisaitl

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Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
6 months ago
Welcome to the 2022-23 season review and 2023-24 season preview player-by-player! In this and other articles, we’ll be, well, reviewing the 2022-23 season of Edmonton Oilers players and previewing their 2023-24 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
Welcome back, Leon Draisaitl.
5×5NHL GPTOI + TOI/GPG – A – PCFCACF%SCFSCASCF%GFGAGF%xGFxGAxGF%PDO
Individual801269.7234-17-511278117352.1470661353.53747051.3966.6560.0152.621.00
Per/6015.871.63-0.74-2.3760.3955.4333.3628.973.53.313.152.84
Per/60, RelTm%3.763.77-0.153.382.670.250.911.09-2.490.290.4-1.3
I could spend hours singing the praise of Leon Draisaitl. In terms of player importance to the Oilers, he’s second to only Connor McDavid and his work over the last number of years just shows that.
A dominant force in terms of his size and ability to use his body, it’s translated to his offensive game, too. Draisaitl was always a big player and even dating back to his time in juniors, the expectation was he would be a strong power forward in the NHL. He’s done that and then some with his offensive game hitting highs few ever expected.
Last season was no different with another 50+ goal campaign with 128 points, but what impressed me most was Draisaitl’s defensive zone play. This is an area of his game I’ve long felt was underrated, and I think this past season we saw a noticeable step forward. It may not have shown itself in the Oilers’ goal share number with him on the ice, but you can see his individual contributions having improved to a league-average rate.
And to be honest, that’s totally acceptable because his strength will forever be in his ability to drive play into the offensive zone where he’s established himself as one of the most threatening players there.
He can score from anywhere in any way, and it leaves opposing defences scrambling. Forehand, backhand, in front of the net or 30 feet away, if there’s an opening, Draisaitl can find it. His accuracy is something that’s forced other teams to key in on him more and more, thus opening the door for others to see successes, too. Look at Connor McDavid scoring over 60 goals this year as a perfect example. While a lot of it comes with McDavid himself just shooting the puck more, it also comes in thanks to Draisaitl’s ability to soak up coverage.
With a big frame like his, it forces opposing teams to try often and double him up, and that’s just not something that’s going to stop him. Draisiatl’s ability to shield the puck, protect it in the offensive zone, and create chances make him one of the best players in the league.
This upcoming season I’m expecting much of the same. Look for Draisaitl to score 50+ goals mark and notch 120+ points over the course of the season once again.

DRAISAITL’S CAREER SO FAR

SeasonTeamLeagueGPGAPtsPIM+/-PGPGAPtsPIM
2014-15Edmonton OilersNHL372794-17
2014-15Kelowna RocketsWHL3219345325141910182812
2015-16Bakersfield CondorsAHL61124-5
2015-16Edmonton OilersNHL7219325120-2
2016-17Edmonton OilersNHL82294877207136101619
2017-18Edmonton OilersNHL7825457030-7
2018-19Edmonton OilersNHL825055105522
2019-20Edmonton OilersNHL71436711018-743360
2020-21Edmonton OilersNHL56315384222942352
2021-22Edmonton OilersNHL805555110401716725326
2022-23Edmonton OilersNHL805276128247121351810
NHL Totals6383064387442304931467737

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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