Welcome to the 2021-22 season review and 2022-23 season preview player-by-player! In this, and other articles, I’ll be, well, reviewing the Edmonton Oilers 2021-22 season and previewing the 2022-23 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
Leon Draisaitl. He’s pretty good!
Having two of the best players on the same team truly is a treat, and like fine wine, Leon Draisaitl is only getting better with age. Like teammate Connor McDavid, Draisaitl enjoyed a career year last year with the Oilers scoring 55 goals and as many assists in 80 games. His goal total was a career-high, and his 110 points matched his Hart Trophy-winning season in 2019-20.
When he was drafted 3rd overall in 2014, we all saw the offence he was able to produce at the junior level, but nobody imagined we’d be sitting here years later looking at the body of work he’s been able to produce.
Similar to McDavid, Draisaitl was a wildly productive player last year. He had 20 games where he didn’t score a point, and had four two-game point-less stretches in that time while also notching 31 2+ point nights. Pretty good, I’d say.
Draisaitl also elevated his numbers in the playoff massively. He scored seven goals and 32 points in 16 games, and dominated the Calgary Flames while playing on one leg. He suffered a high-ankle sprain against the LA Kings in the first round, but gutted it out in some tremendous efforts to help the Oilers on their playoff run.
Unlike with McDavid, the underlying numbers don’t quite support Draisaitl the way they should. Despite that, we’re starting to see improvements in his defensive play that jump out more to the eye, than to the numbers. I’m curious to see how he improves there under Jay Woodcroft.
G – A – P
As mentioned above, his underlying numbers are great beyond a solid scoring clip, but Draisaitl’s on-ice shooting percentage has dipped from where it has been in recent years. This year it sat at 9.61, compared to 11.41 in 2020-21 and 11.08 in 2019-20.
While his goal rate is solid at 54.03 percent, that’s about the only favorable statistic for Draisaitl. It’s not what you want to see, but in the same breath, he continues to be one of the best scorers. A large part of his underlying numbers being poor have to do with him playing alongside Kailer Yamamoto, but I’ll dig into that in an article tomorrow.
Draisaitl’s individual impacts come in the offensive zone, where he contributes five percent more offence than league average, and on the powerplay where that number climbs to 10 percent. Defensively, he still is showing deficiencies contributing six percent below league average.
Leon Draisaitl will continue to produce offence at one of the best clips in the league, and I’m curious to see how — and who with — he is deployed this season. I’ll be writing tomorrow about how Yamamoto isn’t the ideal linemate for him.
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 [email protected]