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Draisaitl is Filling in for McDavid Nicely, as Franchise Saviour

The young German has produced at a level that most fans could have only expected from the highly touted Connor McDavid.

Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

Win streaks are super fun. Remember how deflating that shutout loss to Toronto was? Me neither, because I'm riding the dizzying high of an Oilers 4 game winning streak.

Are the Oilers ever going to lose again?

The stats say they might (Boooo!). They have a 43.9% score-adjusted Corsi in all situations, in their last 4 games. That's not particularly good, but because Nilsson's been sharp, they've been in a lot of close games, which are finally starting to go their way.

If we look at slightly larger in-season splits, we can see that the underlying numbers support the assertion that the Oilers have improved since the first month of the season.

October Nov 1- Now
CF% (score-adjusted) 46.7 48.9
CF/60 mins 49 53.4
CA/60 mins 55.9 55.8
SC% (score-adjusted) 45.7 49.9
SCF/60 mins 23.4 27.7
SCA/60 mins 27.8 27.9
League CF% rank 28 19
League SC% rank 28 15

*These stats are in all situations.

The Oilers' improvement in their shot-based ratios have been as a result of improved shot rates, while their shot suppression has remained relatively constant throughout the year. Perhaps just as interesting is that the Oilers have increased their scoring chances by over 4 chances per game since the start of November, while low danger chances have remained constant. This offensive improvement isn't something that I would have expected when offensive dynamo Connor McDavid broke his collarbone during the first game of November.

McDavid was really good at creating scoring chances. His 27.16 on-ice SCF/60 still ranks 4th on the team. The team's leader in this category is Leon Draisaitl with 29.31 SCF/60. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who has watched this team recently, but considering that he started the year in Bakersfield, Draisaitl's play has been a huge pleasant surprise. When McDavid got hurt, it made perfect sense to move Draisaitl back to his natural position in order to maintain a solid 1-2 punch down the middle with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. But even Draisaitl's biggest fan (me) couldn't have predicted that he could have equaled, and even surpassed McDavid's production in his absence. Draisaitl has done this.

The only plausible reason that might cause someone to be skeptical about Leon's greatness, is the fact that he has almost exclusively shared the ice with the Oilers' best player, Taylor Hall. Prior to Wednesday's game, Draisaitl had spent 250:36 at 5 on 5 with Hall, compared to only 22:18 without Hall. Draisaitl's CF% of 57.1 without Hall is impressive, but 22 minutes is not a lot to go on. The more telling stat, in my opinion, is that in nearly 200 minutes without Draisaitl Hall's CF% is 51%, but in 250 minutes with Draisaitl Hall's CF% rises to 53.2%. The Draisaitl-Hall partnership isn't a case of driver/passenger. It's a symbiotic relationship, and one of the most effective dynamic duos in the NHL.

Draisaitl leads all Oilers forwards in SCF% Rel at +5.16, and he leads the entire league in Points/60 at even strength, with 3.15. No other player is above 3.00 in Points/60, not even Patrick Kane. Draisaitl has been the one of the most productive players in the entire league through his first 19 games. A team which features him, Connor McDavid, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins as their top 3 centers should terrify 29 other teams. The fact that all 3 of the players is 22 or younger should be one of the coolest thoughts imaginable for Oilers fans.

*All stats in this article were from or