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Forecasting Leon Draisaitl’s 2018-19

Will Leon spend an entire year running his own line in 2018-19?

Germany v Korea - 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship
Seventy points for Leon in 2017-18. What’s on top for next year?
Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

The third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft has had himself two consecutive seventy point seasons. Sounds great. Can we get another in 2018-2019?

Leon Draisaitl is Edmonton’s best forward after some guy named McDavid, I don’t believe that’s a controversial statement. The question that is on some minds? What does a full season of Draisaitl on his own line look like? Can he replicate a 70+ point season if he’s a full time 2C player?


Five on five scoring is very important, but Leon Draisaitl had just eleven points on the power play last season. That’s nearly half the number that Connor McDavid had (20), and there’s quite a bit of room to grow. Draisaitl had a balmy 6.6 P/60 on the power play in 2016-17. His number last year dipped to 3 P/60 while on the power play, identical to his 2015-16 rate. Compare 3P/60 to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (4.3P/60), Milan Lucic (2.3P/60) and Pat Maroon (5.1P/60). Draisaitl’s number is going to go up, and subsequently so will his power play point totals.


Barring anything wacky, it’s a fair bet that Leon Draisaitl is going to start the season at 2C. If the Oilers have a hard time scoring goals in the first however many games, there’s always the chance that McLellan will reunite McDavid and Draisaitl on the top line for a limited engagement. McDavid and Draisaitl have gotten on famously over the last couple of years, and I really can’t blame McLellan for trying to jump start the good times with a proven combo.

As fun as it is to watch 97 and 29 while 5 on 5, a couple issues:

  1. Getting 97 together with 29 is great, good things happen. It will likely put Ryan Nugent-Hopkins back down on the second line, which is fine for a time. While Nugent-Hopkins is no doubt a fair candidate to be 2C on any team in the league, I’d rather see a lot more of 93-97 in 2018-19. All circuits looked to be clicking with 93 and 97 on the top line toward the end of last year, and it’s something I definitely want to see a lot more in October.
  2. As easy as it is to put McDavid back with Draisaitl, it exposes the obvious issue that the Oilers don’t yet have a suitable replacement for Jordan Eberle. Maybe that all changes this year when one of Kailer Yamamoto or Jesse Puljujarvi steps into that role. Until then, we’re left to wonder.
  3. If the Oilers keep 93, 97, and 29 on one line, that puts Ryan Strome in at 2C. Yeah, I’m not sold.

For these reasons (and barring a top line scoring drought), it’s my opinion that we’re going to see an awful lot of Leon Draisaitl on the second line this year. If his power play points straighten out, I think that will help even out what can only be seen as a likely arrow downward in his even-strength points. This could be even more profound if Milan Lucic is in the top six for more than a cup of coffee. Even if that happens, it’s reasonable to believe that Draisaitl is a solid candidate for sixty points or more as a second line centre with similar power play time as last season.

If he spends significant time on McDavid’s line again, look out.


Assume 82 games played. How many points will Leon Draisaitl score in 2018-19?

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