Leon Draisaitl killed it last year.
The 2018-19 NHL season was very kind to Leon Draisaitl. His 50 goals led the team and his 105 points were second only to Connor McDavid. Draisaitl was the first Oiler to score 50 goals since 1986-87 when Wayne Gretzky (62) and Jari Kurri (54). That’s a lot of goals! And, it’s a lot of points.
Can he possibly repeat those numbers? Is there room for growth?
Let’s take a quick look at how he got there.
AIN’T MESSING WITH WHAT WORKS
When Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are together, good things happen. A lot of them, really. Of Draisaitl’s 1753 minutes of ice time logged, Leon spent 1174 of those with Connor McDavid on the ice. He spent well over half of his even strength minutes with McDavid (nearly 63.5%), and the duo connected often. 67 of Leon Draisaitl’s 105 total points were either an assist on a goal by Connor McDavid, or a goal scored by Drasaitl that McDavid had an assist. Those are great numbers for your two best forwards to have.
The one complaint? Maybe you’d like to have some of that on your second line. I think the 2019-20 Oilers are going to continue to struggle to score goals from nearly all areas that aren’t the line with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl on it. The Oilers could try putting a player like Zack Kassian or James Neal atop the first line, but it’s almost certainly not going to generate the action that a 97-29 combo will.
THE FIGHT AGAINST REGRESSION
Leon Draisaitl had a killer season. Any time one of your forwards scores 100+ points, that’s a special thing. There’s one key working against a repeat performance in 2019-20, and that’s Leon’s shooting percentage.
Draisaitl had 50 goals in 2018-19. He also had a whopping 21.6 shooting percentage, which is great while it happens, but it’s a pretty strong indicator that it won’t likely happen again. Draisaitl’s next highest shooting percentage was 2016-17’s 16.9%, nearly a full five points less than 2018-19’s result.
Prior to last year’s outburst, Draisaitl was holding a career 13.7 shooting average. Run that through last year’s 231 shots, and you get a yield of 32 goals. That’s still nothing to sneeze at.
It’s unlikely that Leon Draisaitl can maintain an over 20 shooting percentage. Draisaitl’s 21.6% led the league among eligible players. He might not need to maintain that level of a shooting percentage if there are more shots. Draisaitl’s 231 shots were the 33rd most taken last season. Tyler Seguin, Alex Ovechkin, Patrick Kane and Nathan MacKinnon each took at least 100 more shots than Leon Draisaitl.
In case you’re wondering, Connor McDavid turned in 240 total shots - good for 25th in the league.
A LIKELY SCENARIO
I think it’s highly likely that Leon regresses to somewhere around 30-35 goals, and that’s OK. Like Jordan Eberle’s 76 point season from years back, I think it’s a pretty good guess that Leon falls back a bit unless he really ramps up his shot rate. I think he’ll get the lion’s share of the time with 97 at both evens and on the power play. I think that both players will benefit because of it. I think 50 assists is well within his reach, and so I’m figuring about 80-85 points for Leon Draisaitl in 2019-20.
All the regression talk goes out the window if he jumps out to a 17 point start in the first ten games. We can certainly wish.
Assume 82 games played. What can we expect from Leon Draisaitl in 2019-20?
This poll is closed