As the Edmonton Oilers prepare to take on the Anaheim Ducks, Leon Draisaitl in on the cusp of accomplishing something that has rarely been achieved over the course of NHL history. The next goal he scores will not only give him the second 50-goal campaign of his career but it’ll also mark the second such occasion in which the talented German has topped the 100-point barrier in the same season.
While much of the media out east continues to heap praise, and rightly so, on Toronto Maple Leafs superstar Auston Matthews after reaching the 50-goal mark for the first time in his career, you get the sense they are not paying nearly enough attention to what is taking place in Alberta capital. The Oilers season has been one filled with ups and downs but their dynamic duo are doing what they always do.
Connor McDavid appears poised to take home the fourth scoring title of his career and it looks as though the player most likely to give him a run for his money will be his teammate. If the two can remain atop the points race, it’ll be the third consecutive season in which Draisaitl and McDavid finished first or second in league scoring. And yet, many seem to be taking a ho-hum approach to it.
In my mind, it seems rather illogical but to each their own. There are many outstanding players in this league and because that is the case, we are seeing many hockey fans and certain media taking what these two are accomplishing for granted. It is unfortunate and it’d be shame for the season Draisaitl has put together to slip through the cracks and not get the spotlight it deserves due to viewer fatigue.
Over the course of NHL history there have been 197 “seasons” in which a player has scored 50 or more goals. The third overall pick in the 2014 draft will make that number grow by one and when he does, Draisaitl will join a very select group of players who have put up 50-goal/100-point campaigns at least twice in their career. How rare a feat you ask…well let’s take a quick look.
As of this moment, there have been a grand total of 117 seasons in which a player has posted 50/100 in the same year and it’s been accomplished by 55 different players. The number of guys who have done it twice is 23 and the list of players who have done it three or more times includes all of thirteen names:
Wayne Gretzky (9x), Mike Bossy (7x), Mario Lemieux (6x), Guy Lafleur (6x), Marcel Dionne (6x), Phil Esposito (5x), Steve Yzerman (5x), Alexander Ovechkin (4x), Brett Hull (4x), Jari Kurri (4x), Jaromir Jagr (3x), Luc Robitaille (3x), Michel Goulet (3x)
At the age of 26 and just eight years into his career, this is the group of players who’ve pulled off the 50/100 trick more than Draisaitl. Just think about all the great players we’ve been lucky enough to watch over the years and recognize they are not on this list. Than take into account that the chances of the 2020 Hart Trophy winner climbing further up this list is not only realistic but probable.
All this coming from a guy many felt would be a very good NHL player but certainly not this good and no one pegged him to be an elite goal scorer at this level. The title of best pure goal-scorer in today’s game belongs to Matthews, just as Bossy was throughout much of his career and might very well be the greatest pure sniper of all-time. Which is part of the reason no. 29 is such a unique and special player.
Some will argue but for my money, no one passes the puck better in the game today. After working his tail off to improve on it, Draisaitl now owns one the best one-timers in the NHL, is an absolute handful to play against and has turned himself into a real good faceoff man who plays in all situations. Add all that to the goal scoring demon he has morphed himself into and we have the player we see today.
Over the coming weeks, Matthews will join the 50/100 club for the first time and McDavid might just do it as well, needing only eleven goals over the Oilers final thirteen games. They are the two names we hear most often mentioned as being the best in the game and while both richly deserve said accolades, Leon Draisaitl is right there with him…even though many don’t want to admit it.