Leon Draisaitl the German Spectacle
By: Joe Borek
Already cemented in as the best player ever from Germany Leon Draisaitl, separated himself from the pact even further this season by becoming the first-ever German player to win the Art Ross Trophy. The Art Ross Trophy, for the uninformed, goes to the player who accumulates the most points at seasons end. This season Draisaitl collected 110 points in a season where no other player surpassed 100. The second-place point-getter on the season was his Edmonton Oilers teammate Connor McDavid, who just missed 100 points with a total of 97 on the season. Draisaitl, the “German Spectacle,” has only continued to grow his game and get better and better each year.
Let us go back to three years ago and move forward to now to see the actual progression of Draisaitl, a very proficient skater, especially for his size. Furthermore, he can be able to fend opposing skaters off the puck while using his skill to get around others leading to his scoring chances or many for his teammates as well. In the 2017-18 season, Draisaitl had 25 goals, 45 assists, for 70 points, with a +/- of – 7 in 78 games. Fast forward to the 2018-19 season were before this season, was Draisaitl’s major break out season. He had 50 goals, 55 assists, and 105 points with a +/- of +2 while playing the full 82 game schedule. Then there is this season 2019-20, where Draisaitl, if there were even questions before, entirely became what I call the “German Spectacle.” This season in only 71 games played, Draisaitl put up monster numbers of 43 goals, 67 assists, for a whopping 110 points with a +/- of -7. Those stats, of course, not only award him the Art Ross Trophy but also make him the natural front runner for the Hart Trophy awarded to the league’s most valuable player.
The scariest part for other teams around the league is this is just the beginning for Draisaitl, who is only 24 years of age. He has shown these last two seasons that he has fully entered into his prime—setting himself up for a breathtaking and even potential Hall of Fame career if he keeps relatively the same pace going for an extended clip. Draisaitl, this year was on pace for another 50 goal season before the halt due to the virus. It is also essential to keep in mind that he hit the post a total of 13 times. Draisaitl, similar to former forward Danny Briere, has a flair for the dramatic. He had ten game-winning goals on the season after having five last season.
Also, Draisaitl is a guy who is over 50 % in the faceoff dot the last three seasons improving from high 40 % numbers in his first three seasons in the league. He has shown exponential improvement each season. Establishing himself as a true leader with Connor McDavid of course as one of the other leaders, on an Oilers team with that duo plus other up and coming youngsters like Kailer Yamamoto, Philip Broberg, and Evan Bouchard to name a few, are destined to do many good things for years to come. Of course, as long as they can find stability in net. Mikko Koskinen, their netminder who is under contract past this season, has been pretty solid in 38 games but has heavily platooned with veteran goalie Mike Smith who is now 38 years of age. So the only question remaining with Koskinen is can he carry a starter’s workload and play at a reasonably high level at least until when his contract is up at the end of the 2020-22 season is Smith is not resigned or retires? That remains to be seen. All that is certain is the Oilers; especially if Koskinen does step up for the remainder of his contract or Russian youngster Ilya Konovalov can be called upon quicker than excepted, are in great shape. Especially with two likely Hall of Famers in the duo of McDavid and the “German Spectacle” Draisaitl for years to come.