Some players score, others assist — Oilers star Leon Draisaitl does both


There are intention scorers, and there are support males. Players like Man Lafleur, who will normally be remembered for charging down that proper aspect, and guys like Joe Thornton, who consistently hits you on the tape like a surgeon. Or a magician. 

For every Wayne Gretzky, a famous scorer but in the eyes of most an even better dish person, there was a Jari Kurri to pull the trigger. For each Brett Hull an Adam Oates, for each Alex Ovechkin a Nicklas Backstrom. 

But what of Leon Draisaitl, who on Sunday became only the 24th player in NHL background to document the 2nd 50-intention, 100-position of his vocation? 

What is Draisaitl, we check with on the heels of a decisive 6-1 gain at Anaheim, Edmonton’s fourth straight ‘W’? 

Is he a better passer? Or a improved scorer? 

“I never know if you can really… I will not know,” started Oilers goalie Mike Smith, who was merely regular on a evening when getting breathtaking was only not a prerequisite. “I’ve never ever observed a participant pass the puck like he does. His eyesight on the ice is unbelievable, and he can move it both of those on his forehand and backhand. But he’s got an amazing shot also. 

“That aim he scored tonight, there are not too quite a few men who can rating from that angle and on an NHL goaltender.” 

Like a blend concerning Mike Gartner and Dave Andreychuk, Draisaitl scores from distance but safeguards a puck and is tremendous strong on his skates around the net. He leased his target-scoring business from Mike Bossy, though his backhand wizardry will make Oilers fans fail to remember about Doug Fat, who learned to stickhandle with a ping pong ball on the linoleum kitchen as a child. 

Those people ample competencies have made Draisaitl one particular of the NHL’s Major 3 points leaders since starting to be a full-time NHLer in 2015-16. 

When Draisaitl joined the Oilers out of junior, the No. 3 general decide in the 2014 draft, he was a centre. But when he arrived, both Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had been entrenched at centre. Then-GM Peter Chiarelli experienced moved equally Phil Kessel and Tyler Seguin to the wing when he labored in Boston, and was organized to experiment with Draisaitl. 

“Maybe Leon is not as suited for the wing as (Kessel and Seguin) were, but he does some matters that are suited for the wing far better than they do. He protects the puck, and he can make plays in tiny spaces,” assessed Chiarelli at a 2015 Rookie Event in Penticton. “It might be we locate out Leon is a far better winger than he is a centre. Is that truthful to him? It was truthful to Kessel. It was honest to Seguin. 

“Those guys were shooters,” Chiarelli added. “Leon, he’s received a excellent shot but I don’t believe he’s a shooter. He helps make very good performs on a frequent foundation.” 

Even then we weren’t confident what he was. Three years later, Darnell Nurse appeared pretty positive he experienced it figured out. 

“He has this potential to analyze the activity in his own head, and make those minimal performs that you fellas can see from up in the push box,” Nurse said a single working day in 2018. “You could type of see it when he was young, that he had the capacity to make those plays. Now, each individual and each night he’s building a jaw-dropping go.” 

Draisaitl scores with the best objective scorer in the recreation now, Auston Matthews, trailing the Leafs star 124 objectives to 139 more than the previous 3 seasons. But he outproduces Matthews each individual 12 months (295 to 234 around that span), plus kills penalties. He is his team’s most relied upon faceoff man. 

Sorry Leafs lovers, but he is a greater, more all-all around player than Matthews, as the most current two-time 50-intention, 100-stage player. Connor McDavid had a objective and two helps to pad his NHL scoring guide at 105 factors, whilst Draisaitl stayed proper at the rear of him at 101, the Countrywide Hockey League’s only two 100-point players as we enter the season’s last month. 

“I’m very pleased,” stated Draisaitl of the milestone. “I’m really content about it, no dilemma. But it also reveals you how terrific my teammates are appropriate? You know, they are the kinds that put me in these conditions are the types that get me the puck in the suitable times.” 

Who had Brett Kulak in the pool for serving up objective No. 50, a beautiful cross-ice feed from Kulak’s place on the left level. It was a patented one particular-timer for No. 50, lethally injected guiding goalie John Gibson from the edge of the correct circle. It arrived approximately 4 minutes immediately after he experienced assisted on Kulak’s to start with intention as an Oiler, on a evening where the Stony Simple product went as well as-5, though lover Tyson Barrie (goal, two assists) was in addition-4. 

But this evening was about the large German, who has firmly crushed the narrative that he is somehow just a lucky world orbiting close to McDavid. There are only 4 50-100 males in Oilers background: Glenn Anderson (the moment), Draisaitl (two times), Jari Kurri (4 situations) and of course, The Good Just one did it 8 occasions. 

All but a single of people gamers has received a Stanley Cup. Which is wherever Draisaitl’s head is, even on a night time of historic personal achievement. 

“You know, we’re all having older,” said Draisaitl, 26, whose Oilers are 10-2-1 in their past 13 online games. “We’re all receiving to a place where by we all want the exact same thing. This group has been through a ton of unfavorable items, but you know, it appears to be like we’re trending in the right route.”


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Anna C. Knight

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