A quick and encouraging note on Leon Draisaitl’s astonishing season

Leon Draisailt is a Scoring Chance Machine

There are reasonable questions about how sustainable Leon Draisaitl’s scoring is. I’m here today with some quick and encouraging news on that count.

I’m not here to say Draisaitl will score 50 goals again. I wouldn’t bet on that.

But I am here to say Draisaitl was a Scoring Chance Machine in 2018-19.

If he can stay healthy, keep playing with Connor McDavid, and keep his spot as the go-to shooter on the Oil’s power play, the points are going to come.

Lots of points, somewhere in the range of 85 to 110.

As a 23-year-old last season, Draisaitl scored 50 goals and 55 assists for 105 points. He scored all those goals on just 231 shots for a 21.6 shooting percentage.

In other words, he was slamming in the goals like he was Jari Kurri in the 1980s.

Can he keep up that goal scoring pace? After all, the NHL average shooting percentage has been around 11 to 12 per cent in recent years. It’s unlikely he’ll have that kind of hot hand in 2019-20.

But as for scoring points, here’s one thing to keep in mind.

When it came to making major contributions to Grade A chances, Draisaitl came close to matching Connor McDavid’s wicked pace in 2018-19.

McDavid had his best year in this regard, making 3.8 major contributions to a Grade A scoring chance per game.

This beat his totals of 3.2, 3.4, and 3.2 per game in his first four seasons.

But Draiaitl’s improvement was even more pronounced. He went from 1.9 in 2015-16, to 2.4, then 2.3, before shooting up to 3.6 major contributions to Grade A chances last year (A major contribution generally is a shot or a pass into or in the inner slot that leads to a dangerous shot on net).

For comparison, in his last year with the Oilers. Taylor Hall made 2.5 major contributions to Grade A chances per game.

Bottom lines: Draisaitl was already an ace at creating scoring chances before last year. But in 2018-19, he entered the category of Scoring Chance Machine.

Only a handful of players in the NHL are Scoring Chance Machines. Draisaitl is one of them, and I don’t expect that to come to an end any time soon.