Scoring another two goals on Tuesday night against Ottawa, 27-year old Leon Draisaitl reached the 100 point mark for the fourth time in his career. He currently ranks third in the league this season with 44 goals and seventh overall with 56 assists.
Draisaitl now has 716 points in 624 career NHL games – and has established himself as one of the top-end forwards in the league. His productivity in the regular season and playoffs has him in some very elite company, and he’s a big reason why the Oilers are one of the highest scoring teams this season.
The biggest driver for his success is his productivity on the powerplay, where he currently leads the league with 27 goals and ranks tenth with 23 assists. The 50 powerplay points he’s accumulated makes up 50% of his total points, an increase from the 38% proportion he’s posted over the last three seasons. He’s having an incredible year on the powerplay, which remains one the best in the league and a significant competitive advantage. Worth noting is that while Draisaitl continues to produce well at even-strength (5v5), his scoring rate is actually down this season compared to previous seasons, currently sitting at 2.16 points per hour.
Digging into the powerplay numbers a little more, Draisaitl’s scoring rate (11.31 points per hour) has been one of the best in the league and actually one of the highest rates over the last several seasons. Only a handful of players have surpassed the 10.00 points per hour mark in a year, with the average among regular powerplay forwards being around 4.4 points per hour (based on forwards who have played at least 150 minutes over the last three seasons). Draisaitl himself has posted a rate of 8.61 points per hour on the powerplay over the last three seasons, making his current rate of scoring about 31% higher where we’d expect him to be.
There’s been a few reasons for his powerplay success this season, which has helped him reach the 100-point mark.
First, he’s been shooting at a rate almost 12% higher than where he’s been at over the last three seasons, currently sitting at 19.23 shots per hour on the powerplay. Based on some of the shots we’ve seen him take on the powerplay, it’s clear he’s got a lot of confidence in his abilities, a by-product of his experience in the league and being on a unit that has now spent a lot of time together.
Second, Draisaitl is converting a significantly higher proportion of his powerplay shots into goals, currently sitting at a 31.76% individual shooting percentage. In the last three season, Draisaitl posted a 23.50% shooting percentage on the powerplay, so we’re talking about a 35% increase.
Considering the elite talent on the Oilers powerplay and the chemistry they’ve established over the years, it’s safe to assume Draisaitl will continue to get plenty of chances and help the club generate offence. But it’s hard to know how well he’ll convert on his chances and maintain a 31% individual shooting percentage. In the last three seasons, only three forwards among 206 powerplay regulars have posted an individual shooting percentage over 30%. Draisaitl has been 14th among this group with a 23.50% shooting percentage, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Either way, the Oilers have an elite powerplay producer. And if his regular linemates can stay healthy and if he can maintain first-line level production at even-strength, Draisaitl should be able to chase 100 points again next season.
Data: Natural Stat Trick
Also posted at The Copper & Blue.