Edmonton Oilers’ Draisaitl Turning into a Extra Full Participant Below Woodcroft

Edmonton Oilers ahead Leon Draisaitl was on tempo to realize unbelievable highs to start out the season with 23 factors in his first 10 video games. He got here again right down to earth, tallying 13 factors throughout the Oilers’ 15-game slide from Dec. 3 to Jan. 20 the place they went 2-11-2. The crew as an entire was in a stoop as Draisaitl publicly displayed his frustration in a feisty trade with a reporter and was a minus-9 in that span.

Quick-forward to Feb. 10, the Oilers fired Dave Tippett, and in got here a brand new voice in Jay Woodcroft. In 10 video games taking part in for the brand new coach the crew has a 7-3 file, and a big a part of that’s because of the play of Draisaitl. He has 11 factors in that span, however his consideration to element in his defensive recreation has improved and he’s changing into an all-around full participant.  

What’s Draisaitl Doing Higher Defensively?

In Draisaitl’s final 10 video games beneath Woodcroft, the centerman hasn’t been on the ice for a 5-on-5 objective towards, whereas being on the ice for 10 goals-for. What additionally stands out is the standard of groups the Oilers have performed inside that interval. They’ve performed good groups, together with the reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning and powerhouses within the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes.

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (Picture by Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire through Getty Photos)

The large German isn’t recognized for his shot-blocking skill, however he’s elevated that a part of his recreation with Woodcroft behind the bench. He has eight blocked photographs in his final 10 video games, in distinction, he solely had one blocked shot in his earlier 10 beneath Tippett. It began in Woodcroft’s debut towards the New York Islanders. It was noticeable that Draisaitl was placing his physique in capturing lanes and visibly diving for unfastened pucks. He’s additionally seen a rise in ice time on the penalty kill beneath his new coach. He was beforehand averaging 0.45 minutes per recreation taking part in short-handed however is now averaging 1:35 minutes per recreation.

Draisaitl Had a Good All-Round Sport In opposition to the Flyers

Within the first interval towards the Philadelphia Flyers final Tuesday, Draisaitl was the lone ahead that was despatched out to kill the 5-on-3 penalty. Mikko Koskinen made a giant save and the centerman picked up the unfastened puck and skated it up ice, killing 48 seconds off the clock. When it was 5-on-4, he cleared the puck out of the zone utilizing his backhand. In complete, he was on the ice for over a minute short-handed and was great in stopping the Flyers from scoring. He scored a power-play objective of his personal later within the interval.

Oilers get a giant kill on a two-man drawback. Then Leon Draisaitl scores on an EDM PP. It’s 1-0.

He had different notable performs throughout the recreation. The Flyers had been circling with the puck within the Oilers’ zone and Draisaitl stood flat-footed close to the hash marks. A cross-ice go was made and he anticipated it and knocked the puck down along with his large paddle. He then picked it up and transitioned the opposite means, leading to two scoring possibilities for the Oilers.

Within the third interval, he was assigned to take the draw 6-on-5 with the Flyers’ goalie pulled. He misplaced the faceoff, however offered good defensive protection— the Oilers had been in a position to exit the zone and he ended up getting an help on Connor McDavid’s empty-net objective for a 3-0 win in Philadelphia. He completed the night time with a objective and an help and was the second star of the sport.

Draisaitl’s Defensive Skills Catching as much as His Offensive Sport

Woodcroft spoke about Draisaitl’s play towards the Flyers, saying, “Leon got here up with some large performs for us tonight and he was a giant think about our win, so I’m comfortable for him that we received the win on this constructing (that he was drafted in).” In his final stretch of video games, it’s obvious the trouble he’s put into backchecking. In my opinion, the final time he performed with such ardour in each space of the sport was throughout the 2019-20 season when he received the Hart Trophy. As a result of he’s a pacesetter on the Oilers, his further defensive effort can have a constructive impression on everybody within the locker room. If arguably among the finest gamers on this planet is placing within the work defensively, the second, third and fourth-line gamers needs to be doing it as nicely.

Shifting ahead, he might be a participant that sacrifices private factors with a purpose to be reliable defensively. Earlier in his profession, there have been comparisons to him and two-time Stanley Cup winner Anze Kopitar. The Los Angeles Kings’ captain has at all times been often called a giant physique who can put up factors but in addition play defensive recreation. At 26 years outdated, Draisaitl could solely be scratching the floor of being a whole participant.

With that first-period marker, Leon Draisaitl ties Auston Matthews for the league lead in targets (37). Tied for second in factors with Huberdeau (75). #Oilers

On the similar time, Draisaitl continues to be an offensive power. Along with his objective towards the Flyers final Tuesday, he tied Auston Matthews that night time for the league lead in targets, whereas additionally being second within the NHL in factors. Additionally, a enjoyable truth, along with his objective final recreation, it’s the third straight season he and McDavid have reached 75 factors throughout the Oilers’ first 54 video games. The one different teammate combo to have executed that was Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri (1983-1987).

Associated: Koskinen’s First Shutout Since 2020 Highlights Oilers’ Win Over Flyers

Draisaitl completed 13th in Selke Trophy voting final season, a trophy awarded to the ahead who demonstrates probably the most talent within the defensive element of the sport. If he continues his consideration to element to the defensive aspect of the sport, may he have a shot at profitable it this season?