Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl of Cologne, Germany is becoming a National Hockey League superstar in front of our very eyes. On Sunday, Draisaitl received further accolades for his excellent season as he was named the National Hockey League’s player of the month for February.
Draisaitl had 10 goals and 13 assists for 23 points in 14 games. He was a +1 with two penalty minutes, nine power play points, two game winning goals, 47 shots on goal, four hits, one blocked shot and 170 faceoff wins.
Twice during the month of February, Draisaitl had a four point game. On February 1, Draisaitl had four assists as the Oilers completely clobbered the Calgary Flames 8-3. Then on February 11, Draisaitl had one goal and three assists as the Oilers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3.
Throughout his entire NHL career, Draisaitl could be simply compared to Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both do not necessarily get the attention that they deserve because Draisaitl gets overshadowed due to the offensive prowess of superstar Connor McDavid, while Malkin has always played second fiddle to Sidney Crosby.
However what we saw from Draisaitl starting against the Chicago Blackhawks was simply significant. That night was memorable because Draisaitl showed the hockey world the Oilers could win without McDavid, who was out with a quad injury. That night, Draisaitl showed off his McDavid-like playmaking ability, as he found Kailer Yamamoto of Spokane, WA for a power play goal and an even strength goal, and also Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of Burnaby, British Columbia for the game winning goal.
McDavid, the Oilers captain was expected to be out for two to three weeks. He was gone for 12 days. During that time, the Oilers played respectable hockey. They went 3-2-1, and Draisaitl made his way into the Hart Trophy conversation as the favourite by having four goals and eight assists for 12 points.
In 65 games this season, Draisaitl has 39 goals and 63 assists for 102 points. He is a -10 with 16 penalty minutes, 42 power play points, 10 game winning goals, 202 shots on goal, 596 faceoff wins, 19 blocked shots, 25 hits, 53 takeaways and 77 giveaways. Draisaitl leads the NHL in assists, points and game winning goals.
The Oilers meanwhile are in second place in the Pacific Division. With a record of 34 wins, 23 regulation losses and eight losses in extra time, they have 76 points and lead the Arizona Coyotes by four points for a playoff spot.