Leon Draisaitl
Leon Draisaitl
23-Year-Old CenterC
Edmonton Oilers
2018 Fantasy Outlook
Draisaitl is arguably the most underrated player in Oil Country. Last season, the German winger proved that he doesn't need to rely on Connor McDavid as a linemate to produce. Draisaitl closed out the 2017-18 season surpassing the 70-point mark (25 goals, 45 assists) for the second year in a row. Still, one area Draisaitl and the rest of the team could improve upon is power-play production. After garnering 11 points on the man advantage at 2:50 per game, Draisaitl could see a significant boost in value if the Oilers can significantly overhaul their league-worst man-advantage unit in 2018-19. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed an eight-year, $68 million contract extension with the Oilers in August 2017.
Scores in loss to Penguins
CEdmonton Oilers
February 13, 2019
Draisaitl was the lone goal scorer in a 3-1 loss to the Penguins on Wednesday.
Make it six goals in five games for the German, as Draisaitl continues racking up points, even in losses. He's at 67 through 56 games, needing 11 more to set a new career high. Barring injury, the Oilers forward should easily surpass his 2016-17 total.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
He may be overshadowed by superstar teammate Connor McDavid, but Draisaitl has developed into a stud in his own right, as evidenced by last season's 29-goal, 77-point explosion. Still only 21 years old, the German pivot anchors a second high-level scoring line that's helped make the Oilers a tough team to beat all of a sudden. After doing all that for just over $800,000 last season, he’s in line for a major raise as an unrestricted free agent, but Draisaitl -- rumored to be seeking $9 million a year -- hasn't yet inked a new deal with Edmonton, leaving his status a bit uncertain heading into the 2017-18 season. That said, Oilers management has sounded confident about retaining his services, and even if he does change home rinks unexpectedly, Draisaitl would return high-end fantasy value on any team. Draft him early and with confidence.
Draisaitl logged considerable time on the first line last season, holding his own nicely with 51 points and a minus-2 rating in 72 games after logging a dreadful minus-17 mark in 37 appearances as a rookie. The 20-year-old’s career is very much on an upward trajectory at this stage, but the logjam of talented centers in Edmonton means he’ll have to beat out either 2015 first overall pick Connor McDavid or 2011 first overall selection Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to slot into a fruitful role on the top two lines. Expect another productive campaign from Draisaitl should he do so, as improvements in his own game should cancel out any negative effects that winger Taylor Hall’s departure might have on his scoring.
Draisaitl spent 37 games with the Oilers last season, and it’d be an understatement to say it was a struggle. He scored two goals and added seven assists, and was overmatched at every turn. But thankfully, the experience didn’t ruin him. After he returned to the WHL when the calendar flipped to January, he promptly racked up 19 goals and 34 assists in 32 games and added 10 goals and 18 assists in just 19 postseason contests. Perhaps most importantly, Draisaitl worked hard to improve his skating, and that has put him in good stead to fight for a role with the Oilers in 2015-16. He’ll need to move to the wing to do it, and honestly, the Oilers could use a guy with his size and strength along the wall. Should he fail in his quest to earn a roster spot, the organization could dispatch him to AHL Bakersfield and give him top-line minutes down there. His destination won’t be settled until the end of training camp, so don’t invest too much.
Draisaitl is a complete wild card. He’s earned the nickname "The German Gretzky" for good reason -- his playmaking skills look other-worldly at times. But at other times, he’s almost completely invisible -- in an Alex Kovalev-invisible kind of way. And you can read it all over him when he’s off his game -- his body language slumps worse than a five-year-old whose had his chocolate cake taken away. Still, his vision and ability to think the game give us hope that good coaching can bring out some consistency in his game. And if that happens, Draisaitl will be a star at either center or left wing. He needs to build up his lower-body strength, but could crack the lineup in Edmonton given the right circumstances. We’d like to see him grow his game back in the Dub, though -- there’s too much risk to his development if he cracks the NHL too soon. Could you live with Anze Kopitar Lite on your squad? Roll the dice in dynasty formats.
More Fantasy News
Tallies pair of goals again
CEdmonton Oilers
February 5, 2019
Draisaitl scored two goals for the second straight game in a 6-2 loss to the Blackhawks on Tuesday.
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Scores twice
CEdmonton Oilers
February 3, 2019
Draisaitl netted a pair of goals -- one coming during the power play -- in Sunday's 4-3 overtime loss to Montreal. He also totaled four PIM and four shots on goal.
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Shows off passing skills
CEdmonton Oilers
January 25, 2019
Draisaitl won the passing skills competition at the All-Star Skills event Friday, completing the obstacle course in a hair over 69 seconds.
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Scores 100th career goal in loss
CEdmonton Oilers
January 20, 2019
Draisaitl scored two goals -- including one on the power play -- and added an assist in Sunday's 7-4 loss to the Hurricanes.
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Scores goal in fourth straight
CEdmonton Oilers
January 1, 2019
Draisaitl tallied a pair of goals and recorded four shots on goal in a 4-3 loss to the Jets on Monday night.
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