Hey! It’s the offseason and we’re all bored, so let’s take a look ahead at if any Edmonton Oilers can win some hardware next year.
Leon Draisaitl had a season for the books last year.
The 24-year-old had his best year in the NHL despite the pandemic-shortened season posting 43 goals, 67 assists and a league-leading 110 points. He scored 13 points over his next closest competitor, teammate Connor McDavid, and 15 points over Artemi Panarin and David Pastrnak.
He ran away with the first-place votes tallying 91 compared to the second-placed Nathan MacKinnon’s 48 votes. Draisaitl was on pace for a 50-goal campaign and recover beautifully after a tough December by putting 17 points up in nine January games.
When McDavid went down with a quad injury in February, Draisaitl stepped up scoring four goals and 12 points in six games.
In NHL history, there’s been a number of players who repeated as Hart Trophy winners. Wayne Gretzky won it eight years in a row in the 80’s and is one of two (Bobby Orr, three-peat) to win more than two in a row.
Here’s the full-list of NHL players, dating all the way back to 1923, that repeated as Hart trophy winner.
1930-31/1931-32: Howie Morenz
34-35/35-36: Eddie Shore
51-52/52-53: Gordie Howe
56-57/57-58: Gordie Howe
64-65/65-66: Bobby Hull
66-67/67-68: Stan Mikita
69-70/70-71/71-72: Bobby Orr
74-75/75-76: Bobby Clarke
76-77/77-78: Guy Lafleur
79-89: Wayne Gretzky
96-97/97-98: Dominik Hasek
07-08/08-09: Alex Ovechkin
It’s a pretty impressive list of Hall of Fame players.
The most recent, and most comparable player would be Ovechkin. In 07-08, he scored 65 goals and 112 points leading the league in both categories. Those 65 goals were the most he scored in his career, too. 08-09 saw him score 56 goals, a league-high, and 110 points, second to Evgeni Malkin’s 113.
Draisaitl’s Hart year saw him post 43 goals and 110 points in 71 games. Prorated over a full 82 game season, he projected to post 50 goals and 127 points.
For him to repeat next year, he first and foremost needs to stay healthy for the entire year, much like he has for the past four seasons. His health is imperative for him to be the first to repeat in a decade.
Second, he can’t see a drop off in production. Going into the year Nikita Kucherov was talked about as one of the favourite to win the Hart this season, but his production levels dropped off in the hunt for a repeat Hart Trophy title. He was on pace to play 80 games this year and projected to score 38 goals and 100 points. Respectable numbers, but they’re a decline from the 41 goal, 128 point Hart season.
What we do know about Draisaitl is that every year in he has played professional hockey he has improved almost every season. He jumped from 70 points in 2017-18 to 105 points in 2018-19 and up to 110 points in 71 games this year.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable in the slightest for Leon Draisaitl to be able to repeat as a Hart Trophy winner, but this kid named Connor McDavid is going to give him a good run for his money.
On Twitter: @zjlaing