There are some household names atop the points standings in the National Hockey League, and then there is Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl is a member of the Edmonton Oilers, and you can be forgiven if you have not heard the name.
He wasn’t destined for stardom right away, but he is taking the hockey world by storm. People that have known Draisitl probably aren’t surprised as he was groomed to be a hockey player since birth. If you don’t know the name yet, get used to hearing it over the next decade or so.
Draisaitl has started to draw the attention from sportsbooks and other sports betting sites as well, and he is now one of the favorites to win the Hart Trophy in the National Hockey League. There is a great chance that he will end up winning the award if he keeps up the tear he is on, but he also looks like a player that could be a perennial contender.
Draisitl is starting to become a household name in the NHL, but he has been a hockey star for a very long time.
Born to Play Hockey
Leon Draisaitl was born on October 27, 1995, in Cologne, Germany. Even though he wasn’t born with a hockey stick in his hands, there was no doubt that Draisaitl was born to play hockey.
His father, Peter Draisaitl, was a former hockey player that represented the German National team during his playing days. The older Draisaitl played in over 140 games for the German National team and represented them in the Winter Olympics in 1988, 1992, and 1998 Games.
Draisaitl grew up playing hockey and watching hockey in Germany, and his dad was his coach on several younger teams. By the time was 18 years of age, Draisaitl was also a recognized and decorated star in Germany.
During the 2011-12 hockey season, Draisaitl played junior hockey for the Jungadler Mannheim U18 team. Jungadler Mannheim competed in the German Development League, and Draisaitl led his team to a championship during that season.
Draisaitl was named the DNL Player of the Year for his efforts during the season, and it was then that other professional leagues began to take notice of his talents.
Early Professional Career
After the 2011-12 season in the German Development League, Draisaitl and his family moved to North America to further advance his career. Draisaitl continues to represent Germany on the international stage, but this move helped to jumpstart his career.
Draisaitl got his start in professional hockey after being selected by the Prince Albert Raiders as the number two overall pick in the 2012 CHL Import Draft. Draisaitl played in just two seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders before he was on the move again.
The Kelowna Rockets traded for Draisaitl in 2015, and the move immediately paid off for the team. The Rockets advanced to the World Championship in 2015 but fell short in the title game to the Oshawa Generals.
Draisaitl was still able to turn some heads during the season as he won the Stafford Smythe Trophy that season, which is awarded to the MVP of the WHL.
The Edmonton Oilers of the National Hockey League took notice and selected Draisaitl with the third overall pick of the 2014 Entry Draft. He became the highest-drafted German player in NHL history and signed a three-year entry-level deal with the Oilers.
Draisaitl made his NHL debut on October 9, 2014, and scored his first NHL goal on October 24, 2014. Despite playing in 37 games for the Edmonton Oilers during his rookie season, he was returned to the Prince Albert Raiders to keep him under team control for an extra season.
A Star Emerges
The Oilers knew that they had a future star on their hands, but no one saw the meteoric rise that was about to come. Draisaitl played in 72 games with the Oilers in 2015-16, totaling just 51 points.
The next season, Draisaitl played in all 82 games and increased his scoring to 77 points. His point total dropped to just 70 points in 2017-18, and the word “disappointment” started to get brought up by some Oilers fans.
Despite having some huge moments in the playoffs, it appeared that his career was at a crossroads, and it was time for Draisaitl to prove himself.
The 2018-19 season with the Oilers was a coming-out party for Draisaitl and his team, as he became one of the most feared offensive players in the NHL. Draisaitl played in all 82 games that season, totaling 50 goals and 55 assists.
He was named to the NHL All-Star Game during the 2018-19 season and won the “Premier Passer” award at the event. During the season, Draisaitl became just the sixth Oiler to score at least 50 goals in one season and just the ninth Oilers player to record at least 100 points.
If the 2018-19 season was a coming-out party for Draisaitl, then the 2019-20 season is his coronation. Draisaitl was the quickest player to 100 points this year, and there is a great chance that he can record over 120 points on the season.
The Oilers have split up himself and Connor McDavid, and it has turned their offense into one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
Draisaitl recently scored four goals in a game against the Nashville Predators and notched an assist in that game as well. With those four goals, Draisaitl became just the fourth player in Oilers history to have back-to-back 40 goal seasons.
He has the Edmonton Oilers near the top of the Western Conference, and there is a chance that his name could be on the Hart Memorial Trophy at the end of this season.
Draisaitl appeared to be destined to be a hockey player at birth, and he is fulfilling his destiny on the game’s biggest stage.