EDMONTON, ALBERTA CANADA—Don’t be fooled by the title! Leon Draisaitl, 21, has not been jailed. The Cologne, Germany-born center (who was a restricted free agent) closed an eight-year extension with the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesay, August 16. He will be paid an average of $8.5 million per season until 2024-2025.
This past season, Draisaitl broke personal records in eight different categories: 29 goals and 48 assists for a career-peaking 77 points, 10 power play goals, 27 power play points, five game-winning goals, three overtime goals, and a plus-7 rating. He also had 20 penalty minutes. In Edmonton’s playoff run, he appeared in all 13 games and posted 16 points (six goals and 10 assists), a plus-8 rating, and 19 penalty minutes before the team was knocked out by the Anaheim Ducks. Draisaitl trailed Edmonton’s captain, the number one-ranked Connor McDavid, in goals, assists, and points. McDavid, who also signed an eight-year deal last month, exceeded the NHL in points with 100 (30 goals and 70 assists) in all 82 games.
The thought of departing Edmonton was not even on the 6 foot and 1 inch tall, 216 pound forward’s radar, he told reporters.
“I think we have a great group of guys and we’re building something special,” said Draisaitl.
He also spoke fondly of 20 year-old McDavid who, in addition to topping the league in points, was the winner of the Art Ross Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award, and the Hart Memorial Trophy.
“Connor is undoubtedly the leader of our group and if I can help in any way, I’ll do that. I think we as a whole group, not only Connor and myself, we’re ready to take the next steps. I think we enjoy playing with each other, we like being around each other, so I’m very excited to be back.”
Could Draisaitl and McDavid be the NHL’s next dynamic duo? They just might.
Before his professional stint, Draisaitl played for Jungadler Mannheim U18 of the Deutsche Nachwuchsliga (German Development League) and the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL. During the 2014-2015 season, he made his NHL debut with Edmonton while also playing for the Kelowna Rockets (WHL). The following season (2015-2016), he played six games with the Bakersfield Condors (Edmonton’s AHL affiliate) in addition to 72 with the Oilers. He was selected by the team as the third overall pick in 2014.