Final season, Leon Draisaitl received the NHL’s high three particular person awards. The one factor left for him to realize is probably the most troublesome: to win the Stanley Cup. By his personal account, Leon Draisaitl is any person “who would not wish to look again an excessive amount of.”
Maybe this has one thing to do with the truth that he’s nonetheless simply 25 – or perhaps the truth that but once more in 2019-20, his Edmonton Oilers, lengthy seen because the staff of the long run, didn’t get anyplace close to the Stanley Cup. When the Nationwide Hockey League (NHL) accomplished its COVID-19-disrupted season final summer season, the Oilers had been upset three video games to 1 by Chicago within the playoff-qualifying spherical.
Alternatively, maybe it has merely been simpler for Draisaitl to look forward – to a brand new yr and a contemporary NHL season. On the similar time, although, 2020 was on no account simply one other yr for the Cologne native. A hat trick of particular person awards
“After all, I am pleased with what I’ve achieved, very joyful about profitable the awards,” Draisaitl advised DW, referring to the Art Ross Trophy as top scorer, the Hart Memorial Trophy as most valuable player (chosen by members of the Skilled Hockey Writers’ Affiliation), and the Ted Lindsay Award (chosen by members of the NHL Gamers‘ Affiliation), that he received final season.
Profitable these awards elevated him to a distinct stage on either side of the Atlantic. The truth that the footballing nation of Germany selected a hockey participant as its “Male Athlete of the Yr” did not go unnoticed in Canada, the birthplace of the sport. This award particularly has made Draisaitl a family title in his personal nation – not solely amongst hockey followers.
Nonetheless, to grasp the importance of profitable this hat trick of Artwork Ross, Hart and Ted Lindsay trophies, you must contemplate that Draisaitl was simply the 11th participant to take action because the NHL was established in 1917. His predecessors had been six Canadians, two Russians, a Czech and an American – all gamers from established hockey-playing nations.
Draisaitl, then again, first took to the ice within the lowest age group of the Cologne Sharks youth program – in a rustic that has simply 20,000 registered gamers amongst a inhabitants of 82 million. Largely as a result of he’s a hockey participant and never a soccer participant, till now, he has principally been in a position to go about his day-to-day enterprise in anonymity – even in his hometown. However now, “increasingly more folks acknowledge me,” he stated.
Draisaitl spent a lot of the NHL’s offseason in Cologne final autumn, with a view to elevating his profile. A number of tv interviews and huge spreads in the entire main German every day papers helped introduce a nonetheless largely unknown famous person to the nation‘s sports activities followers.
In Germany, Draisaitl has typically been in comparison with Dirk Nowitzki. The previous Dallas Mavericks energy ahead was the unofficial ambassador of basketball in Germany for twenty years. Nowitzki led the Mavs to an NBA title in 2011, when he was additionally named the MVP of the playoffs – and was named Male Athlete of the Yr again house.
Out from below Nowitzki’s shadow
When Draisaitl first made it to the NHL, the German media typically described him because the “Nowitzki of ice hockey,” and he has typically stated that he wish to do for hockey in Germany what Nowitzki did for basketball. However at 25, Draisaitl has already achieved the equal of every little thing Nowitzki did by way of particular person awards. Nowitzki was 28 when he was named the NBA’s MVP award and 33 when he was named Germany’s Male Athlete of the Yr.
Draisaitl remains to be flattered by comparisons with one in all Germany’s greatest-ever athletes, however having change into the NHL’s high scorer with 110 factors (43 objectives, 67 assists) in 2019-20, he has now established himself as a famous person in his personal proper. “I hope folks understand that I am merely not Dirk Nowitzki, I am Leon Draisaitl,” he stated.
Two playoff appearances in six seasons
The one factor the Nowitzki achieved that Draisaitl hasn’t is to win a championship. And significantly since profitable these three particular person awards, Draisaitl has made no secret about the truth that profitable a Stanley Cup is his final purpose – as it’s for each participant who makes it to the NHL.
To win the Cup, although, you first need to make the playoffs, and that is been an issue for the Oilers in recent times. Since arriving in Edmonton in 2014, Draisaitl has solely been to the playoffs twice. And that is even though the Oilers have one other famous person of their lineup, Connor McDavid. However as ESPN hockey author Greg Wyshynski put it in his Oilers’ season preview, “two elite gamers doesn’t a championship roster make.”
Reunion with an previous good friend
“I believe we have made some good additions, so we’ll have extra depth,” Draisaitl stated looking forward to the 2020-21 marketing campaign, which the Oilers are to open at house to Vancouver on Wednesday. Among the many new faces within the Oilers dressing room is Dominik Kahun, whom Draisaitl is aware of not solely from the German nationwide staff. Years in the past, the 2 tore up the under-16 Bundesliga as a part of the Adler Mannheim youth program. Draisaitl scored 192 factors in 29 video games within the 2010-11 season, whereas Kahun, not precisely often called a scorer since making it to the NHL, managed 206 factors in 30 video games.
“These had been totally different instances. Dominik and I had been very dominant again then, and the numbers mirror that,” Draisaitl stated. In preseason, Oilers head coach Dave Tippett has had Kahun taking part in on Draisaitl’s line. Draisaitl hopes the 2 can rekindle the chemistry they’d in Mannheim a decade in the past. However when reflecting on that season, the “man who would not wish to look again” was fast to minimize expectations. “After all, we can’t have a 200-point season. I believe everybody is aware of that, although.”