There is usually a fair amount of bias when selecting NHL players for top draft picks. A lot of the time, General Managers will stray away from players who come from countries that don’t normally produce franchise superstars. However, this was not the case when former Edmonton Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish selected German native Leon Draisaitl at third-overall in the 2014 NHL draft. Draisaitl became the highest drafted German born player in the league’s history according to Quant Hockey.
Although MacTavish faced backlash from hockey critics and even Oilers fans themselves for picking Draisaitl over the Canadian born Sam Bennett who was receiving much more praise leading up to the draft. The risk that MacTavish took paid off as Draisaitl has evolved into one of the league’s best goal scorers and point producers. While on the other hand, Bennett, who was selected at fourth-overall by the Calgary Flames, hasn’t even notched a 40 point season yet.
After an assist in Saturday night’s 3-2 overtime victory against the Arizona Coyotes, Draisaitl now has 90 points on the season. This is an incredible milestone for German hockey as the 23-year-old is now the first German born player to reach the 90 tally plateau according to Quant Hockey. In addition, at the moment, Draisaitl also ranks second in the league in goals with 42 and sixth in the league in points.
However, his 90 points this year cannot overshadow his point consistency throughout his career. In his previous two seasons, Draisaitl finished with an impressive 70 points in 78 games and 77 tallies in 82 contests.
With the 2014 NHL draft approaching its five-year anniversary, Draisaitl could well be the best player of his draft class thus far. Not only is he the first player in his draft year to put up a 90 point season, he’s also the only player so far to have three straight seasons with at least 70 points. The only two players from the 2014 draft to come close to Draisaitl’s numbers are twenty-fifth-overall pick David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins and third-round selection Brayden Point of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Pastrnak has registered 80 points and 70 points his last two seasons and currently has 66 points so far this year. While Point recorded 66 tallies last season and is right now just behind Draisaitl with 87 points so far this year.
On top of that, Draisaitl also has the most career points of anyone else in the 2014 draft. Right now, Draisaitl has 297 points in 340 games. The next two players on the list are Pastrnak with 269 tallies in 310 contests and Dylan Larkin of the Detroit Red Wings with 202 points in 308 games.
The Oilers’ next game with be on the road against the Las Vegas Golden Knights on Sunday evening. With 11 games left in the 2018-2019 season for the Oilers, Draisaitl could take his record-setting year to the next level by becoming the first German born player to reach the 100 point mark.