The Edmonton Oilers are pretty well represented on the NHL Network’s Top 20 Centres list, with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl both making the cut.
McDavid was named the NHL’s top centre heading into this season, while Draisaitl comes in at #15 on the list. The 20-year-old Oilers captain even beat out Sidney Crosby, who ranked #2 on the list.
Only three other teams (Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Washington) had more than one centre appear on the list (Crosby and Malkin, Carter and Kopitar, Backstrom and Kuznetsov).
McDavid and Drasaitl both had outstanding career years that led them to become the NHL’s deadliest duo. The two combined for a league-leading 177 points. While both players finished in the NHL’s top 10 for scoring, it was McDavid who captured the Art Ross with 100 points.
Though Draisaitl mainly played on the wing with McDavid, he impressed and led the Oilers with 16 points through 13 playoff games, and appears ready to centre his own line this season.
Edmonton locked up both McDavid and Draisatil to long-term deals this offseason. McDavid will become the league’s highest-paid player, making $100 million over eight years following 2017-18. Draisaitl, who was a restricted free agent, will be making $8.5 per year on an eight-year deal.
This year, McDavid and Draisaitl could continue to see ice time together, considering Edmonton lacks some depth on the right side. Still, if they end up picking up another winger, or if players like Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto step up, Drasiaitl will get the chance to show what he can do on his own line.
Overall, it is great to see the Oilers garnering significant praise and attention from the league. They have struggled over these last seasons, but with Peter Chiarelli taking over and McDavid and Draisaitl leading the charge, things are looking up for the Oilers this year. In fact, they are facing 12-to-1 odds to take home the Cup this year.