Oilers assistant coach Glen Gulutzan sees two different players in Leon Draisaitl depending on how he’s being used.
When Draisaitl plays centre, Gulutzan likens him to former Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk or Kings captain Anze Kopitar — two-way forces and Selke Trophy winners for their defensive prowess in their primes.
When Draisaitl is next to Connor McDavid, Gulutzan views him as a pure sniper.
“When he’s on the wing, he’s Ovie,” said the coach, referring to Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, one of the greatest goal-scorers of all time.
It’s still early — he’s not even halfway there — but Draisaitl is tracking to do something Ovechkin has never done in his illustrious career as this generation’s greatest marksman.
The potential feat? Netting 50 goals in 50 games, one of the NHL’s hardest-to-reach and most respected offensive achievements.
Moved back to McDavid’s left side Wednesday, Draisaitl scored twice in Edmonton’s 5-3 win over the lowly Coyotes to bump his goal total to 20 in 19 games.
“It’s a little, I don’t know, crazy to think I’m going to score 50 goals in 50 games,” Draisaitl said. “Right now, pucks are going in for me.
“This is a tough league to score in. I don’t expect to hit that stat at all. You’re going to keep shooting. If they go in, great. I know there’s going to come times where they’re probably not going to go in.”
Draisaitl could well be right. We’ll see. He’s almost a quarter of the way to having one of the greatest goal-scoring seasons ever.