Wrong for Athletic Matthews to snub Draisaitl

Leon Drysaitl Once again an overlooked great player. That could be for a number of reasons, but one could be that he’s been overshadowed by the best player in the world in Connor McDavid. By comparison, in today’s NHL, like Draisitol Auston MatthewsExcept that arguably had a more impressive career up to this point. athletic Put the stats in a piece called “NHL99: A Project Ranking the Greatest Players in Modern NHL History” and put Matthews far above Draisaitl, who didn’t even crack the top 100 (“From NHL99: A Project Ranking the Greatest Players in Modern NHL History”, athleticJanuary 19, 2023).

The numbers don’t lie when comparing Draisaitl and Matthews

Drasaitl was drafted two years earlier than Matthews, but spent half of his post-draft years in the American Hockey League (AHL). That’s right, since players develop at different rates. But at 27 and 25, I’d argue that’s a good age to compare both players and judge where they’ll finish all-time.

Related: The Oilers are headed in the right direction in Year 8 of Connor McDavid


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Matthews had a hot start to his career, but where it stands over the past five years, Draisaitl has the upper hand. Whether you consider Draisaitl or Matthews the better player, the difference in rank is absurd given how close their career numbers are.

  • Draisaitl has three 100-point seasons while Matthews has one.
  • Draisaitl has two 50-goal seasons and Matthews has one.
  • Draisaitl has an Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award while Matthews has a Calder Trophy, Hart Trophy, Ted Lindsay Award and two Rocket Richard Trophies.
  • Draisaitl has a career points-per-game rate of 1.14 and Matthews has 1.12.
Leon Draisaitl Edmonton Oilers
Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Curtis Comeau/ICON Sportswear via Getty Images)

When it comes to playoff success, team or individual, Draisaitl beats Matthews by a mile. Matthews routinely disappears when it comes to the playoffs while Draisaitl has had two incredible performances. His most recent one was on foot.

  • Draisaitl’s career playoff points-per-game rate is 1.59 and Matthews’ 0.84.
  • Draisaitl and the Oilers have won three playoff series since he arrived while Matthews and the Maple Leafs have won zero. The Oilers have qualified for the playoffs just four times in that span while the Maple Leafs have had six chances to win.
  • Draisaitl and Matthews played about the same number of playoff games, so it’s an easy comparison. Draisaitl has 18 goals and 59 points in 37 playoff games and Matthews has 17 goals and 33 points in 39 playoff games.

Let’s take a look at this season. Nothing has changed in Matthews’ top line of play with high-level talent. His line struggled to the point where personnel had to be shuffled around. He may have won the Rocket Richard Trophy, but he’s sitting Tied for 17th this season With 22 goals in 43 matches. Draisaitl, on the other hand, is ninth with 26 goals, as he sits behind McDavid who leads the league with 38.

Auston Matthews Toronto Maple Leafs
Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Drysitol production did not decrease In total, he already has 70 points in 44 games and is on pace for a career-high 127 points. Matthews is scoring just under his career goals-per-game rate of 0.63 and has scored quite a bit offensively compared to his previous season. He is averaging 0.51 goals per game and is on pace for 40 goals and 91 points. Draisaitl is on the pace with 47, but both have proven they can go on incredible scoring runs.

What were they thinking?

Draisaitl didn’t play with McDavid on the top line as much as he usually does. He has had a lot of success in his line this season. The power play is a big factor in how Driesitol scores a ton of points. But he can be given a lot of credit for that too. He constantly practices shooting one-timers from ridiculous angles to make it very difficult for opposing goalkeepers to save. Also when he’s not in place, he’s hovering in front of the net for a tip or tap-in.

Dryasitol is Considered as the best traveler In the game, forehand and backhand, even more than McDavid. While Matthews’ shooting ability may be the best in the league (with the exception of slapshots), his passing ability is nowhere near Draisaitl’s. Matthews’ defensive prowess often shined, but Draisaitl overlooked his own finish and penalty kill.

Of course, this debate between Draisaitl and Matthews won’t be settled for a long time, if ever, considering each player has some number and award leverage. But I believe everyone deserves to be in the top-100 Athletics Considering that the list was voted on before the 2022 playoffs, according to the rankings article, Draisaitl still had a lot to accomplish at that point and a rookie bias was involved. It’s become a trend to overlook a player of Draisaitl’s caliber to this extent when he’s been as consistent as anyone in the NHL.




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