There were other times, but given these numbers, it is questionable whether it is appropriate for someone to be compared to Gretzky, who does not come close to these spheres and will probably not come. But if one interprets the term German Gretzky to the effect that Draisaitl for German ice hockey means and will mean what was once Gretzky for the Canadian, then it is increasingly gaining its full justification. There are even many talents in Canada who have done great things in hockey in the NHL, but it was unthinkable until a few years ago that a German would ever be considered the best NHL player. And right now completely.
Draisaitl has already found his place in the Oilers history books since he scored the last goal in the old arena, Rexall Place, in April 2016 in front of many former stars of Edmonton, such as Gretzky and Mark Messier, and congratulated them afterwards , "That was amazing, shaking their hands is the coolest thing I've ever experienced," enthused Draisaitl.
Video: EDM @ PIT: Draisaitl runs all of them and meets in OT
Draisaitl's next milestone came when he scored 50 goals last season and was only the fifth Oilers player in history to be the first to win – Gretzky and Jari Kurri in the 1986/87 season.
No wonder that even a Gretzky into raptures about the Germans and his storm partner Connor McDavid device. "Mark and I have never looked at each other in such a way that we would have expected the other to do this or that," 'The Great One' recently said to himself and Messier. "We only knew our roles and what we have to bring to the ice hockey club and have pushed ourselves into this and have achieved more for the group."
"You can see it now with both of them," Gretzky went on about Draisaitl and McDavid. They are very selfless to each other, they have no egos and as important as Connor is for Leon, so it is Leon for Connor – much of what Mark and I were. "
Such quotes by Gretzky are, of course, an accolade for Draisaitl, but he himself builds enough of his status. It's important to remember that last season he was the only player in the NHL with 50 goals and at least 100 points (105) at the same time. Draisaitl was second behind Alex Ovechkin in the matches and fourth in the points behind Nikita Kucherov, McDavid and Kane. This suggests that he was at least the most complete player of the NHL as a goalkeeper and scorer and it may still be.
Draisaitl scored in the match against the New Jersey Devils (final score 4: 0) on Friday in the 22nd Minute and climbed in the season in the 18th season game as second player after David Pastrnak from the Boston Bruins the 30-point mark. He became the fifth player in franchise history and the first in 20 years to score so many goals in the first 18 games of the season (Gretzky 5x, Jarri Kurri 2x, Glenn Anderson 1x and Alexander Selivanov 1x).
And again Gretzky must not be missing: Draisaitl is the first Edmonton player, who was able to accomplish 30 points in 18 or fewer games since Gretzky in the 1987/88 season (10 goals, 23 assists, 33 points in 13 games). Although it is clear that the numbers of Canadians are more impressive in comparison, this must not detract from Draisaitl's performance in any way and makes it clear that the nickname he once received becomes more and more reality, albeit in smaller dimensions.
"They play a completely different game," said Gretzky. "Nobody plays like Connor, he's got a speed no one else can ever do, maybe even ever, his game is only north-south, Leon is going fast, like it Patrick Kane power. But there is one thing to take out of the game. It's another thing to get the other guys out of the way Kane does. Leon spreads his legs and brakes all and Connor goes in like a locomotive and gives full throttle. "
But both have one thing in common, which also distinguished Gretzky and Messier: the absolute will to win. At the moment this works quite well, unlike in the two previous years. The Oilers lead the Pacific Division with 24 points, a position they would like to defend and, after two years of failure, want to retake the Stanley Cup playoffs. Because all records and brilliant achievements will eventually fade, if in the end not around the big goal, the Stanley Cup, is played. Just like Gretzky and Messier did several times. Draisaitl and Mc David have something to look forward to here.