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The Two-Way Play of Leon Draisaitl: a Defensive Game-Changer

The two-way play of Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl has lead to him being a pain in the sides of opposition on both ends of ice.

Leon Draisaitl is often known for his deadly one-timers on the Edmonton Oilers powerplay, but another area where he truly shines is on the backcheck. While he takes criticism for the times he chooses to give his all on defense, each year, he has become a more well-rounded and complete player. He limits high-danger chances and makes it difficult for the other team to make passes. Slowly but surely, his efforts on the defensive side are being appreciated and hailed for the impact they make on the game.

Throughout Round One, Draisaitl continued to make life hard on the Los Angeles Kings with his offensive game. He put up five goals and five assists, combining for 10 points in five games. Obviously, his offensive talent makes an impact. But remarkably, on average per 60 minutes, only 4.74 high-danger shot attempts were made when Draisaitl was on the ice. Even more importantly, during the regular season, per 60 minutes, only 3.22 high-danger shots against were attempted while he was on the ice. Draisaitl limits the opposition’s chances in the defensive zone while burying the hatchet in the offensive zone. 

How does Leon Draisaitl Limit Shot Attempts Against?

During the regular season, Draisaitl posted a remarkable 82 takeaways. In a fast-paced game where possession is key, holding the ability to pickpocket the opponent is vital. He also contributes defensively by being in the right position.

Leon Draisaitl Edmonton Oilers defensive game

By simply using his body to cover a man, he makes it difficult for the other team to make clean passes. Furthermore, Draisaitl doesn’t just limit high-danger shot attempts; he limits all shot attempts. Throughout the regular season, per 60 minutes, only 48.53 shot attempts against were made with Draisaitl on the ice. His hockey IQ and positioning lead to him being a pain on every opponent’s side and limiting the shots against.

Draisaitl’s on-ice dominance is compiled of being a complete two-way player. While his offensive prowess far outweighs his defensive game, both are indispensable when it comes to Draisaitl’s dominance. He overwhelms the competition by being a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the ice. It is obvious that Draisaitl’s game isn’t just offensively talented but defensively as well. 

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