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BLOG: Draisaitl paving own path

Talk on Thursday shifted from Connor McDavid to Leon Draisaitl as the Oilers forward continued his mastery over the Ducks this season

by Marc Ciampa /

Heading into this second-round series, there was all sorts of talk regarding the matchup of Connor McDavid versus Ryan Kesler and while that was a key storyline on Wednesday night, Leon Draisaitl flew under the radar as he has all season against Anaheim. 

Draisiatl has played six games against the Ducks this season and he has seven goals and five assists for 12 points, including at least one goal in every single game. 

Oilers head coach Todd McLellan was asked whether Draisaitl flourishes the role of being "under the radar" so to speak. 

"If I answered that question and said yes he does, that would demean his approach to the game. He doesn't mind stepping up and putting himself out there. The fact is that Connor does get most of the shadowing and checking and that type of stuff and in turn that leaves Leon open. He has that ability and broad shoulders to accept that role"

Draisaitl agreed with his coach. 

"The attention is on (McDavid) and rightfully so. He's the best player in the world. For me, whether it's 10 guys asking me questions or two it doesn't matter," he said, adding that he's really enjoying his time in the playoffs right now. 

"It's a dream. I think every hockey player dreams of playing in the NHL and dreams of playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It wasn't any different for me. So far it's been a lot of fun."

McLellan also talked about Draisaitl's German roots but he was quick to point out how his father Peter Draisaitl, originally from Czechoslovakia, played hockey as well so Leon's passion for the game shouldn't be surprising one bit. 

"We talk about the country, I think more of the family. Hockey is in his blood over there. His father played. Canada is a hockey country but if you grew up in a basketball family, you're probably passionate about it," McLellan stated. 

"He had to find the right path to grow his skills. He chose to come over and play major junior. He was challenged. He was pushed. The most important thing for him is he accepted that challenge."

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