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BLOG: Draisaitl's emphasis on shooting paying dividends

The German has put a bigger onus on himself to shoot this season, setting a new career high in goals in the process and now sitting third in the NHL with 32 tallies

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Known to many including himself as being more of a passer than a sniper, Leon Draisaitl's electing to shoot the pill more often.

The benefits have arrived in bunches, with the German now sitting third in the NHL for goals with 32 and surpassing his career high of 30 from 2016-17 with 28 games still left on the schedule.

"I knew that I could score goals. I've scored before, but I'm more of a passer than anything probably," Draisaitl said Friday. "I try to be unpredictable and shoot more using my shot to my advantage, and it's been working."

The 23-year-old has found the back of the net eight times in his last six contests, and his 11 goals since the New Year is second only behind San Jose's Evander Kane.

In addition to Connor McDavid, the Oilers are the only club in the NHL with two 30-goal scorers.

Video: RAW | Leon Draisaitl 02.08.19

"The guys that have been setting me up pretty nicely here lately," he continued. "There's not much else to it. Some really nice plays by those guys and I'm just trying to convert off them."

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who's had the chance to watch the entirety of Draisaitl's four-and-a-half seasons as an Oiler, said the onus on the Cologne, Germany native to shoot more this campaign hasn't come as a shock.

"Surprise maybe not so much, but it's definitely impressive," Nugent-Hopkins said when asked if his counterpart's scoring rate has come as a surprise. "I know most people see him as a 'pass first' kind of playmaker, but he also does have a good shot. I think this year he's finding ways to get that off in the right spots and it's paying off."

Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock attests to the German's ability to hide in plain sight as his most valuable on-ice quality as a shooter, keeping out of sight from opposing players before striking at opportune moments.

"The best way to describe it is that he has a great ability of hiding outside coverage. He is able to hide in quiet spaces on the ice where guys are caught staring at the puck, then he's wide open," Hitchcock said. "He finds quiet spots in the offensive zone that are really important.

"To me, you can practice that and teach that your whole life, but guys don't get it. He knows where to go and he knows where people are in proper positions and spots, then he handles it from there. It's a very unique quality."

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