Oilers' Draisaitl: 'I haven't really been happy with the way I've been playing'
Edmonton Oilers superstar Leon Draisaitl might be the only person in the world who isn't impressed by his performance this season.
"Yeah, it's been a funny year for me personally, to be honest. I haven't really been happy with the way I've been playing necessarily," Draisaitl said during media day ahead of the 2023 All-Star Game.
"Obviously, the statistics would probably tell you otherwise," he added with a laugh. "I think there's another level to the way that I just want to play, not about statistics or goals, assists, or whatever it is."
Draisaitl has 76 points in 48 games this campaign, putting him at a 130-point pace over 82 contests. He's well on his way to surpassing his previous career high of 110 points, which he set in 2019-20 and 2021-22.
Right now, he'd be the leading point-getter on every team in the league except his own due to Connor McDavid's 92 points in 50 matchups.
As for how he can get to a new level? Draisaitl said it's all mental.
"Myself, my mind, my ability to just play and not overthink and just go out and do what I do best," he said. "That's a lot of times easier said than done, but that's what's going to make me successful."
Before the puck dropped on the 2022-23 campaign, Draisaitl said the high ankle sprain he suffered in the playoffs during the Oilers' run to the Western Conference Final actually "evolved" his game.
"It kind of showed me that there's a way that I can become better, in a way, with doing almost less. ... When you're healthy, you try and play your best, you try and play with speed, you try and play fast," he said in August during an appearance on Sportsnet's "32 Thoughts: The Podcast."
"I didn't have that to my game, so I tried to find a way to be productive in a different way. I thought I did a pretty good job of that."
Draisaitl wasn't the only Oiler who made eyebrow-raising comments regarding his own performance on Thursday.
"I've never been an elite goal-scorer," McDavid told reporters in Florida. "I always create chances, and I've always gotten chances, but for some reason, this year, it's going in."
McDavid has hit the 40-goal mark four times in his career (including this season), and his 280 tallies since entering the league in 2015-16 are the fourth-most in the NHL in that span.
Edmonton has won seven out of its last 10 games, and the team currently holds the first wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a 28-18-4 record.