Edmonton Oilers

The historic pace of Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs

As the Edmonton Oilers battle and fight their way through the Stanley Cup Playoffs, currently trying to solve the Vegas Golden Knights, they are looking up and down their roster for players to step up, take charge, and carry the team on a deep run.

Two players stand out for their incredible performances thus far in the 2023 Playoffs. Leon Draisaitl and Evan Bouchard. Both players are playing some of the best hockey of their careers and are finding themselves adding their names to the record books with historic paces to their play.

Unfortunately, it cannot last forever and others will have to step up when the regression happens. But while Bouchard and Draisaitl are on fire, let’s look at what they have accomplished through the first ten games of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Bouchard leading the Oilers power play to an incredible success rate

Back at the trade deadline, when the Oilers sent Tyson Barrie to the Nashville Predators, some wondered how the team’s power play would be affected. Turns out, the difference is negligible. And so far in the playoffs, the already historically dominant power play is somehow even better than it was before—Bouchard is a huge contributing factor.

After ten games, the Oilers’ power play is converting at a 45.5% rate, scoring 15 goals on 33 power play attempts. Bouchard has a point on 13 of them.

Overall, he has 15 points in the postseason. But those 13 power play points have shown that he is more than capable of quarterbacking the Oilers’ incredible power play.

His breakout performance is also getting his name in the record books. Bouchard’s eight-game point streak to start the playoffs is the eighth longest by a defender in NHL history. His 14 points in the first eight games of a single postseason is tied for third all-time amongst defenders. He finds himself behind only Denis Potvin and Paul Coffey.

This is the best stretch of hockey that Bouchard has played in his career. He is showing the reason why the Oilers drafted him 10th overall back in 2018, for his offensive touch from the blue line. Now that he has a stable presence in Mattias Ekholm beside him at even strength, his game has flourished.

Draisaitl on pace to smash playoff goals record

The all-time record for most goals by a single player in one postseason is 19, set by Reggie Leach and Jari Kurri. Through ten games, Draisaitl already has 13 goals. If the Oilers make it to the third round, there is a real possibility he can break this record without even playing a game in the Stanley Cup Final.

In total, he has 18 points in those ten games. The 1.8 points per game scoring rate is in the top-30 amongst players with more than seven games played in a single playoff season.

Not only is Draisaitl hitting some all-time record levels this year, but he has historically been a playoff performer for the Oilers. Along with having the second highest points per game pace in the playoffs of all-time (minimum 25 games), behind only Wayne Gretzky, he became the third fastest of all-time to reach 75 career playoff points, behind only the Great One and Mario Lemieux.

With the incredible performances by Bouchard and Draisaitl in the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Oilers have been able to score nearly four goals per game. But moving forward, they will need some more of their scoring depth to step up and provide some support, since these two cannot do it all.

Additionally, the defence, goaltending, and penalty kill will need to be better to help the Oilers win the games in which they don’t score five goals.

How many points do you think Bouchard ends up with this postseason? How many goals will Draisaitl get? Drop a comment down below!

Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire

Sean Laycock

Sean is a stubborn, lifelong Oilers fan who lives by the motto "There is always next year".

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