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Draisaitl Leads NHL Scoring Race, But McDavid Still Odds-On Favorite to Win Art Ross Trophy

Leon Draisaitl
Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl currently leads the NHL in scoring with 83 points in 52 games. Photo by IQRemix (Wiki Commons)
  • Edmonton Oilers pair front what is seemingly a two-horse race for the 2020 Art Ross Trophy
  • Two-time winner Connor McDavid is favored at -140, but teammate Leon Draisaitl isn’t far behind at +125 and currently leads the league in scoring
  • Draisaitl has been on a tear of late, recording five straight multi-point games and an 11-game point streak

When it comes to picking a winner for this year’s Art Ross Trophy, it really is a toss-the-coin situation. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl make up the two-headed monster that is the Edmonton Oilers right now, and with just a four-point gap between them in the scoring race, either could ultimately win the trophy.

The 2020 Art Ross Trophy odds certainly reflect that thin margin, with McDavid favored at -140, but with NHL scoring leader Draisaitl trailing at +125. Just one month ago, McDavid was at -275 with Draisaitl at +275, but the German forward’s scoring binge of late has narrowed the gap.

2020 Art Ross Trophy Odds

Player Odds at BetOnline
Connor McDavid -140
Leon Draisaitl +125
David Pastrnak +1200
Nathan MacKinnon +1600
Artemi Panarin +3300
Brad Marchand +5000
Alex Barkov +10000
Alex Ovechkin +10000
Auston Matthews +10000
Jack Eichel +10000
Jonathan Huberdeau +10000
Mark Scheifele +10000
Nikita Kucherov +10000
Patrick Kane +10000
Steven Stamkos +10000

Odds taken on Feb. 4

Draisaitl Coming on Strong

In his sixth NHL season, the 24-year-old Draisaitl is helping transform the Oilers from simply McDavid and Co. into a more balanced squad that is contending for the playoffs after being frozen out of the promised land in 13 of the last 14 seasons.

Named NHL Player of the Week, the German overhauled McDavid in the scoring race with two goals in a 4-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues last Friday and hit the 80-point mark with four assists in Saturday’s 8-3 win over the Calgary Flames in a Battle of Alberta rematch. In doing so, he became the fastest Oilers player to reach the 80-point plateau since Mark Messier did it in 50 games in the 1989-90 season.

In addition, his string of five straight multi-point games is the second-longest of his career.

Can He Keep It Up?

That is the big question now. While he undoubtedly looks in fine form, he cannot afford to take a night off with McDavid breathing down his neck. With 30 Oilers games left to play, he has picked the right time to get hot, scoring 20 points in his last nine outings.

Draisaitl has been remarkably durable during his NHL career, too, with just one trip to the disabled list following an eye injury in 2017 that caused him to miss a few games. Other than that, he has twice played the full 82-game season and looks set to do so again, almost certainly overhauling his career-best 105-point campaign from a year ago in the process.

Can Connor Catch Him?

While Draisaitl may be enjoying a purple patch at the right time, if there is one player in the NHL who can get hot in a hurry it is McDavid. After all, he began the season with 12 points in five games, and then there was the three-game stretch in mid-November where he put up 12 points as well.

Much like Draisaitl, McDavid has been fairly fortunate in terms of injuries so far, with just the broken clavicle in his rookie season and the torn knee ligament that cost him the last four games of the 2018-19 season. So we can expect McDavid to be out there night after night challenging for the scoring title.

Drawing the Lines

What might go against McDavid is that the Oilers’ current hot streak, where they have gone 8-1-2 in their last 11 games, has been largely attributed to splitting up the two superstars.

The scoring machines had largely been working their magic playing together, either on a regular line or on the power play, and there was a school of thought that Draisaitl wouldn’t be as effective when playing without McDavid. But since the Oilers brought Kailer Yamamoto up from the AHL to play Draisaitl’s right-wing for New Year’s Eve game against the New York Rangers, Edmonton has been able to roll out two efficient scoring lines and the results have been there for all to see.

Since that time, Draisaitl has the scoring edge, 22-16, having scored in all 11 games so far. If that team success keeps up, with the Oilers winning while splitting their two superstars, it could go either way for the pair. On one hand, outside of seeing ice time together on the power play, one won’t likely factor on the other’s goals, but on the other hand, Draisaitl seems to be flourishing playing away from McDavid.

Pick: Draisaitl +125

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