By The Numbers: Draisaitl vs Matthews

By JD Lagrange – It doesn’t take much for the never-ending rivalry between Toronto and Montreal, whether it’s about politics or hockey, to be fuelled. When it comes to their NHL team, we’re likely talking about the two biggest fanbases in the league and with it, come more opinions and, let’s call a spade a spade, stupid and trolling comments.

To make matters worse, the three major anglophone media outlets covering hockey – TSN, Sportsnet and CBC – are all based in… Toronto. And boy do their lean heavily on the Maple Leafs. That in itself is enough to make the Leafs the most hated team by rival Canadian fanbases.

One of the biggest proof of this one-sided bias is the push to try to make of Auston Matthews the best player on all Canadian teams. Few outside Toronto (or their fanbase) think that, but they sure try to convince us otherwise, don’t they? Just in Edmonton alone, there are two players not getting anywhere close to the credit they deserve. One of these players is miles ahead of Matthews. His name? You might have heard of a guy named Connor McDavid. Then, the Oilers line-up the equivalent of Matthews in Leon Draisaitl.

With Edmonton’s playoffs’ push, many fans out East are finally noticing Edmonton’s two-headed monster. This further exposes the media’s bias towards the Leafs’ player. Oh don’t get me wrong, he’s an excellent goals’ scorer. But he’s nowhere in the category of McDavid. You want to compare Toronto’s jewel to someone and make a fair comparison. Look no further than Draisaitl.

Last season

We will compare the two players in three parts, to be fair. First, let’s look at what both Draisaitl and Matthews have done this past season.

208 lbsWEIGHT205 lbs
3rd overall 2014DRAFT1st overall 2016
3:50PP TOI/GP3:06
0:57SH TOI/GP0:04
885FO WON691
53.3FO %56.2
$8.5MCAP HIT$11.64

For those who claim that Draisaitl benefits from playing with McDavid, the following should be an eye opener and completely destroys that theory. Here are the percentages of ice time at even strength for both players:

  • This season, Matthews has spent 60.5% of the time with Mitch Marner on his line.
  • On the other hand, Draisaitl has played only 24% of the time with Connor McDavid.

Last three years

One season doesn’t make a career, right? Let’s move on to the second level of comparison. Here are the two players’ regular season’s stats for the past three seasons combined.

3:57PP TOI/GP3:10
0:50SH TOI/GP0:05
2,120FO WON1,647
53.5FO %54.6


Now if you add the playoffs, the third and last part of the comparison, the gap gets even deeper in favour of Draisaitl.

4:01PP TOI/GP3:18
0:37SH TOI/GP0:02
285FO WON335
48.8FO %53.3

Prior to tonight’s game five against the Calgary Flames, the Oilers have played 11 games. McDavid leads the playoffs with 25 points, followed by Draisaitl with 22. The next player (Evander Kane and Nikita Kucherov) are seven points back with 15 each!

So when you hear the Toronto media ram your brain with Matthews this, and Matthews that, when they try to make you believe that he’s as good or even better than Connor McDavid, do as many of us do: smile, shake your head, and know that they’re just feeding the ego of Toronto, their advertisers’ market. As clearly, he’s an excellent player but more in the category of Leon Draisaitl.

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