KELOWNA, CANADA - JANUARY 7: Leon Draisaitl #29 of Kelowna Rockets skates against the Vancouver Giants on January 7, 2015 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Shoot the Breeze)

Kelowna Rockets Alumni Leon Draisaitl crowned NHL scoring champ

Draisaitl captures the Art Ross Trophy with 110 points in 71 games played

Kelowna Rockets Alumni Leon Draisaitl is the NHL’s scoring champion for the 2019-20 season.

Tuesday afternoon, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the 2019-20 NHL regular season had officially come to a close as he unveiled the league’s plan for a 24-team playoff in the coming months. With that announcement, Draisaitl’s place atop the NHL scoring charts was officially cemented, earning him the Art Ross Trophy.

Draisaitl is the second Rocket in club history to win the award. Jamie Benn won it during the 2014-15 season.

The Cologne, Germany native exploded for another 100 point season, recording 110 points (43 G-67A) in 71 games played. The 110 points are a career-high for the 6-foot-2 centerman, whose previous career mark of 105 points came during the 2018-19 NHL season.

Since arriving as a rookie, the former WHL star has taken the league by storm. Throughout 422 career NHL regular-season games, Draisaitl has 422 points (168G-254A) to his name, adding another 16 points (6G-10A) in 13 career NHL post-season outings.

Before emerging as one of the best players in the game, Draisaitl honed his skills in the Western Hockey League, landing in North America for the first time as a member of the Prince Albert Raiders and then with the Kelowna Rockets.

READ MORE: Vancouver among cities shortlisted for NHL hub as league announces playoff plans

After a 39-game tour with the Oilers to open the 2014-15 season, Draisaitl was eventually returned to the WHL and subsequently traded to the Kelowna Rockets. The German forward’s triumphant return to the WHL was nothing short of dominant, as he recorded 53 points (19G-32A) in only 32 regular-season games. Draisaitl’s injection of offence helped the Rockets secure a second-place finish in the WHL’s overall standings with a record of 53-13-5-1 (112 points).

From there, Draisaitl and the Rockets tore up the WHL post-season. With 28 points (10G-18A) in 19 playoff contests, Draisaitl was named WHL Playoff MVP as the Rockets captured the Ed Chynoweth Cup, sweeping the Brandon Wheat Kings in four games. Though the Rockets eventually fell in overtime to the Oshawa Generals in the Memorial Cup championship, Draisaitl continued to have his way with opponents, registering seven points (4G-3A) in five games to lead the tournament in scoring en route to being presented with the Stafford Smythe Trophy as Memorial Cup MVP.

Now only five years after hoisting the Ed Chynoweth Cup and thrilling fans across the entire Western Hockey League, Leon Draisaitl is the NHL’s scoring champion.

READ MORE: Throwback Thursday: Josh Gorges captains Rockets to 2004 Memorial Cup Championship

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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