The Edmonton Oilers won the Drake Caggiula sweepstakes, a time for the organization to congratulate themselves and the rest of us to figure out what he can do at the pro level. He is a small skill forward (5.10, 185) who would be considered average size if this were 1970. Lots of teams were interested, Edmonton got him. The rest is pure guesswork and that is the truth. He turned 22 in June and was a feature player on a famous UND line:
- Brock Boeser 42gp, 27-33-60 (1.43 points-per-game)
- Drake Caggiula 39gp, 25-26-51 (1.31 points-per-game)
- Nick Schmaltz 37gp, 11-35-46 (1.24 points-per-game)
Caggiula instantly becomes EDM's top fwd prospect. Slots above Slepyshev in lineup. Ceiling? So hard to judge with udfa's, but Top 6 ptntl.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) May 7, 2016
I ranked Caggiula No. 5 in my summer Top 20, and at 22 his time is now—or pretty damn close. He is a skill player on a team that needs inexpensive complementary types—and he will earn $925,000 (with bonus opportunities) if he makes the NHL in 2016-17. His NHLE is 82gp, 22-22-44—that is a fairly substantial prospect and he is likely close to NHL-ready.
DRAKE CAGGIULA BAKERSFIELD RE: 40GP, 18-19-37
DRAKE CAGGIULA NHL RE 16-17: 25GP, 3-1-4
- What will his role be in Bakersfield? He has to be regarded as the top scoring option in Bakersfield right away. Bakersfield’s feature wingers a year ago were Matt Ford, Andrew Miller, Ryan Hamilton and Josh Winquist—this young man should be a better player than any of them.
- Where do you project him on the depth chart? I have him slotted at LW and he (imo) is the most talented offensive prospect among Condors. Jujhar Khaira, Tyler Pitlick, Patrick Russell, Anton Slepyshev all have talent, but Caggiula should emerge as the top scorer. Patrick Russell is a wildcard and Greg Chase had some promising numbers in junior.
- What has changed since his draft day? He was ranked No. 185 NA skater in 2012, and of course no one took him. He was scoring at a very rapid clip in the OJHL that season, plus a cup of coffee in the USHL. Since then, Caggiula has emerged as a fast, skilled and famous college scorer.
- What is he? Flyers GM Ron Hextall: “He’s got speed, he plays hard, he has a lot of good attributes. He’s got a shot at being a top six (player) based on his ability. He’s not the biggest player, but he plays hard.”
- What does Caggiula need to work on? Smaller men must post big boxcars to get noticed, so that is probably the real answer to this question.
- What one thing will get Caggiula to the NHL? Goals. This young man is going to get to the NHL quickly if he can contribute to offense—he is not expensive and the depth chart at forward is not Mount Everest. Injuries happen, and a look at the potential Condors list offers few more attractive scoring options.
- Anything else? Thomas Drance wrote a dandy item on Caggiula in the hours both Edmonton and Vancouver were in the running—well worth the read. One of the names he mentions—Rich Peverley—would be a terrific outcome (no guarantees, mind).
- What will keep him out of the NHL? Small forwards come in boxes of 12. Caggiula will need to prove himself now and forever. He is on the Cliff Ronning program, and incredibly tough route. That said, he is in a very good era for his player type and the Oilers lack of success at the draft table allows him a very large opportunity if he can score in pro.
- What does former UND (and now Philadelphia Flyers) Coach Dave Hakstol say? “He’ll play a game in the NHL, there’s no doubt of that in my mind. When it happens or what he does with it once he gets there, that will be up to him. He’ll have to prove he can handle the step up in pace. NHL players are so big but they’re also so fast. I think he can do it. Drake is not big but he’s hockey strong. He competes hard, too hard sometimes. He hits with a purpose, loves to really hit people, but he’s a veteran and we need him to be scoring goals. He plays the game hard. He plays the 200-foot game. You can tell he’s a coach’s son, he gets it.” Source