Edmonton Oilers fans had to be pleased when Craig MacTavish announced Leon Draisaitl’s name. The big center with skill represents a perfect fit, and fans haven’t seen a draft pick like Leon at the position since Jason Arnott.
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- So you really think he’ll play? Yes.
- The whole season? Yes.
- All of these kids since 2010! Well, first of all they had three No. 1′s in there, and second Leon isn’t in the NHL yet.
- When will they make the call? Leon Draisaitl turns 19 on the day Edmonton plays it’s ninth game of the season (Oct 27).
- Convenient. It’s just what it is, there’s nothing newsworthy beyond it’ll be a great birthday or a crappy one.
- I think we both know it’ll be a great birthday. Yes.
- Batty thinks it’s a bad idea. Batty makes some strong points as always. He brings up some excellent arguments and they are certainly pertinent to the conversation. This isn’t a slam dunk.
- Why don’t you object to keeping him? I think that’s the wrong way to look at this.
- What way should we look at it? For me, the first thing to acknowledge is that he may actually be good enough for the NHL. He’s outstanding, and the numbers imply impact-player potential. Leon’s size suggests some form of physical maturity and if he can play then he’ll certainly be one of the better options for Edmonton. The thing I can’t abide is handing it to him, as the Oilers appear to be now.
- Handing it to him? Come on. His major hurdles are Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander? This is taking a knife to a gunfight.
- So you hate Arcobello. No, but I do believe the Oilers would benefit from another veteran center to push the group. That’s a befuddling part of this summer.
- First time you’ve mentioned it. Well, no. It’s an issue, and should be an issue in the Oilers’ offices.
- I bet it is, they probably have a trade to make later in the summer or in pre-season. I keep thinking they’ll trade for Cody Eakin, Dallas is drunk with centers and could use some blue line help. There’s a trade fit there.
- You’re happy if they trade for Eakin? Sure! That’s a legit roadblock, and then the decision becomes Leon v Arco for the other center slot.
- And Lander. Sure, if you like. I think Lander is basically Gordon insurance and a candidate for the 4line, but he did post nice numbers in OKC. Many tumblers would have to click, but we’ve seen stranger things over the years.
- Is MacT a draft pedigree snob? God no. He spent much of the 00′s sending out the first rounders and keeping the guys without pedigree. MacT was a show-me coach, and loved a player who knew what he was doing. Pisani types.
- Did MacT ever keep a player in Leon’s situation? Yes, there’s a situation that is almost identical. Ales Hemsky, drafted in 2001, was kept on for 2002-03 at least partly because (this is from memory) they didn’t like what he was learning in Hull with the Olympique.
- Do you think they feel the same way about the Raiders’ coach? No, not at all. That’s a pretty solid coaching staff by reputation (Cory Clouston) and they’ve done good work in a small place. Impressive.
- What do you make of the storyline about his leaving Germany to play in a small city like Prince Albert? First of all, these stories are basically insane. If Leon Draisaitl was worried about the night life and the excitement of a big city, he probably wouldn’t be the No. 3 overall pick in the draft. LD is clearly motivated by hockey, Prince Albert is fine—in fact, it’s a very good place for a teenager. Less trouble, fewer distractions.
- God you sound old. Don’t care. I was 19, and did live in a town MUCH smaller than Prince Albert. There’s trouble anywhere if you’re the type to find it. Leon’s passion is hockey, that’s a very good sign. I don’t buy that going to Prince Albert was some kind of major sacrifice. That’s the arrogance of people who have never lived there assuming their lifestyle is better than the one they’re pitying. God I hate that stuff. You ever break down in the middle of nowhere? You pray to whatever God you believe in that it’s somewhere near Prince Albert. Good, decent, happy people. You can tell a lot about a guy who talks down a place he’s never been. Bah! City people.
- Okay okay, geez. I just asked a question. Well, I don’t like that kind of talk.
- Let’s get back to Leon. Your estimate for points is low. Yes. It is. I feel there may be games, and Hemsky went through this, Joe Thornton too, where LD doesn’t see the ice much. I suspect the Oilers will be more interested in making sure he’s a better player in April than running him hard in Los Angeles at Christmastime.
- Joe Thornton? Yes. I’m not saying he’s Thornton but that guy had a painful rookie season and went on to a brilliant career. Scott Reynolds had Thornton as the “everything goes right” option in his comparable article.
- You don’t really expect that, do you? Nope. But the rest of Scott’s list is full of shining diamonds, too. I really, really like this player.
- We’re at question No. 25, and we just get to that? It’s ‘reasonable expectations’ not ‘Lowetide’s new favorite player’ but he is.
- Who would you like to see him with at 5×5? I’d say Perron and Pouliot but that totally screws over Yakupov.
- Book it! Yeah, I know. I think maybe Perron-Purcell and Pouliot-Yakupov could be the pairings for the second and third line wingers.
- You’re concerned about Yakupov and where he fits, aren’t you? Deathly afraid. Keep your powder dry, we’ll get to the Russian soon.
- Why this song for Draisaitl? It’s about new beginnings and being really happy, like ‘happiest time in my life and I know it’ happy. No worries, no concerns, real contentment and starting a new life in an ideal surrounding. Maybe arriving at your dreams and realizing it’s even better than you thought it would be. Over the top good.
- Nice. Yeah. Leon in Edmonton is a good thing, whenever it happens. It’ll be a big test for MacTavish though, sending him out. If Leon isn’t ready, I hope they do no matter how bad it looks with a flimsy depth chart. Burning a year of Leon’s entry for an unready soldier would be the real crime here.