The Edmonton Oilers signed Leon Draisaitl to an entry-level deal. Contract details should be up on capgeek later today. Draisaitl has a really good chance to make the Oilers this fall, I’d guess on a second line with Nail Yakupov and one of Benoit Pouliot or Teddy Purcell. I wish they’d give him a real challenge for this roster spot in the fall, but it sure doesn’t look like it from here.
EDMONTON OILERS 2014-15 (PROJECTED)
|LEFT WING||CENTER||RIGHT WING|
|TAYLOR HALL||RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS||JORDAN EBERLE|
|DAVID PERRON||LEON DRAISAITL *||TEDDY PURCELL|
|BENOIT POULIOT||BOYD GORDON||NAIL YAKUPOV|
|MATT HENDRICKS||MARK ARCOBELLO||TYLER PITLICK*|
|ANTON LANDER||IIRO PAKARINEN*|
|LEFT DEFENSE||RIGHT DEFENSE|
|MARTIN MARINCIN||JEFF PETRY|
|NIKITA NIKITIN||MARK FAYNE|
|ANDREW FERENCE||JUSTIN SCHULTZ|
NHLE: Leon Draisaitl (WHL) 15-25-40
- Red Line: Huge German centre is tenacious in puck pursuit with his relentless forecheck often creating chances for linemates. Dominates the game down low with outstanding puck protection. Constantly outthinks the opposition and knows where his outlets are at all times. Has learned to use his size to carve out space for himself and effectively separate opponents from the puck. Strong hockey sense in all three zones leads to good positioning. Traditional playmaking centre finds ‘mates with crisp, accurate passes. Intelligent, two-way, classically schooled centre. Outshone Reinhart in head-to-head action against Kootenay.
- ISS: Draisaitl could be one of the biggest wildcards of the entire draft. There is no doubting his talent. He has good size, great puck skills, strong understanding of
possession and puck management and could be considered an elite playmaker with the puck on his stick. He can at times remind of the likes of Getzlaf, Jagr,
Thornton and Malkin but he can also fall off the radar very quickly. When he is on, he can be nearly unstoppable and can absolutely decimate opposing defensive
structures and goaltender’s confidence. He could be a steal wherever he is selected but will need to add some further maturity and consistent scoring punch if he
is ever to meet the potential he has shown in flashes up to now.
- Corey Pronman: Draisaitl is a great passer who can beat defenders with skill, puck protection, determination or his shot. I’ve heard some scouts suggest him as a top-3 pick, but I’d like to see him get quicker before I put him in that range.
- Craig Button: Leon is a big centre who is smart, can make plays and can impact the game in multiple ways. He’s the type of centre who is coveted by many NHL clubs because of his combination of size and skill.
- WHL from Above: Draisaitl has arguably the most raw talent of any WHL prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. From my viewings, his best asset is his vision. He has a great ability to slow the play down and set up linemates with super feeds on either the forehand or backhand, with his backhand sauce being something to sit back and marvel at. That ability to slow down the play has been seen as a knock by some, as he tends to attempt to slow the pace down constantly, instead of showing an ability to play in a faster environment. His skating is also another area of concern as he’s got a choppy, ugly stride. I think that’s definitely an area of concern, but has been an area that many players have improved upon in the past. He really had a great second half of the season, putting the Raiders on his back and shrugging off a sub-par appearance at the World Juniors for team Germany. He also put together a strong performance for Germany at the World Championships, proving that he can look pretty good on the ice against some NHL talent, despite his skating concerns. Overall I think he might have the most potential of any WHL player in the draft and I wouldn’t be shocked if a team took him in the top 3 picks.
- Bruce McCurdy, Cult of Hockey: The big centre (listed as 6’1, 209) was neither overly physically aggressive nor a speedster, but largely impressed this observer with his overall command of the game. The play went through his stick constantly, and for the most part, good or at least promising things developed thereafter. He showed a couple of bursts of what I would term “situational speed” but his A game is clearly one of controlling the play rather than pushing it. As I said to my voice recorder at one point, “When the puck is on Draisaitl’s stick, he owns it. Even if there’s a guy in his kitchen he’s in full control.” And later, “Very calm with the puck on his stick, not quite nonchalant but knows how much time he’s got, which in this league is a lot. Big and strong and can dangle the puck out of reach of the man who’s on him, pick his spot and distribute… A lot of subtle stuff, some little mistakes at the end of shifts, but with the puck on his stick he makes a lot of good decisions.”
- Central Scouting’s B.J. MacDonald: “He’s the best prospect I’ve seen from this draft class at protecting and handling the puck; he’s very Jaromir Jagr-esque. He protects the puck, makes those button hooks and hits guys coming in late. He’ll hold onto that puck until he sees the right play to make. He has a great wrist shot and good snap shot, and can surprise a lot of goalies with it.”