I’ll admit to feeling no small amount of disappointment when the Erie Otters were eliminated in the OHL playoffs. A chance to see Connor McDavid on junior hockey’s biggest stage would have been grand. As often happens, the hockey Gods decided to go against the Hollywood script and the result is a full spotlight on one Leon Draisaitl. The young man has been splendid at the Memorial Cup.
If anyone is talking trade with the Edmonton Oilers, they should be asking about Leon Draisaitl. Not that they'll get anywhere, but wow.
— Kirk Luedeke (@kluedeke29) May 26, 2015
Leon is a perfect fit for these Oilers for lots of reasons: he’s a fantastic passer and can make moves in tight situations. Draisaitl is also faster than people think (he suffers from Frank Mahovlich disease, meaning he doesn’t do things in short bursts, so people assume slowness). There’s also this:
- RNH 6.00, 190
- Connor McDavid 6.01, 187
- Draisaitl 6.01, 210
The German is the bigger man and he uses that size to protect the puck and slow the pace to great effect. He has a lot of little things he does to keep possession, kinds of wastes time while shaking opponents 10 miles from the net. Let’s compare (size only) the Oilers (apparent) trio with another famous group of centers:
- Sidney Crosby 5.11, 200
- Evgeni Malkin 6.03, 195
- Jordan Staal 6.04, 220
The next question for the Oilers and (Peter Chiarelli) is who to put with his franchise centers. I think the easiest way to look at this is via ‘pairs’ with extra men slotted in until chemistry establishes itself:
- Draisaitl-Purcell (57.9 Corsi for 5×5% last season, small sample size)
But that’s not what we’re like to see this fall. Before the trades, my guess is the F’s might roll like this opening night:
I’d really like to see a Justin Williams added for the spot Yakupov occupies. We’ll see, not a lot of priority on wings this summer is my guess but a veteran two-way type would be fantastic.
— Igor Eronko (@IgorEronko) May 25, 2015
We shouldn’t overlook this possible signing. There’s a window here for a skilled winger (Leon’s spot above) and Slip Slappy has pro experience and a dynamic style. I’m discouraged about the possibility of Roy signing this week, but the Russian’s arrival seems inevitable. Good for him, he’s earned it.
WHAT WILL CHIARELLI DO?
The last time Chiarello took over a hockey team, he added (mostly) veterans until the Bruins won Stanley. Get good players, keep good players, and PC added men with experience.
- Nathan Horton: He had six years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for Dennis Wideman and picks.
- Dennis Seidenberg: He had seven years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for Bitz and pieces.
- Gregory Campbell: He had five years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for Dennis Wideman and picks.
- Andrew Ference: He had seven years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart.
- Chris Kelly: He had six years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for a pick.
- Daniel Paille: He had three years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for a pick.
- Mark Recchi: He had 20 years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for Matt Lashoff.
- Rich Peverley: He had four years NHL experience when Boston acquired him for Blake Wheeler.
- Tomas Kaberle: He was in his twelfth NHL season when Boston acquired him for Joe Colborne and a first and second-round pick.
- Shane Hnidy: He had seven years of NHL experience when Boston acquired him for Brandon Bochenski.
- Shawn Thornton: He had three years of NHL experience when Boston signed him as a UFA.
- Michael Ryder: He had four years of NHL experience when Boston signed him as a UFA.
- Tyler Seguin: No. 2 overall selection.
- Jordan Caron: No. 25 overall selection.
- Johnny Boychuk: He had just four games of NHL experience (but was an experienced minor league player) when Boston acquired him for Matt Hendricks.
- Adam McQuaid: He was in his final junior season when Boston acquired him for a pick.
After he came to Boston, Chiarelli used the draft for two pieces, traded for non-established NHL players twice, signed two veteran free agents (young veterans, mind) and traded for 10 veterans (about one-half a roster) to get there. He often overpaid for these players but the overall effect was massive improvement. One more note: The Bruins system was churning out quality on an impressive level at this time, giving Boston a huge boost naturally. It can be argued successfully that Edmonton’s youth is of a higher calibre.
One thing we know: Chiarelli’s first draft pick is going to be here a long damn time.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
A busy and fantastic morning on the show, we begin at 10, TSN1260.
- Jonathan Willis, Cult of Hockey. We have a good long look at what Chiarelli might do this summer.
- Kadeisha Buchanan, a young defender for Canada and a big part of our nation’s entry at this year’s World Cup of Soccer.
- Darcy McLeod, Because Oilers. Darcy’s fine work on goalie quality has been noticed in many circles and we’ll talk about the metrics he uses and what they’re telling him about the possible solutions in net for Edmonton.
- Guy Flaming, Pipeline Show. The Memorial Cup is in full swing, we’ll gush about Leon and talk about the draft.
10-1260 text, @Lowetide on twitter. See you on the radio!