We’re back with the latest edition of our “2014 First Rounders” series and we’re taking a trip down to Edmonton to see Leon Draisaitl and the Edmonton Oilers. Rookie camps are right around the corner, regular camps are right behind them and the biggest question for the Oilers is what to do with first round pick Leon Draisaitl.
Leon Draisaitl becomes another top 3 draft pick in the Oilers abundance of riches. The Oilers have picked inside the top 3 in 4 of the last 5 drafts, including three back-to-back first overall picks. If the Oilers knew how to handle their prospects they’d be Stanley Cup contenders by now.
Will Draisaitl join the mix of NHL ready prospects in the Oilers organization, or will they do something they rarely do and take their time with him?
Prior to Draft
Ahead of the draft Draisaitl competed in his second season with the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL. He had an incredible year recording 105 points in 64 games. His 38 goals and 67 assists was a large improvement over his rookie season where he managed just 21 goals and 58 points; not bad for a rookie season.
He also suited for Germany at the U20 World Juniors where he recorded 2 goals and 6 points during his 6 games. Oddly enough he received the award, or recognition of being the most penalized player during the tournament with 52 penalty minutes. An interesting stat, considering he doesn’t play a overally physical brand of hockey.
He later suited up for Germany at the World Championships where he recorded 1 goal and 4 points in 7 games.
For many Leon Draisaitl was a dark horse in this years draft and wasn’t until weeks before the draft that they realized he could easily go in the top 5. Sure enough the Oilers claimed him with the third pick in the 2014 draft.
The Oilers are not shy in moving teenagers along right into the NHL. From Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov, all of the last top forward picks have graduated right into the NHL through the Oilers. Who’s to say Draisaitl won’t be next?
It was said before the draft that he alongside first overall pick Aaron Ekblad where the two players most likely to make the jump next season. They’re ready, both physically and mentally to play in the NHL next season and for that reason Draisaitl is expected to crack the Oilers roster.
They don’t shy away from playing teenagers and when you look at someone as skilled and smart as Draisaitl there is truly no reason why he shouldn’t crack the Oilers roster. The Oilers need help up the middle at centre and what do you know Draisaitl is a big, strong and smart centre who could help fill that centre void.
A great aspect about his game is his drive for competition. At the age of 16 he became too good for the German U19 league recording 68 points in 43 games. However, he didn’t stick it out at the U19 league, he looked for more competition and transferred to North America where he would find a home in the WHL.
The kids loves competition and overcoming the odds. He has an impressive rookie season, his first on North American ice, and he comes back with an even better sophomore season to really turn heads. It’s that drive that the Oilers need and are looking for in a young prospect and he has it.
Will he play his rookie season in 2014-2015
The Oilers have made it clear that Draisaitl will have to prove himself in training camp, there is no guaranteed spot for him. However, that’s pretty much a smoke screen. They want Leon Draisaitl in the NHL next season but they still want him to earn his spot and work hard.
They have a history of bringing their top draft picks right into the NHL as teenagers. He’s already their number one prospect and there is no reason Leon Draisaitl won’t play in the NHL full-time next season.