The Edmonton Oilers have selected Leon Draisaitl from the Prince Albert Raiders 3rd overall in the 2014 NHL draft. Draisaitl becomes the highest-drafted German-born player in history and becomes the Oilers' 4th top 3 pick in 5 years. We took Leon in the SB Nation Mock Draft, and as we said then:
Why did we go with Draisaitl?
- For starters, he's 6'1", 209 lbs, and according to Scott Cullen could make the jump to the NHL immediately, much like Stars' 2013 pick Valeri Nichushkin:
Leon Draisaitl is a big-bodied (6-foot-2, 204 pounds) that would be easy enough to project into an NHL lineup next season. In addition to having the frame, Draisaitl came across as mature and thoughtful in interviews.
"That kid works so hard every shift. I don't see how this kid doesn't go early. There's no one in this draft class who can protect the puck like him."
- He' a possession player, and on a team like Edmonton, players who can keep the puck are like finding water in a desert. Central Scouting's Chris Bordeleau:
- What else? Well, he's foreign, so he'll share the blame for the Oilers' woes, taking some of the load off of Nail Yakupov.
- He's drawing lofty comparisons, but every player draws lofty comparisons in the lead up to the draft - the comparisons shouldn't be headlines.
- He's already familiar with Western Canada, so if he does make the Oilers in October, he shouldn't need a breaking-in period.
- Boyd Gordon gives him a role model for defensive play, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins a role model for the power play. His landing could be a soft one if the Oilers find a depth centre to help him out at the bottom of the lineup.
Corey Pronman's take:
EDM select Draisaitl (my rank: 7), he's an elite passer with a good frame and high skill level. Needs to improve first few steps though.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 27, 2014
Wouldn't have taken Leon at 3, but it's not crazy. I have my own preferencess, likely would have taken Bennett but see the case for LD.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 27, 2014
Leon is a big man with elite offensive capabilities. I see the appeal, even if I prefer other players.— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) June 27, 2014
Expect Draisaitl to be in the starting lineup in Edmonton in a protected role when the season starts. Draisaitl's selection likely spells the end for Sam Gagner, and if not, then definitely for Anton Lander.
Also, most importantly, his name is Leon. He will be the first Leon to play in the NHL. And he gives us so much material to work with.