IS LEON DRAISAITL NHL READY?

Lowetide
May 28 2014 03:44PM

draisaitl22

Jason Gregor's terrific interview with Kyle Woodlief of Red Line Report (transcript below) frames the Oilers issue at #3 overall perfectly—similar players available, one of whom (Leon Draisaitl) is a perfect fit for an actual need. I buy that, for me there's merit in the argument and the math suggests the trio are very close in quality. The next logical question, then, is "can the Oilers plug and play Leon Draisaitl? Is he NHL ready?"

In order to answer the question, I'm going to use Gabriel Desjardins' NHL equivalencies.If you're not familiar with the process, Gabe lets the air out of junior and college stats and gives us a general idea about how well players will perform when making the jump.

Let's list the 2013 draft picks who played in the NHL in 2014 (forwards) and their NHL equivalencies.

  • Nathan MacKinnon actual 82gp, 24-39-63 .768 points-per-game
  • Nathan MacKinnon NHLE 82gp, 17-22-39 .476 points-per-game

MacKinnon clearly blew the NHLE out of the water, but the equivalency did it's job in identifying an NHL-ready player. It'll be interesting to see what MacKinnon does next season—step forward from his impact season, or fall back to something more closely resembling the NHLE.

  • Valeri Nichushkin actual 79gp, 14-20-34 .430 points-per-game
  • Valeri Nichushkin NHLE 82gp, 20-10-30 .366 points-per-game

Nichushkin also outperformed his number, but this is a solid match. These seasons could easily be delivered by the same player, so the equivalency gave us a nice estimate on the Russian's offense.

  • Sean Monahan actual 75gp, 22-12-34 .453 points-per-game
  • Sean Monahan NHLE 82gp, 13-20-33 .402 points-per-game

A pretty close match, I think we have Monahan surrounded as an offensive player. His shooting percentage suggests that his rookie season may not be duplicated, in a fashion similar to Nail Yakupov's experience in 2013-14.

  • Aleksander Barkov actual 54gp, 8-16-24 .444 points-per-game
  • Aleksander Barkov NHLE 82gp, 18-22-40 .488 point-per-game 

I'd argue that's close, maybe even impressive considering the poor offensive team Barkov landed with to begin his career. I do think we can use him as a general comparable in terms of style for Draisaitl, although it's understandable that some may not agree.

  • Elias Lindholm actual 58gp, 9-12-21 .362 points-per-game
  • Elias Lindholm NHLE 82gp, 15-25-40 .488 points-per-game

I like this comparable, although Lindholm struggled at times. The equivalency suggested he was one of the better options for NHL action last season, and the young man delivered on a poor team.

NHLE's a year ago also suggested Jonathan Drouin, Max Domi, Hunter Shinkaruk and Anthony Mantha would have been capable of delivering at the NHL level.

The low end of the NHLE scale a year ago was Nischushkin's number above, 82gp, 20-10-30 .366. Let's use that as our 'low end' qualifier for Draisaitl, and let's include the other centers in the conversation for fun (Reinhart and Bennett).

NHL READY, USING NHLE

  1. Sam Reinhart (WHL) 15-28-43
  2. Leon Draisaitl (WHL) 15-25-40
  3. Sam Bennett (OHL) 16-23-39

Answer: all of them. If we're to believe Desjardins' NHLE, and I've been using it for about a decade, then Leon Draisaitl's offensive ability is in the general area of Barkov and Lindholm from a year ago. Which is to say, on par with all players not named Jonathan Drouin.

COMBINED NHLE, 2013 AND 2014

  1. Jonathan Drouin, Halifax (QMJHL)  19-30-49
  2. Sam Reinhart Kootenay (WHL) 15-28-43
  3. Sasha Barkov, Tappere Tampere (SM-Liiga) 18-22-40
  4. Leon Draisaitl, Prince Albert (WHL) 15-25-40
  5. Elias Lindholm, Brynas (SEL) 15-25-40
  6. Nathan MacKinnon, Halifax (QMJHL) 17-22-39
  7. Sam Bennett, Kingston (OHL) 16-23-39

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

lovethis dog

I talk to, and read a lot of comments by Oiler fans who cannot understand why Leon Draisaitl is being considered at No. 3. For my part, I wonder what the fuss is about. We've examined the game state of points scored for these men (Leon), we've spoken to draft experts (Jason's conversation with Woodlief, there are other instances) and we know that, all things being equal, the Oilers can reasonably argue Draisaitl is the best available for them.

So, with respect, I ask you this: what am I missing?

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#101 jonnyquixote
May 29 2014, 08:57PM
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@2004Z06

I can't see any way shape or how that drafting players like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have been somehow detrimental to the rebuild and cause questions to the BPA philosophy. And while Nail did have a disappointing season, the same is also true of a few of his contemporaries, including your new hindsight savior Galchenyuk (13-18-31) as well as Calder-winner Huberdeau(9-19-28). It's probably a little quick to start flapping our hands Herman Munster-style on the Yakupov selection and worrrying that everything we know is a lie!

Selections like Eberle, Hall, and RNH pretty much prove the BPA philosophy is a good one. They're 90-100% of the reason this team and its fanbase have any hope at all whatsoever. Those guys are not the problem with the Oilers, not even for a second. Carousel coaching, lack of forward depth, AHL defense, sieve goaltending, culture of unaccountability... these are all problems that should be looked at before we panic and start passing on the BPA.

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#102 Ken
May 29 2014, 10:34PM
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No way Oilers have made their mind up yet. 3 players in the mix , if they stay at #3 they wait to see who is picked.

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#103 Jackson
May 29 2014, 10:37PM
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2004Z06 wrote:

How has that BPA thing worked out thus far? At some point you have to start selecting BPA for need.

Btw, how's that Galchenyuk kid looking?

When you pick at #1 you pick the BPA, Yakupov was a consensus #1. Perhaps if Oilers picked at #3 the would have gone with Galchenyuk .

This year so far no consensus #1.

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#104 madjam
May 29 2014, 10:38PM
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jonnyquixote wrote:

I can't see any way shape or how that drafting players like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have been somehow detrimental to the rebuild and cause questions to the BPA philosophy. And while Nail did have a disappointing season, the same is also true of a few of his contemporaries, including your new hindsight savior Galchenyuk (13-18-31) as well as Calder-winner Huberdeau(9-19-28). It's probably a little quick to start flapping our hands Herman Munster-style on the Yakupov selection and worrrying that everything we know is a lie!

Selections like Eberle, Hall, and RNH pretty much prove the BPA philosophy is a good one. They're 90-100% of the reason this team and its fanbase have any hope at all whatsoever. Those guys are not the problem with the Oilers, not even for a second. Carousel coaching, lack of forward depth, AHL defense, sieve goaltending, culture of unaccountability... these are all problems that should be looked at before we panic and start passing on the BPA.

Agreed with your sentiments . How they surrounded that talent has been a major problem .

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#105 madjam
May 30 2014, 06:42AM
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Hypothetical: seeing as Oilers are high on bloodlines , would Reinhart be our first choice if available ?

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#106 HockeyYodaDotcom
May 30 2014, 08:11AM
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Geoff wrote:

The great thing about this draft is that the Oilers really can't lose this situation. We get a player that organization actually needs regardless of who takes what and best player available arguements.

Perhaps at first glance it looks like the Oilers can't lose and most fans agree given the number of thumbs up. But keep mind, prospects often don't develop as projected. I would consider it a big loss if the Oil take Draisaitl and he becomes only a 3rd line centre. And the Flames happily grab Bennett or Dal Colle and get a quality top 6 player. If Ekblad and Reinhart are gone, I like Dal Cole more. Great hands, skating and nose for the net. Good size who will fill out. Find your 2nd line centre another way and take the BPA.

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#107 2004Z06
May 30 2014, 10:40PM
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jonnyquixote wrote:

I can't see any way shape or how that drafting players like Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins have been somehow detrimental to the rebuild and cause questions to the BPA philosophy. And while Nail did have a disappointing season, the same is also true of a few of his contemporaries, including your new hindsight savior Galchenyuk (13-18-31) as well as Calder-winner Huberdeau(9-19-28). It's probably a little quick to start flapping our hands Herman Munster-style on the Yakupov selection and worrrying that everything we know is a lie!

Selections like Eberle, Hall, and RNH pretty much prove the BPA philosophy is a good one. They're 90-100% of the reason this team and its fanbase have any hope at all whatsoever. Those guys are not the problem with the Oilers, not even for a second. Carousel coaching, lack of forward depth, AHL defense, sieve goaltending, culture of unaccountability... these are all problems that should be looked at before we panic and start passing on the BPA.

First two years max for BPA, then it needs to be BPA for need. I said the Oilers should take Galchenyuk when Yak was drafted. Feel free to look it up. No hindsight pick here. We needed a second line center....instead we took another winger. After The wonder kids have gone through 1, 2, 3 more coaches, will you be open to the fact that maybe coaching isn't the problem?

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#108 2004Z06
May 30 2014, 10:42PM
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Jackson wrote:

When you pick at #1 you pick the BPA, Yakupov was a consensus #1. Perhaps if Oilers picked at #3 the would have gone with Galchenyuk .

This year so far no consensus #1.

It was well publicized that had Galchenyuk not had knee surgery, He would have ranked as high or higher than Yakupov.

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#109 BlazingSaitls
May 31 2014, 02:48PM
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Watching this young mans interviews I am sold. Comfortable with the media, great answers, and appears calm and intelligent.

My rankings according by interview (only counting intelligence and media comfort)

1.Drysaddle 2.Reinhart 3.Ekblad 4.Nylander 5.Bennett 6.Dal Cole

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