DRAISAITL: "I KNOW I'M A COMPETITIVE PERSON"

Jason Gregor
May 09 2014 09:55AM

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I continued our series of interviews with the top 2014 draft prospects and spoke with Prince Albert Raiders centre Leon Draisaitl. I like Draisait's combination of size and skill. I really enjoyed speaking with him, because he had a very honest and mature viewpoint of where his game is, and where he hopes it can go.

He told me he is currently 6'2" and 208 pounds. He expects to be close to 215 by training camp. He was just named to Germany's roster for the 2014 World Championships giving him another opportunity to impress the scouts before the June 27th draft.

We spoke about adapting to hockey in North America, Germany's development program and about his detractors.

Gregor: Not a lot of guys could adapt to the North American game as quickly asyou did. How come you were so successful doing it?

Draisaitl: In my opinion I have togive credit to the people around me like my billets. The guys on my team, theyjust made it so, so easy for me to adjust to the North American hockey and tothe lifestyle as well. They just made it real easy for me and I think that’sthe biggest thing.

Gregor:Watching at the World Junior Championship and you were really aggressive. Youtook a lot of aggressive penalties and I found it funny that people are sayingyou’re not aggressive or driven. How would you describe your game?

Draisaitl: You know, I don’t think I’m anaggressive player, but I know when to be physical and when I might have to pullback. I don’t think I’m an overly aggressive player, I mean I took somepenalties, I usually don’t take.

 Whoever knows me, they know I’m the last guyout there who wants anybody injured and then I accidently hit a guy from behindand had a high sticking penalty and then it didn’t really go my way at theWorld Juniors. I wouldn’t say that I’m a dirty or overly aggressive player, butI know how to be physical.

Gregor:What is the biggest difference that you’ve noticed from going to the WesternHockey League to now playing with men? Is the strength that much of adifference even though six exhibition (lead up to world championships) games.

Draisaitl: Yes, definitely. Exactly likeyou said, the strength, I think the way men skate and they’re just stronger.That’s just the way it is, it’s not that they’re working out more, I think it’sjust that they’re men and that’s why they’re stronger and it definitely takessome time to adjust. The guys in the WHL, they’re all strong kids, they’rereally good players but they’re just not men. There is some other smalldifference, but I also try to remember it takes some time to adjust.

COMPLETE PLAYER

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Gregor:Cory Clouston, your head coach in Prince Albert, has been a head coach in theNHL. What are some of the specific things he wanted you to work on with yourgame that he felt would help you as an NHL player?

Draisaitl: You know, I think that Cory dida great job. I used to be, last year I used to be a more offensive player and nowhe made me be a complete player, a more complete player anyways. I know that Istill have a lot of work to do. I know that and I can tell you that I’m workingon it, but you know, he did a great job in teaching me how to play on bothsides of the game and to keep it easy. I think I learned when I can use mycreativity and when to make the easy play.

Gregor:Coming out of Germany, Leon, compared to Canadian kids, you just don’thave the opportunity to play against the same level of competition and normallythat pushes kids to get better,  yetyou’ve managed to come from Germanywhere I’m guessing most often you didn’t have the same level of competitionthat the Canadian kids did. To me I think your ceiling is maybe even higherbecause of that. Do you feel that you have a lot of room to grow as a player?

Draisaitl: Yes, I totally agree. You know,it’s, I don’t like saying it, but it’s the way it is. Germany doesnot have the greatest development program and I think we’re getting better, butit’s still not where it needs to be in my opinion. So, I have a lot to learn. Iknow that, and I’m working on it and I’m willing to learn the game and be thebest player I can possibly be.

**This is why I'm really high on Draisaitl. He's only had two years of playing against elite players, and he flourished this year scoring 105 points in 64 games. I believe another year of junior would benefit his long term development. If the Oilers draft him, there would be a big push to have him play this year, but being patient would pay bigger dividends down the road.**

Gregor:How did you become such a great creative offensive player? Where did thatcreativity come from, where did you learn it?

Draisaitl: Ah, you know I think I did get alot from my dad. He was the same type of player. He likes to make playsoffensively and he likes to be really creative and I think that’s one thing Iget from my dad. On the other hand, I really work on that stuff in practice.Every single practice I’m trying to get better and even with the things thatI’m already pretty good at I’m still trying to get better at, because I knowthat there is a lot of room I can be better at and that’s what I’m trying toimprove every single day.

COMPETITIVE?

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Gregor:Some suggest that you’re not maybe a fireball, you’re not highly competitive.From games I’ve seen, I don’t agree with that. How do you respond to those whosuggest that maybe you’re not a highly competitive player?

Draisaitl: I know I’m a really, reallycompetitive person. I want to win every single game. I know people say thatabout me but you know, I think it’s the style of game I play. In my opinion,that’s why people say that a lot. I like to control the game rather thanspeeding it up all of the time. And I know that I have to learn to speed it uptoo and that’s something that I’m working on right now, and I know that’s oneof my weaknesses. I think that’s what people say because I like to control thegame. I like to have the puck on my stick and then make things happen and youknow. But I know that I have to work on it for sure, it’s definitely one of myweaknesses.

**Many very good big players have been labelled "lazy." People have critiqued Kopitar, Thornton, Mario Lemieux and many others because their long strides give the impression they aren't working hard. I've never agreed with that. I also really like Draisaitl's answer. He likes to slow the game down, and while everyone wants people to play fast all the time, there are many very good offensive players who don't. Patrick Kane can play both fast and slow, but he prefers to slow the game down. His creativity and puck handling skills allow him to do it, and there are very few players more dangerous than Kane when he is dangling in the offensive zone. I hope that as Draisaitl works on speeding up his game that he doesn't lose the ability to slow it down. If he can do both he'll be an extremely dangerous player.**

Gregor:How do you work on speeding up the game?

Draisaitl: You know, this summer is a greatopportunity for me to get faster, to get quicker and then same thing with rightnow, I’m working on it. In drills, I’m going from trying to go full speed everytime and it’s going to work out one day but like I said, I think this summeryou really get your speed.

Gregor:Who do you feel your game is similar to as far as the style, not saying thatyou’re going to guarantee to score 90 or even 100 points like those guys, butdo you see a similarity in how [Anze] Kopitar plays to how you play?

Draisaitl: Yeah, do be honest I think I dohave some similarities to Kopitar. We are still different players and you can’tcopy any players, it’s just not possible. I always said I think one of theplayers who I can see some similarities to my game is Joe Thornton. He’s a bigguy who likes to protect the puck and he makes great passes. So I think thosetwo guys are the guys I can compare myself to the most.

Gregor:As a guy who played against them, what was the best part of the Oil Kings game?What made them so good?

Draisaitl: I think it’s just their depthand their D-men are outstanding, they’re doing such agreat job of shutting down top guys. And then I mean their forwards, they havesome really skilled guys like [Henrik] Samuelsson, [Curtis] Lazar, [Brett]Pollock, those are all top end players in this league and that’s why they’re inthe finals again. They’re not there because they are a bad team, they’re therebecause they’re probably one of the best teams, well obviously they’re one ofthe best two teams in the WHL. I can tell you it’s hard to play against them,but I think we challenge them. Most of the games were pretty close and at theend you have to give credit to Edmonton,they were the better team.

Gregor:What do you do in your downtime, what are some of your hobbies, what do youlike to do outside of hockey?

Draisaitl: Um, you know, I like to play adifferent sport. I like to play ping pong, I play soccer, volleyball, stufflike that and just hanging out with my friends from back home. I’m really a guywho likes to catch up with old friends and spend some time with the family.That’s what I’m doing.

WRAP UP

I don't buy that Draisaitl is lazy or lacks motivation. In game two of the Oil Kings/Raiders series he was the best player on the ice. Like many young players he struggles with consistency, but I wouldn't confuse that with a lack of passion.

I feel Draisaitl has a lot of room to grow as a player. I won't be surprised if he isn't a truly dominant player until he is 22 of 23. That isn't a bad thing, because very few players dominate right away, but if the team that drafts him is patient and fights the urge to rush him they will have a very good NHL player in a few seasons.

Recently by Jason Gregor:

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#2 crusty_grit
May 09 2014, 10:10AM
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Boston seems to draft well with the "draft heavier" guys mentality. If he's anything like Kopitar don't think twice at the draft.

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#3 TKB2677
May 09 2014, 10:07AM
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The more I hear this kid talk, the more I want the Oilers to draft him. For the Oilers, given their current team make up especially in the top 6 and especially their lack of skilled, big players at the center position. If you have a choice between a bigger skilled player and a smaller skilled player, unless the smaller player is so hugely superior, you have to go with the bigger guy. By all accounts, the smaller guys aren't that much better than Draisatl.

The most intriguing thing for me is as a young player, he has only been playing against top level competition for a couple of years. He came over to NA to play because he himself said the competition in Germany for hockey is FAR inferior than in Canada. So think about it, Reinhart and Bennett have been playing against the best of the best young hockey players in league play, tournaments, hockey camps, etc since they were very young. Draisatl has only been playing against top level competition for a couple of years and he's already this good. So it stands to reason that his game has WAY more room to grow.

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#4 Sorensenator
May 09 2014, 10:01AM
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He is an impressive young man. He could be a 230 lb power forward when all said and done.

I think he could use another year in junior and a couple years in the AHL.

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#5 Lochenzo
May 09 2014, 10:48AM
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Bennett and Draisaitl are so close in my mind and I could be swayed either way on any given day. So naturally after reading this great article, I'd choose Draisaitl.

The perceived laziness, I don't believe he's lazy either. But the perception is problematic. I've seen this Oilers' fanbase pick on players who do have longer strides and are not banging everything in sight, labeling them as lazy or poor players. I hope he has thick skin.

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#6 Draisaitl makes sense
May 09 2014, 11:23AM
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Considering that Arcobello recently signed his deal, drafting Draisaitl makes a lot of sense.

Give Arcobello next season as the 2C; the odds of this team turning around and pulling a Colorado next season are very slim. He's on a one-year deal, and the kid's fought with tooth and claw to get where he is. Even though he's smaller, he's an immediate improvement over Sammy Snowpants. If he doesn't pan out, shop him at the deadline for spare parts or late picks if need be. Again, the Oilers aren't going to pull a Colorado next season, so there's virtually no drawbacks to tossing Arcobello in that spot. Reward the loyal soldier, part ways if he sucks.

This gives Draisaitl another year in junior. If Leon requires more development, and he should, the FA market in 2015 should be modestly better than this year's. Then find the guy to mentor Draisaitl (and RNH if by god he still needs it). Whoever this guy may be can then drop down to the 3C once Draisaitl is ready. After that's all said and done, Leon is developed and fills the 2C, and Nurse and company will have already seen their first year in the league.

Like any other fan, I'd hate to see this rebuild prolonged, but I'd much rather see it done right than rushed.

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#7 Will
May 09 2014, 10:47AM
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Assuming Ekblad isn't available, this would be a good pick and give the Oilers depth at centre with their prospects. That would be Arco, Lander, Yakimov, and Draisaitl. Not to mention Jujhar Khaira and Moroz coming in on the wing means our forward prospects are a lot bigger than they were.

The more I see it the more it looks like Edmonton did the rebuild completely backwards. Had they got Marincin, Klefbomb, Nurse, Moroz, Khaira, Draisaitl, and Yakimov all well before Nuge, Hall, and Ebs, this team would be pretty damn amazing right now, instead of needing to wait on prospects to develop.

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#8 TKB2677
May 09 2014, 12:07PM
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Reinhart played with one of the best scoring wingers in the western league- Jaedon Descheneau. He scored 44 goals this year and 98 pts. The knock on him is he's 5'9. If you have a guy that can score at that high of a level, it sure helps your numbers. Draisatl tied Reinhart in points and had far inferior wingers with him.

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#9 Sorensenator
May 09 2014, 11:09AM
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@Quicksilver ballet

"Man, this team is two, even three yrs away from challenging or even making the post season."

If we have this mindset then we will definitely be 2 or 3 years away from the post season, maybe even longer.

We have to believe we can turn this one around on a dime or we will never get better.

Or are you suggesting we might as well tank next year as well because we have way too many holes, therefore we might as well ploy an entire team of 22 year olds then draft McDavid.

That is the culture of losing, and its pathetic.

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#10 Quicksilver ballet
May 09 2014, 11:04AM
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Man, this team is two, even three yrs away from challenging or even making the post season. A full decade of failure. If you trade that 3rd, it'll only bring in one guy who may, or may not make them better. What about the other 4 or 5 glaring holes on this roster?

How can managements expectations ever have gotten so low. Endorsing failure year after year like this. I'd hate to see how bad it would be if our fearless leader didn't know so much about winning.

Hard to believe this City would bow so quickly before the Alter that is Daryl Katz. Giving him a new facility to house this crap in......puck you Daryl Katz, the undisputed leader of this ship show.

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#11 916oiler
May 09 2014, 11:29AM
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The Oilers have a good dilemma...which is followed by a terrible dilemma.

Hard to go wrong with one of Leon or Sam (or of course the other 2 if they fall).

But then the dirty Flames will get whoever we don't pick. BAH!

The way to go about the pick isn't to ask 'who do we not want to play against after Calgary drafts him', but it's tempting!

No no, we need to select the player who will give us the best chance to win a cup, bottom line.

I'm still torn between Draisaitl and Bennett.

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#12 kdunbar
May 09 2014, 11:36AM
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We are in this situation because...

a. the Oilers did not have a farm team for about 5 years b. The desperate attempts to be back in the play-offs trading away youth c. Putting too much stock into young players right away. (first Gagner, Neilson, Schremp; then Hall, Nuge, etc...) d. Not making needed moves that pay off for the last five years.

I am seeing improvement in all areas. Tambi for all he didn't do, he did help re-establish the farm team and that was good.

Mac T did not rush Nurse into the NHL and made the moves for Scrivens and Perron.

We will get one of Bennett Draisaitl or Ekblad.

They will hopefully be developed properly.

My hope is that Mac T is able to use the UFA and trade market to fill holes in the line up so that these young men can develop properly and only trade the number 3 if the return is worth it.

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#13 freelancer
May 09 2014, 10:36AM
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Great interview Gregor! The more I hear about this kid, the more and more I am impressed with him. Agree that in a couple years time he could become a fantastic, power top 6 guy.

The problem is that he is a couple years away. The real question is who is our 2nd line centre for the next couple years. Though I don't like it, it wouldn't surprise me to see Gagner back next fall.

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#14 Travis Bouchard
May 09 2014, 11:31AM
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Funny how everyone's fine waiting a few years for a player to develop a specific skillset or a mentality, but waiting for a player who already has those positive attributes to grow into a man is unacceptable.

It's Bennett. If you have to wait a few years, I'd rather draft the guy with the fire in his belly and silk in his gloves.

The Oilers record on drafting based on size is horrawful.

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#15 Numenius
May 09 2014, 11:32AM
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backup bob wrote:

Sounds like a good player with size and skill set. As Brian Burke would say, "How is his truculence?"

What is happening at Oilers head office? Things have been very quiet there.

Very quiet? They just signed Yakimov.

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#16 Neil
May 09 2014, 10:26AM
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I would imagine that Draisaitl will be ranked #4 on Bob Mckenzie final mock draft, from what I have read.

So if the Oilers do like him as much as some writers have stated he will probably be an Oiler

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#17 Sorensenator
May 09 2014, 10:04AM
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D wrote:

Does this mean the Oilers should trade the pick since they really need impact players now? Or should the Oilers stay the course and draft Draisaitl or another player who can dominate in four or five years?

If they cannot contribute until four or five years time then trade the pick absolutely.

The Oilers are desperate for a veteran 2 way centre man and a top pairing defender.

Yakupov is one too many projects, we do not need another.

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#18 michael
May 09 2014, 10:18AM
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The question forme in this years draft is not who is the best player available.The question for me is who is the player who makes those around him play better.

From what I have seen that is Sam Rheinhart. He makes the players around him better.

Just saying that what we need is not another BPA but a player who when he plays with the Oilers will make his teammates play even better.

Example.Hall.

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#19 kdunbar
May 09 2014, 11:40AM
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@Draisaitl makes sense

Arcobello should only be playing 2C in place of injury or clear outperformance.

Giving Jobs to guys before they are CLEARLY ready has been a fault of the Oilers for far too long.

Who ever the Oilers draft at #3 I would like to see back in Jr. for long term development and asset management.

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#20 Oilbaron
May 09 2014, 11:41AM
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michael wrote:

The question forme in this years draft is not who is the best player available.The question for me is who is the player who makes those around him play better.

From what I have seen that is Sam Rheinhart. He makes the players around him better.

Just saying that what we need is not another BPA but a player who when he plays with the Oilers will make his teammates play even better.

Example.Hall.

Sam Reinhart makes the players around him better in Junior, but is small and could take a few years to translate his skills to the NHL... especially if added to the Oilers who are already way to small in their top 6.

At least Bennett brings an aggressive side (which could really compliment Hall), and Draisaitl adds something the Oilers don't have any of right now... a player will elite skill AND size.

Reinhart will likely go to Florida or Buffalo anyway, which is fine because we already have plenty of small play making forwards.

Let's go Ekblad or Draisaitl!

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#21 Norm
May 09 2014, 10:21AM
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This is a very difficult draft for the Oilers. They need a 2C now. Gagner has fallen out of favour. They will have to trade for this 2C, as drafting it means they are putting extreme pressure on a 18 year old kid. They will not be drafting that player to play in 2014/15. Look for the pick that fits with 2015/16 when Nurse and Klefbom are regulars. Bennett? Draisaitl? Ekblad? My money is on Bennett!

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#22 Will
May 09 2014, 11:45AM
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Travis Bouchard wrote:

Funny how everyone's fine waiting a few years for a player to develop a specific skillset or a mentality, but waiting for a player who already has those positive attributes to grow into a man is unacceptable.

It's Bennett. If you have to wait a few years, I'd rather draft the guy with the fire in his belly and silk in his gloves.

The Oilers record on drafting based on size is horrawful.

Horrawful is a great word that I may steal.

And during the Tambellini era of coke machine drafting, it did go very very wrong.

However, recently it looks like they've turned the ship around and have been able to draft some interesting prospects with size. Yakimov, Chase, Khaira, Moroz, and Simpson. These are fairly recent picks that will still need some time, but many of them will be making their pro debut in the AHL next year, so the development train is at least moving forward.

I remember the team getting blasted for picking Moroz, but he had a great year in the dub, scored the game winning goal on Wednesday, has 16 points in the playoffs, and likely will turn out to be a type of player the Oilers don't have right now: the guy who goes to the net.

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#23 Spoils
May 09 2014, 12:28PM
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Will wrote:

Assuming Ekblad isn't available, this would be a good pick and give the Oilers depth at centre with their prospects. That would be Arco, Lander, Yakimov, and Draisaitl. Not to mention Jujhar Khaira and Moroz coming in on the wing means our forward prospects are a lot bigger than they were.

The more I see it the more it looks like Edmonton did the rebuild completely backwards. Had they got Marincin, Klefbomb, Nurse, Moroz, Khaira, Draisaitl, and Yakimov all well before Nuge, Hall, and Ebs, this team would be pretty damn amazing right now, instead of needing to wait on prospects to develop.

totally agree- superstar picks like Crosby/McDavid aside D take longer so we should've picked them first. At this point - given the maturation of our D - I say we are 4-5years from peak. that's what we should build for.

sacrificing the future for today is a mistake, because the pieces are already in place for the 4-5 year horizon (read Nurse, Klefbom, Yakupov etc.)

people need to get the idea of trading the 3rd pick and gagner for something to help today.

also - if we can't get Ekblad we HAVE to go with the size of the German.

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#24 Lochenzo
May 09 2014, 11:13AM
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Interesting that neither the Canes nor the Blue Jackets did very well in those deals for Staal and Carter. The Kings and the Flyers benefited greatly from the Carter trades.

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#25 Oilbaron
May 09 2014, 11:52AM
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@Will

It'll prob take a few years, but with all those prospects and the current talent, this team has the potential to be insane. To put it in media broadcasting terms, the Oilers probably have the highest ceiling of any NHL team right now

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#26 FuManShu
May 09 2014, 01:50PM
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Also want to add that in game 3 of the playoffs he could've had 5 assists against the Oil Kings. Wingers didn't finish after he sent clean backhand passes on the tape into the slot. Finished with 1 point though.

His ability to protect the puck is excellent.

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#27 Wintoon
May 09 2014, 01:01PM
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In the upcoming draft, Florida picks #1 and Buffalo picks #2 with the Oilers in the #3 slot. One major factor which I believe will come into play is the 'eastern bias'(and I am not being negative in saying thsi). This will apply to both Ekblad and Bennett as they both play in the OHL and the Florida and Buffalo scouts have most likely 'seen them good' more often than they have seen WHL products Reinhart and Draisaitl.

When this is combined with the tendency for NHL teams to view the OHL as a slightly higher talent producer and developmental training ground than the WHL, the result will likely be a pro OHL bias. While this may not be a totally conscious decision, I am convinced it will be a factor.

As a result, it is quite possible that the Oilers will be facing a choice between Reinhart and Draisaitl. If this occurs, it will make for a very interesting draft. Hopefully the Oilers will make an inspired choice that works well for years to come..

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#28 sintaxi
May 09 2014, 03:52PM
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@Zarny

Completely agree it's worth it. I just don't think trading Ebbs and/or Yak for a quality Center will be very easy and even if it can be done, it will be filling one hole by creating another.

However, drafting a quality Center prospect with the #3 pick this year will be easy by comparison. It fills a hole without creating new ones.

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#29 backup bob
May 09 2014, 11:21AM
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Sounds like a good player with size and skill set. As Brian Burke would say, "How is his truculence?"

What is happening at Oilers head office? Things have been very quiet there.

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#31 D
May 09 2014, 10:01AM
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Does this mean the Oilers should trade the pick since they really need impact players now? Or should the Oilers stay the course and draft Draisaitl or another player who can dominate in four or five years?

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#32 Oilbaron
May 09 2014, 11:48AM
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backup bob wrote:

Sounds like a good player with size and skill set. As Brian Burke would say, "How is his truculence?"

What is happening at Oilers head office? Things have been very quiet there.

Getting ready to announce the release of the assistant coaches, to be replaced by Toronto's assistant coaches. nah jk, but hopefully the former at least happens

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#33 Will
May 09 2014, 01:23PM
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Benny Botts wrote:

To Gregor and to all the other nation brethren,

Happy positive friday and I hope you spoil all the women close in your life who are fantastic mothers.

My question for everyone is, there seems to be a large group in the Draisaitl and Bennett bandwagon which is absolutely fair, they are both great players. But what do you do at number 3 if Ekblad falls there and either Draisaitl or Bennett are there?

IMO it is a tough tough decision because they are both a position of need but I cant help but lean to the big centremen or the big stud D-man. Makes for a great debate.

Have a great mothers day weekend nation!

You take Ekblad no question. Not only would he be considered BPA, but he is a big body, right shot defence man, who would be a franchise player on the back end.

Though we do have some really nice talent currently developing in Nurse, Klefbomb, and Marincin, they are all left handed shots. With Ekblad drafted, that would make the core going forward: Ekblad, Petry, and Schultz on the right, Nurse, Klefbomb and Marincin on the left.

In a few years time when that group has gelled together, Shultz isn't so defensively irresponsible, Nurse and Marincin will have gained some weight to go with their frames, and Klefbomb will have developed a bit more, that could be top to bottom one of the best defences in the NHL.

If Hall, Ebs, Nuge and maybe Yak were the high powered forward core we got through the draft, this would certainly complete the back end. And they'd all be young enough to not cost an arm and a leg. That is such a versatile defence with almost every type of player. Though Ekblad is the key. A guy that does it all and eats minutes, playing on the top pairing. Then whichever one of Klefbomb, Nurse, or Marincin end up being our Seabrook (my money is on Marincin), the Oilers finally have a legitimate top pairing D.

It will take some time but with the right development, this group of defensemen would be incredibly formidable.

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#34 OilersDynasty
May 09 2014, 11:16AM
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Can we snake Calgary's 4th pick from them to get both Ekblad (if he falls to us) and Draisaitl?

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#35 WhattaMike
May 09 2014, 01:57PM
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Aside from Ekblad.....Draisaitl is definitely the 2014 prospect player of choice here when compared to Bennett and Reinhart. His skill and talent is close/similar to the other two center prospects but the biggest advantage is size.

Being compared to Thornton or Kopitar as a very good center type player is awesome for the Oil to have...to go along with RNH then futures like Lander, Yakimov, Khaira, even Marco Roy.

Besides, people people people.... the worst scenario is that he may not even be available by the #3 pick for the Oil as Florida and Buffalo can easily take both Ekblad and Draisait beforehand.

BTW....In three to five years from now .... with slight concerns to the other center prospects... the OIL fanbase could be hugely complaining once again that either one of Bennett or Rein hart were too small for a top 2 line center position....almost eerily like what Gagner is going thru right now.

Thats what makes Draisaitl the best pick for center now. His 2 way play is very good, his points production is pretty awesome, his passing and playmaking could be a great Godsend for Yak, Ebs, Perron, Hall, etc, just as RNH is already. AND,....he is very hard to move off the puck in the corners. Can Reinhart or Bennett do that last one consistently in the NHL????

I would choose Ekblad first then Draisiatl second if given the choice....but if there is to be a third last option then its Reinhart.

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#36 Sorensenator
May 09 2014, 10:56AM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

When was the last time a team traded a top-five pick for an impact player?

The Hurricanes dealt the #8 pick, Brandon Sutter and Dumoulin ( 2009,2nd round pick) for Jordan Staal

The Blue Jackets gave up #8 pick, Jakob Voracek and a 3rd round pick for Jeff Carter.

I don't see the Oilers moving the 3rd plus another young player for a guy similar to Staal.

Teams are leery to trade top-five picks because of their potential to be great, and because the return usually isn't a great player.

As painful as it is, I think the Oilers best option is to use the pick and keep developing.

I don't think it's relevant the last time a team traded a top 5 pick, the Oilers situation is unique. They have 3 first overall picks and many young defenders in the system, how many young players do they need at once to rely on?

The return for the #3 overall pick can be maximized by packaging a player like Gagner and a prospect like Klefbom.

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#37 pelhem grenville
May 09 2014, 12:36PM
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Jason you said " ...but if the team that drafts him is patient and fights the urge to rush him they will have a very good NHL player in a few seasons..."

...what's to say the oilers is that kind of team ...patient? NOT! fights the urge to rush him? NOT! ...and this is why, even though I've been on this Draisaitl for quite sometime I FEAR that the oilers will EFFF THIS UP !!!

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#38 Mezzo
May 09 2014, 01:12PM
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@Benny Botts

You don't pass up Ekblad. You draft BPA not based on team needs or which needs (you deem) are more important.

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#39 FuManShu
May 09 2014, 01:46PM
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I say keep the pick and draft Draisaitl. I hope Ekblad and Bennet are gone so we can take the logical choice and not have the doubters whine.

I think Draisaitl is the best pick for the Oilers. One more year in the dub and maybe 0.5 to 1 year in the AHL.

I like what you said about the possibility for more room to grow Jason. Considering he just started competing against top competition, it's a huge factor. Similar to how people say Bennet's age is a factor too.

This is different than Swedes and Russians coming in because they play top competition in their respective countries. Germany isn't there yet.

1. Ekblad

2. Bennet

3. Draisaitl

4. Reinhart

5. Dal Colle

6. Ehlers

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#40 FuManShu
May 09 2014, 04:14PM
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Zarny wrote:

@sintaxi

Top 6 W are the easiest top 6 F/top 4 D player to find. Which is why no team builds around LW/RW. Half of Pit LW (Kunitz & Dupuis) were undrafted.

Moving Eberle and/or Yakupov to get solutions at C or D is worth it.

I would gladly move Eberle for a centre. Yakupov wouldn't get us the centre we need due to low value. I also think his ceiling could be higher than Eberle's but potential =/= results.

Ryan O'Reilly for Eberle as the main part of a deal is intriguing. ROR is a hell of a 2 way player. Not a big centre, but not small. Very Effective

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#41 Benny Botts
May 09 2014, 01:30PM
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Will wrote:

You take Ekblad no question. Not only would he be considered BPA, but he is a big body, right shot defence man, who would be a franchise player on the back end.

Though we do have some really nice talent currently developing in Nurse, Klefbomb, and Marincin, they are all left handed shots. With Ekblad drafted, that would make the core going forward: Ekblad, Petry, and Schultz on the right, Nurse, Klefbomb and Marincin on the left.

In a few years time when that group has gelled together, Shultz isn't so defensively irresponsible, Nurse and Marincin will have gained some weight to go with their frames, and Klefbomb will have developed a bit more, that could be top to bottom one of the best defences in the NHL.

If Hall, Ebs, Nuge and maybe Yak were the high powered forward core we got through the draft, this would certainly complete the back end. And they'd all be young enough to not cost an arm and a leg. That is such a versatile defence with almost every type of player. Though Ekblad is the key. A guy that does it all and eats minutes, playing on the top pairing. Then whichever one of Klefbomb, Nurse, or Marincin end up being our Seabrook (my money is on Marincin), the Oilers finally have a legitimate top pairing D.

It will take some time but with the right development, this group of defensemen would be incredibly formidable.

Will,

I like this, and that D-core in 3-4 years would be scary good! But 3-4 years, is a tough pill to swallow I unfortunatley think one of those guys (Marincin, Klefbom, Schultz) will be on the move for some more experienced help. I don't think you want your core of Hall, RNH, and eberle burning off another 3 to 4 years of their contracts to wait for that D core to develope. I am afraid they might have to give something good, to get something good.

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#42 Will
May 09 2014, 01:50PM
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Benny Botts wrote:

Will,

I like this, and that D-core in 3-4 years would be scary good! But 3-4 years, is a tough pill to swallow I unfortunatley think one of those guys (Marincin, Klefbom, Schultz) will be on the move for some more experienced help. I don't think you want your core of Hall, RNH, and eberle burning off another 3 to 4 years of their contracts to wait for that D core to develope. I am afraid they might have to give something good, to get something good.

I don't disagree really in that as a fan it would suck to watch another few years of waiting for our D core to develop. As well Hall and Ebs and Nuge would burn more years on their contracts.

However, I'm not saying the team will completely suck and be the exact team with no help up until that point.

In fact the combination of a new coach, bad goal tending, Gagner and Yak on the same line, and some learning curves with a few new systems likely made this team look a lot worse than it really was.

There's nothing written that doesn't say while this D core is developing, the Oilers aren't starting to challenge for a play off spot, and maybe make it in one of those years.

Ferrance is not in this plan and I can't see all of these guys suddenly coming into the NHL at once. So obviously there is a time during this development while the team is still trying to be better.

This also says little of what the other three forward lines would look like, and what could be brought in to make them more balanced and better two way.

Hall Nuge and Ebs are locked up long term but I see Gagner and Yak's spots as replaceable. Them, future high draft picks, and even more prospects all coming up under the ones I mentioned (Moroz, Khaira, Simpson, Chase, Arcobello, Lander, Yakimov, Gernat, Musil) could all be the chips needed to bring in said help in the meantime.

All I'm really saying is that if this our group of defenders in 4 years time, the Oilers won't just be a playoff team, they'll be a perennial cup contender. Do you see another way to make this team a cup contender in a shorter amount of time?

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#43 Will
May 09 2014, 03:09PM
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Zarny wrote:

A D core of Petry, Schultz, Ekblad, Nurse, Marincin and Klefbom would be an unmitigated disaster. Sam Gagner, who is all of 24 y/o, has more experience than all 6 combined.

We've seen the result of playing a bunch of 19-22 y/o with no veteran support on F. A D core as you describe would make the problems on F look like a kids' birthday party in comparison. And with no veterans to mentor the kids will never reach their full potential.

I'm pretty sure I caveat all of that with the phrase: the right development. I agree if next year that is the D core, bad things are on the horizon, but if that is our D core in 3 or four years, after Ferrance and maybe another veteran D has helped mentor and develop these kids properly as they come into the league.

Then ya, I stand by my original conclusion. Not every team has a Weber to mentor their Jones, or a Suter to mentor their Brodins. At some point these kids, just like our forward core, will have to look to themselves to be the leaders.

Moreover, in 3 years, Petry is that veteran, and even a guy like Shultz should just be hitting his prime.

I grant you it's a younger core, but in that time span there is plenty time to develop these guys, especially given their talent levels.

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#44 Zarny
May 09 2014, 03:20PM
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This is a weak draft year so it's doubtful any kid this year will be dominant until they are at least 22-23 if they ever are at all. That's 4-5 years from now when Taylor Hall has 1-2 years left on his contract. Not a great plan.

It's a nice interview but every kid now says the right things. They are professionally coached to say the right things. And every year scouts make ridiculous comparisons that never come to fruition.

In 2011, Nuge's vision was compared to Gretzky's. Adam Larsson was completely dominant at the WJC both physically and defensively. He was compared to Victor Hedman but with more offensive upside. The rundown on Jonathan Huberdeau was that "No top-ten prospect improved his draft position more from season's start to season's end. Dominant in the QMJHL playoffs, notching 16 goals and capturing playoff MVP honours." Sam Reinhart V1.0.

Mr. Gregor is correct that teams are leery to trade top 5 picks because of their potential to be great; which is why the 3rd overall pick has value.

And the consensus from scouting reports is that this is a weak draft year with some estimating no one in 2014 would have cracked the top 8 last year. Which is why there is speculation you could actually see more than a few 1st round picks get traded this year. Not all draft years are equal and this isn't a strong draft year.

Carolina failed miserably and are rumored to be looking to shed salary so Jordan Staal could be available. None of the C this year are projected to have a higher upside than Sean Couturier but at least he's only 1-2 years from his prime.

It's easy to say players aren't available. Just like Schneider and Seguin weren't available last year. Just like there is no way Phi was going to trade Carter and Richards.

Trades are certainly difficult to make in the NHL, but trading the 3rd overall pick should be plan A. Drafting another 18 y/o who won't be ready for 4-5 years doesn't help.

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#45 Zarny
May 09 2014, 03:39PM
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@sintaxi

Top 6 W are the easiest top 6 F/top 4 D player to find. Which is why no team builds around LW/RW. Half of Pit LW (Kunitz & Dupuis) were undrafted.

Moving Eberle and/or Yakupov to get solutions at C or D is worth it.

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#46 FuManShu
May 09 2014, 04:16PM
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Jason Gregor wrote:

They would gladly take Ekblad. I'd be shocked if he drops to #3, which is why I haven't written much about him, but if Buffalo and Florida shock us then the Oilers would happily take him.

Seeing as we need a high end centre prospect vs. a dman (granted we need a Right shot dman), I hope Ekblad and Bennet are gone and we can take the big centre we sorely need

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#47 Quicksilver ballet
May 09 2014, 05:05PM
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@Zarny

A D core of Petry, Schultz, Ekblad, Nurse, Marincin and Klefbom would be an unmitigated disaster. Sam Gagner, who is all of 24 y/o, has more experience than all 6 combined.

___________________________________________________________________________

Moving that third for a second pairing d'man won't prevent a repeat performance of last year Zarny. One guy when there are holes rampant throughout the lineup.

Your aptly named unmitigated disaster season will continue for atleast another 12 or so months. I'd rather come out of that U/D season with an Bennett/Draisaitl/Ekblad. Heck sell the farm and get two. That way after this U/D season, you may also have McDavid to show for it. Their path is already set out before them with so many changes still required.

Next year is over, long before it even started with managerial expectations at an all time low. There's easily a dozen changes/upgrades to come, and at the pace since MacT took over, this means atleast two more years of work to be done.

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#48 BC BOY
May 09 2014, 06:02PM
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I don't think Ekblad is a lock to go to Florida. Colorado was in the same situation last year. Colorado needed a stud defenceman but they passed on Jones and took a forward. It worked out great for them and it wouldn't surprise me at all if Florida did the same thing. Both buffalo and florida don't lack defence but they are starving for some scoring.

Ekblad would look awesome in Oilers silks but Draisaitl would to!

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#49 freelancer
May 09 2014, 11:52AM
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Oilbaron wrote:

Sam Reinhart makes the players around him better in Junior, but is small and could take a few years to translate his skills to the NHL... especially if added to the Oilers who are already way to small in their top 6.

At least Bennett brings an aggressive side (which could really compliment Hall), and Draisaitl adds something the Oilers don't have any of right now... a player will elite skill AND size.

Reinhart will likely go to Florida or Buffalo anyway, which is fine because we already have plenty of small play making forwards.

Let's go Ekblad or Draisaitl!

Looking at centres in this draft as a whole, here is how I would rate them.

Bennett>Reinhart>Drasaitl

The difference between Drasaitl and Reinhart is close, Reinhart winning in IQ and speed vs Drasaitl on size and 2 way game. Either way I don't see a way that Bennett falls to us. He will be picked up by Florida or Buffalo.

On a different note. I think we don't have the space in this lineup for Reinhart, but I wonder that if we drafted him, we could convince Griffin Reinhart to come here as well.

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#50 Benny Botts
May 09 2014, 12:54PM
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To Gregor and to all the other nation brethren,

Happy positive friday and I hope you spoil all the women close in your life who are fantastic mothers.

My question for everyone is, there seems to be a large group in the Draisaitl and Bennett bandwagon which is absolutely fair, they are both great players. But what do you do at number 3 if Ekblad falls there and either Draisaitl or Bennett are there?

IMO it is a tough tough decision because they are both a position of need but I cant help but lean to the big centremen or the big stud D-man. Makes for a great debate.

Have a great mothers day weekend nation!

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