August 12 2014 01:19PM
The Edmonton Oilers made an unsurprising but still positive announcement on Tuesday morning, revealing that third overall pick Leon Draisaitl had been signed by the team.
Draisaitl’s signing comes after a number of other NHL teams had already reached deals with top picks from the 2014 Draft, but unlike in previous years – especially in 2012, when the Oilers waited until to sign Nail Yakupov – there wasn’t really any sense of concern in the public sphere. The deals for top picks are pretty straight-forward; players near the top of the draft get the rookie max or close to it and the number slides downward based on draft position.
Still, it’s a non-trivial signing because there’s a very good chance the Oilers lean hard on Draisaitl this year.
While Edmonton has (encouragingly) placed a number of obstacles in the path of Darnell Nurse and Oscar Klefbom, forcing both to clearly win a spot in training camp over an established player if they are to play in the NHL, the same is not true in the case of Draisaitl. Discounting the rookie, at this point Edmonton’s No. 2 and No. 3 pivots are Mark Arcobello and Anton Lander, and if a third overall pick can’t beat Lander out for a job on a scoring line it will be a very great shock.
It’s August, which means the Oilers still have time to add another pivot to the mix, which would at least setup a contest between Arcobello and Draisaitl for the final centre spot. Of course, anyone who has followed the NHL knows that top-flight players don’t generally become available this late in the summer, as teams generally like to have their rosters figured out by some point in July.
If the status quo remains unchanged, it’s a virtual certainty that Draisaitl plays pivotal minutes in Edmonton next season.
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