Edmonton Oilers sign 2014 third overall pick Leon Draisaitl

Jonathan Willis
August 12 2014 01:19PM

Draisaitl, Leon

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 signing

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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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 OiledStatGuy
August 12 2014, 11:54PM
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@Ed in Edmotnon

That players improve most from 19 to 23 is basis of both our arguments. This isn't assumption it is statistical norm.

Seven year contract starting at 23 - 24 would optimize RFA contract as it would cover most productive years. But, at 23 - 24 you reach 90% of potential so it is statistically most expensive contract.

Signing at 19 - 20 is statistically best time to optimize for least expensive contract.

Would be interesting research to compare early and late contracts to compare production per million.

If your team has good track record on signing second contract, why not go less expensive route? One reason, late contract is more predictable as development mostly complete, even more true for elite players. (see Brander study) Otherwise, sign them early.

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#52 IM80
August 13 2014, 05:51AM
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I'm still uneasy about having Arco slotted as 2C. Advanced stats are actually in his favour, however, just by watching him and looking at the makeup of this team, i can't help but think he just isn't the right fit.

Let's see how Leon does...

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#53 IM80
August 13 2014, 05:56AM
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Cccsberg wrote:

Interesting predictions, and in the midst of summer hope springs eternal. Here's a different version:

Draisaitl gets thrown to the wolves, crushed by the other new German to the league opening night, the Big, Bad David Wolf, and repeatedly hammered with little team support coming to his rescue, resulting in serious shock and intimidation, moving back his development 2-3 years, and probably dropping his overall ceiling considerably. He has an up and down opening season, while the Calder is a dogfight between Drouin and Gaudreau.

The Oilers, hopefully, still manage about a 10 point improvement on the season but still finish about 25th overall. Two defense prospects come in and settle in slowly, looking pretty good by season's end.

Yak is still struggling, and gets dealt in-season along with a third defense prospect for a solid 1-2 defender. At year-end the defense is finally looking ok, but Center is still weak. They draft another Center. Oilers finish behind the Canucks, Jets and Flames, again.

Seats still sold out so no incentive for major changes to the "core". 2015-2016 season starts with the all-time losing non-playoff record on the line. Oilers get another record...

I am as cynical as you, so that sounds about right, but let's hope we're wrong.

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