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).


  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.


  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


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?

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    If Reinhart is still there at pick # 4 I’m not sure it’s a lock that Burke takes him. Might take Dal Colle, Vertanin or Ritchie.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    I can imagine certain scenarios where the Oilers trade down to the 5th pick.

    1) if Ekblad and Draisaitl go 1, 2

    2) if NYI are interested in Sam Gagner and whoevers there at 3 that’s not named Ekblad, where Gagner and the 3rd brings back Griffin Reinhart and the 5th….or something like that

    Oilers end up with G. Reinhart and Sam Reinhart or Nylander or Dal Colle or Vertanin etc.(maybe Centre Josh Bailey is a part of the deal)

    I think it’s possible that the Oilers brass are still interested in Griffin Reinhart and might be higher on those draft eligible players ranked 5 through 8 than is being given any consideration here on Oilersnation.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)


    Thanks for putting up the NHLE for top 15 from LT’s blog.

    If you look at the goal production NHLE it puts Nick Ritchie at tied for third. Is this a case like Monahen last year of being on marginal team with not a lot of top end skill around him? He did lead his team in scoring, regular season and postseason.

    We could keep comparing Ritchie straight up to figure his value on NHLE, but my argument for consideration of this player isn’t based just on NHLE.

    Ritchie is bringing you other dimensions outside the NHLE metric. He is a physically dominating force who can also score. Best package by type of player in the last four draft years.

    This hits with more certainty on the dimension of the Oiler team where they are at least as equally short as compared with their other deficiencies 🙂 – heavy team. It looks like LA is the team to beat now and it is vital that Edmonton start tipping the scales to a more balanced position with that winning model.

    To put it another way, say we don’t take Ritchie, say he goes to Vancouver, Winnipeg or Anaheim in the West along the lines of his draft ranking. This means Oil continue to be without serious size in top six and playing catchup with with a beast of a player on another West team. Don’t worry, we’ll be drafting high again next year, we’ll get our second line center then :-))

    From reports on Oil King and PA series, it took a matchup of Griffin Reinhart on LD to keep him fairly quiet. We need more beef.

    Before responding please watch:

  • BlazingSaitls

    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)

    6.Dal Cole