The Edmonton Oilers are old hands at graduating players right out of the draft. Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov made the jump season over season over season, a rare item (for one team) in the game’s history. This year, it looks like they may do it again. I’ve asked it twice, and I’m asking it again: Is Leon Draisaitl ready?
We looked at the question before the draft, and after it, and today we have a closer look.
RECENT NHL EQUIVALENCIES
One of the ways we can look at this is to compare recent picks, the NHL equivalencies and then their draft year +1. First, I’ll throw some Oilers NHLE’s from recent years (including Leon’s):
- Taylor Hall 17-29-46 .561
- Nail Yakupov 18-22-40 .488
- Leon Draisaitl 15-25-40 .488
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 11-27-38 .463
That’s per 82gp, and the ppg totals are based on a complete season. Now, let’s have a look at the actual totals:
- Taylor Hall 65, 22-20-42 .646 (6 more points than projected)
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 62, 18-34-52 .839 (22 more points than projected)
- Nail Yakupov 48, 17-14-31 .646 (8 points more than projected)
Based on NHLE’s, Draisaitl will probably post reasonable numbers in an NHL role if he’s given major power-play minutes. However, that isn’t certain. Let’s have a look at the three Oiler No. 1 overall picks and see how they performed at even strength:
- Taylor Hall 65, 14-17-31 .476
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 62, 15-14-29 .468
- Nail Yakupov 48, 11-10-21 .438
If Draisaitl can post 30 EV points, even with 2nd power-play minutes he might be able to post a 45 point season. If he got to 50, he might be in the Calder conversation.
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘SAW HIM GOOD’ CROWD?
If the math suggests he can play (and 40 NHLE points landed Nuge and Yakupov in a good spot) is there anything the scouting reports are screaming?
Red Line Report: Huge German centre is tenacious in puck
pursuit with his relentless forecheck often creating chances for
linemates. Dominates the game down low with outstanding puck protection.
Constantly outthinks the opposition and knows where his outlets are at
all times. Has learned to use his size to carve out space for himself
and effectively separate opponents from the puck. Strong hockey sense in
all three zones leads to good positioning. Traditional playmaking
centre finds ‘mates with crisp, accurate passes. Intelligent, two-way,
classically schooled centre. Outshone Reinhart in head-to-head action
Hmmm. Nothing negative there. I generally regard Red Line as the best resource, and they are absolutely the hardest markers among the famous scouting services.
International Scouting Services: Draisaitl could be one of the biggest
wildcards of the entire draft. There is no doubting his talent. He has
good size, great puck skills, strong understanding of possession and puck management and could be considered an elite
playmaker with the puck on his stick. He can at times remind of the
likes of Getzlaf, Jagr, Thornton and Malkin but he can also fall off the radar very quickly.
When he is on, he can be nearly unstoppable and can absolutely decimate
opposing defensive structures and goaltender’s confidence. He could be a steal wherever he
is selected but will need to add some further maturity and consistent
scoring punch if he is ever to meet the potential he has shown in flashes up to now.
Okay, there are some issues here. ISS is concerned about consistency. I keep looking for skating issues being mentioned, but they seem to have fallen away (this sometimes happens with maturing prospects).
Hell, men and ladies I don’t know. The Oilers graduate these kids so damn fast but it’s also true they are instantly among their best players. Is Leon ready to roll? My brain says no, keep your powder dry. The math says full steam ahead, and the saw him good group is looking pretty deep to find fault.
The Oilers clearly think he’s ready, they’ve done sweet fa to go outside the organization for immediate help. Management is going to give him every chance to win this job, and then worry about a replacement if it doesn’t happen. They’re pretty damn confident, or very good at bluffing.