draisaitl draft board

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.

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(Original article here)

(Second look here)


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):

  1. Taylor Hall 17-29-46 .561
  2. Nail Yakupov 18-22-40 .488
  3. Leon Draisaitl 15-25-40 .488
  4. 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:

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  1. Taylor Hall 65, 22-20-42 .646 (6 more points than projected)
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 62, 18-34-52 .839 (22 more points than projected)
  3. 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:

  1. Taylor Hall 65, 14-17-31 .476
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 62, 15-14-29 .468
  3. 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.


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
    against Kootenay.

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.

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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. 

  • They should be planning to send him back to Junior to work on his game and consistency and be tossed into the position to prove the coaches wrong.

    I crave for the day that we have healthy competition to finalize our rosters rather than handing 17 and 18 year Olds, full time NHL jobs.

  • I tried it at home

    Pretty damn confident, very good at bluffing, or, heres a thought, clueless about what to do to allow for anything less then a long shot working out perfectly. I dont wanna say “Incompetent” but….


      It has been reported that the oilers went after Jokinen, Legwand and even Riberio not to mention how many more we are unaware of.. on tap of that how many calls were made to try and trade for a center. I am quite certain every call they made to other GM’s began with we want your next years 1st etc… It’s not incompetence if every center they called said no and then signed with more attractive cities or climate’s.

      Man this is one tough hockey franchise to run.

      What is incompetent is to trade next years 1st. We are where we are and maybe Draisaitl has what it takes. I personally compare him to Landeskog in terms of being the most NHL ready of the forwards drafted.. Time will tell.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    This isn’t a question that even needs to be asked. Ready or not, wether its good for him or not. The oilers are desperate and have no other option thanks to the genius that is oilers management who seemingly have life long employment regardless of results.

  • BC BOY

    Forwards picked in the top 3 of the draft generally get played right of the draft. And the ones that don’t are usually undersized.

    So as crazy as it seems playing a 18 year old I’m sure if other organizations drafted Leon the majority of them would be giving him a shot to.

  • Raider Jesse

    I think he’ll do fine. He’s going to end up with two decent pro level wingers, and he’s going to get the soft parade in terms of offensive zone starts. Most seem to have him penciled in with possession standouts Pouliot and Purcell, and I think that would work.

    However, I’m thinking more and more that a Pouliot – Draisaitl – Yakupov line might be what the doctor ordered. Give em 50%+ offensive zone starts and let the rubber fly. This would free up Purcell who has a history of playing to the level his teammates a chance to find chemistry with Hall and allow us to have a legit high end trigger man on each line.

    The other side of this coin is that if he is sent back to juniors and we move that contract back a year we are all but guaranteeing someone who will out perform his cap hit in years two and three of his deal. This is also likely going to be closer to our win now time.

    So we have a crossroads here. We have such a hole at center, that we all know he’s staying. It’s probably going to work out okay and everyone will forget this was a conversation point until his contract is up and we all yell and scream about him being a UFA so early.

    All I know is training camp can’t start soon enough.

    PS Send Nurse back. Just do it. Let Klefbom and Marincin get some major league at bats on the left side and let’s complete the smart play and push the young defenders contract to the max.

    – Raider Jesse @EdmontonRaider

  • I tried it at home

    Hey Allan can you give us a current height and weight for Driasaitl as well as our big three D men…Nurse, Klefbom, and Marincin….need to know if they have been seen with milkshakes in hand !

  • Young Oil

    I know I’m far from a scout, and I’m hardly saying I know how players will transition to the NHL, but looking back at Hall and RNH, their highlight packages from junior are incredibly similar to how they played coming into the NHL, and comparing Draisaitl to them, he looks just as good as them at the same stage of development. Consistency is always an issue for younger players, and if he skates as well as he can all the time, footspeed won’t be an issue. If you look at the highlights, he only coasts when he knows he has the time to, just like Nuge and Hall did at times in junior. When he needs to go fast, he is pretty quick.

    This coupled with the fact that Draisaitl will be playing with NHL players who can think the game at his level, and I really think that this kid is going to do great. Again, I’m far from a scout, but all the signs look good from here.


    Taylor Hall:




    Like BC Boy said, top 3 forward picks are usually played in the NHL anyway, combine that with the fact that his NHLE is in the same realm as our 1 overall picks, AND that unlike the 1 picks he won’t be slammed with quite the same pressure that they were to be the number one players on the team right now. I am very confident that he will shine in the NHL. Draisatl will kill it. I think people question both Draisatl and Arco too much, they are both going to do just fine. I concede that we are unproven up the middle, but I don’t think we are as thin up the middle as many think. I feel like Lander is also decent injury insurance. Maybe I’ve had too much Kool Aid, but as many people have said in the past, I think this year will surprise the naysayers.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    Don’t rush any more picks!! Not any one player will bring a Stanley Cup to Edmonton this year. Ride it out with centers we. Have now. We will still be a .500+ team. Just outside playoffs. Teams need to be built for the long term, not “win now” at. Any cost.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      just because he’s 18, he’s automatically being “rushed”? bullspit! if he’s appears ready after pre season, then play him, end of story! you don’t put a player back in junior because of fan perception that he’s not ready when he may indeed be.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    As Tippett would say – you play to win and not to have to develop kids . Draisaitl is a winner , and thus will be on squad this season and thus will not be going back to juniors .

  • Serious Gord

    Yak, hall, and RNH are all irrelevant examples. They are forwards – draisaitl is not.

    A better comparison would be to look at the history of top five (or ten) defense picks that made the jump in the first season. Is it higher than one in ten? I doubt it. And Of those who made the jump, how many developed to expectations? Even fewer.

    I think the temptation of management is to keep him up in order to distract fans from the yawning gap at center and the lack of first line D. Again selling hope rather than a competitive nhl team.

    Unless he looks like the best d man the oil has, he should go back to junior. Give home the mad number of games in the nhl if he doesn’t look completely lost, then send him back to get what he likely really needs at this stage – huge amounts of ice time and lesser competition to experiment and develop HIS game.


    Is he ready for the NHL? I don’t think offensive numbers are the be-all end all, and the equivalencies are sometimes wrong (ex: Nuge). My guess is offensively he’s ready to come in and provide secondary scoring. Physically, sounds like he’s going to be ready too, as I guess he’s 215 lbs….nothing to scoff at. My guess is that he adds to the defensive woes of the team, at least for the first half of the year. He better be put with some serious defensively minded wingers if there’s going to be success – but then how do you get him the minutes?

  • “The Oilers clearly think he’s ready, they’ve done sweet fa to go outside the organization for immediate help”

    this made me laugh out loud….best analysis i’ve seen from Lowetide in a while.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Bring Leon and Darnell up for their 9 games at the end of the season. Long after Oiler playoff hopes have died.

    Add some value to this seasons death march.