Edmonton Oilers sign 2014 third overall pick Leon Draisaitl

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

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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.

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If the status quo remains unchanged, it’s a virtual
certainty that Draisaitl plays pivotal minutes in Edmonton next season. 


  • vetinari

    Welcome aboard, Leon… watch some Gagner game film and please don’t follow his example (unless you think you can duplicate or beat an 8 point night, in which case, go to town)…

  • Retsinnab5

    What we need now is to sign more young players with last names starting with vowels in order to come up with some acronym. Can’t spell hope anymore! D H E S Y…

  • BlazingSaitls

    I consider this,

    Oilers Rebuild IV: A New Hope

    Draisaitl will have an epic rookie campaign. I am fully expecting a Calder trophy for Draisaitl and at least 10 pull-ups from Sammy B.

    The Oilers will be battling for a wildcard spot late into the season but this wont be the year. However, for once in many years there will be league wide optimism with regards to the Oilers.

    I may not be able to make bold moves for the Oilers but I can at least make some bold predictions.

  • Spurzey

    I hope Leon is ready. Well managed teams would have a plan B. Arco is not that plan.

    Mactavish should have signed a legit #2 Center, as mentioned numerous times in other posts. An injury to RNH early in the new season, and kiss the playoffs goodbye.

    • I agree. I hope Leon is ready but either way, they need another C. Arco should be on the farm as a first call up or in the press box/4RW. If he plays 2C we get McDavid…or at least a shot at him.

    • I think it is fair to say that the entire world is aware of the oilers center problem.. even the staff at McDonald’s in Shanghai China are talking about it.. It has been strongly rumoured Mact tried on many occasions to sign every free agent center available.. None wanted to come to Edmonton.

      He now has to decide to trade for one.. but .. who is he giving up? Not Perron or Yak or Ebs.. we are where we are and will see how things roll out at camp. I for one believe in Arco and also believe if Draisaitl makes the team on MERIT then fine. His NHLE is excellent and if he is as ready as Landeskog and Nuge were this argument will be moot in three months time.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        Last year the season was lost in the 1st week of November. To start the new season, having to rely on Leon is bad management. If things go wrong at camp, it could be too late.

        • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

          The first week last was lost DUE to bad Goaltending. I did not say we have to rely on Leon what I did say was IF he makes the team on MERIT meaning he earned his spot by beating out the other forwards at camp then Fine as long as they are NOT giving it to him.

          As for Arco.. his possession numbers and PPG were very good last year when playing with skill. Again I am quite happy to go to camp with the centers we have rather than making a stupid trade like Perron or worse next years first.

  • Philly, Chicago, Boston, and Tampa are still over the cap. We will still have to see some moves from those teams before October. Still hoping MacT can take a contract to bring in a centre.

    Either way welcome aboard Leon

  • Serious Gord

    Sickening that the team is so bereft of depth that the oil will pull players straight from junior into significant nhl minutes – be an actual relied upon part of the team.

    Eight years of rebuild or what ever you want to call it and this team still cannot field four nhl centers. What a disgrace.

    • ChinookArchYYC

      Why is this being trashed? I get that it’s a bit negative, but it’s also 100% accurate.

      The kid played in the WHL last year. Isn’t it just a bit early to call him the next saviour? More importantly, shouldn’t the Oilers management be putting the long term aspirations of the club ahead of next year. Center is the hardest position to play, and he’ll have to play mistake free or fans soon turn to a rioting mob.


  • Leon so far has the recipe for solid NHL success.
    Not only does he have size and skill but if you listen to his interviews, his attitude and the way that he presents himself is well more mature than his age would suggest.

    I hope he has success and I think his transition to the NHL may be easier than some are suggesting. I don’t like rushing players, but if it needs to be done; which it’s looking like it will, then it’d be hard pressed to find a better candidate to make a successful bid at it.

      • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

        Except it is awfully close to neon dion, as in neon dion sanders. With respect to the #7 post above, it would be great to see a calder finally come to Edmonton but I think Leon is in really tough this year, especially with Drouin making his debut in Tampa.

    • Why? He has similar boxcars to what RNH had, and he started in NHL, as did most of the top forward draft picks last year. Given he already has a big mans build, and given we need a soft minutes center (Arco can be the second line center), its a no-brainer he makes the team, unless has a terrible preseason. On a soft minutes line with Yak would be fun to see IMO, and a good way to get feet wet in NHL.

  • Johnnydapunk

    Realise this may be off topic, but I was also happy to see the former NAIT Ooks coach Perry Pearn land another job as an assistant with the Nucks.

    It’s always good to see someone semi local doing well.

  • hallsyoilerforever5

    He’s been working out with Yakupov. Building chemistry for the duo. I won’t be surprised if they’re together on a line this season. Draisaitl dishing pucks to Yakupov would be exciting to watch.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    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 really hate the idea of rushing Draisaitls development. Yes he is physically mature, but is he smart and quick enough to keep up with the elite center’s in the western conference?

    While most #1 picks are ready for the NHL’s speed right away this is usually not the case for most of the other players in the draft. Just look how long it took for #2 JVR and #3 Kyle Turris to find their games.

    Spezza was a #2 pick and the Sens purposely gave him extra years to develop in the minors and AHL because they knew in the long term it would be best for the player and the franchise.

    How much better would Nuge be right now if he wasn’t rushed into the NHL and given a chance to physically mature instead of spending much of his time injured.

    The Oilers are finally in position where they finally have some depth. Find a way for Arco/Lander and potentially another C via trade to fill the #2 slot for 1 or 2 years. Then bring Leon in and watch him dominate.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      I agree with most of what you say. Although there is no reason to believe RNH would be better today if he played another 2 year in RD.

      However the Oil have hastened RNH’s UFA age by 2 years for what? A coddled rookie season and a 4 goal injury plagued 2nd season. It’s not good asset management to trade 2 fully developed years of RFA for 2 development years.

      • Oilers89

        Not completely convinced of this asset management logic.

        The Oil wrapped up RNH for seven years at 6 mil. If you waited till D+4 to sign that contract you might be looking at 2 to 3 million more per season, with better established position for Nuge to bargain from and higher cap. Your points per million is going to be substantially less for seven seasons. (Compare Subban situation.)

        Now, has anyone worked stats on frequency that top line centers resign w same club? If this approaches 80 percent, all else being equal, then things swing in favour of Nuge signing early as good asset management.

        Remember that even if you don’t resign Nuge you still can retain residual value in a trade for a 27 year old stud.

        • ChinookArchYYC

          You are assuming that RNH will have the results to get something more than 6M at D+4. I hope this turns out to be the case, but at this point it is an assumption.

          Basically a team gets 7 years of RFA. It seems unwise to spend 2 of these on developing players when they could be interchanged for prime years.

          You can only get value for a 27 year old stud if you have a contract for him. If the player is approaching UFA you don’t get so much.

          • 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.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I honestly think Arco will do fine at 2C or 3C this season, the guy plays with heart and racks up assists, play him with a bigger body like pouliot and hopefully he will have success like he did in OKC

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    LEON “THE DARK KNIGHT ” Draisaitl will lead our young Oilers out of the depth of the cellar dwellers . What an imposing figure in his recent stubble (beard attempt) and manly physique . His stature will be the envy of his teammates who will rally around him . On Oilers site he already looks much older than our young stars and far more physically imposing . Some kids develop early and he definitely looks like one that has . Also , very well spoken for such a young man . Catch the signing video on Oilers site and judge for yourself . With his beard growth and size he does not look like a junior .

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Leon has a body structure that reminds me of J.Kurri .Thick thru neck and upper body with powerful legs , and very difficult to knock off puck or physically manhandle .

  • Oilers89

    I don’t get why people doubt Arco. He hasn’t proven himself in the NHL yet, but during his time with skilled players he was good. He went back to the AHL last year and dominated. He is clearly too good for the AHL. Does that mean success in the NHL? No, of course not, but he has shown that he is a good bet to be an NHL player. If Chicago can win a cup with an outdated Handzus as their 2nd line centre, then I am sure the Oil can be competitive with Arco as their 2nd line centre. Arco 100% hasn’t shown to be a liability in the NHL and with our upgraded wingers + the new winger’s size, he will be in a position to succeed. If Lander was our only option as 2C I would be worried because he hasn’t had scoring success at the NHL level yet, even when playing with skill. Personally I believe Arco is an NHL player and will prove to be a passable NHL 2C.

    • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

      Van Allen, Currie, and Rice tore up the AHL. They did not translate that to NHL success. It happens all the time. Arco played 10 good games up here…people are way to optimistic. Then when it crashes…which it will…everyone starts whining.

      • Oilers89

        My point isn’t that it will work. My point is that he is a reasonable bet. There is no guarantee either way. Saying that he will crash and burn is a closed minded way of looking at it. Arco has a chance.

          • ChinookArchYYC

            I’m reasonably confident that Arco will be better than Gagner was last year. Granted that’s not saying much, but nonetheless an upgraded 2C. Arco is not the answer to 2C long term, but might be a stop gap for a year. Hoping MacT can find some more help at C and this topic becomes academic.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    The track record of third overall since 2000:

    D+0 – 5 players: Gaborik, Bouwmeester, Horton, Duchene, Galchenyk

    D+1 – 7 players: Svitov, Toews, Turris, Bogosian, Gudbranson, Huberdeau, Drouin

    D+2 – 2 players: Barker, Johnson

    Average right around D+1. 35% of time draft slot three makes big in first year.

    Definitely don’t see any evidence that D+0 suffer in their development. Duchene’s first year is 55 points one more than Toews. Other than Toews, from strong draft year, the edge consistently goes to D+0 player.

    Nothing wrong with Draisaitl playing here next year.

    However, by my eye test of him last year w PA, he’ll be a step behind Gagner in his own end.

  • ChinookArchYYC

    All Arco has to do is be better defensively than Sam was last season and this team is further ahead. This is Halls team anyways and it is time for him to take over games and lead this team out of the darkness. As for Big Leon let his play determine his outcome besides I still find it hard to believe MacT won’t make a move for a centerman before the start of the season.

  • 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…