Leon Draisaitl: Prospect Profile for Edmonton Oilers' 1st-Round Pick

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Leon Draisaitl: Prospect Profile for Edmonton Oilers' 1st-Round Pick
Darko Bandic/Associated Press

Player: Leon Draisaitl

Drafted By: Edmonton Oilers (third overall)

Position: Center

Final Central Scouting Ranking: No. 4 North American skater

Height/Weight: 6'1", 208 lbs

DOB: October 27, 1995 (18 years old)

Most Recent Affiliation: WHL, Prince Albert Raiders

 

Background

Leon Draisaitl is a German import who played in Europe through the 2011-12 season, but he is considered a North American skater because he played the last two seasons in the Western Hockey League. He was a dominant player before he came to North American—Draisaitl scored 192 points in 2010-11 for Mannheimer U16—and he scored 38 goals in 64 games this season for Prince Albert.

 

Full Scouting Report

Draisaitl is an exciting prospect who combines top-of-the-line skill with the kind of size that could make him a special player. While he is not a big hitter, he does play the game with a big man's swagger and confidence.

This explosive scorer has the kind of hands that should make him dependable in that area for years to come. He has the soft hands to make perfect passes, and he is also an excellent shooter. 

Draisaitl will need to improve his skating to reach his full potential, and he could also play a more physical game. He has been referred to as "the German Gretzky" because of his outrageous scoring totals before coming to North America. Any other comparison to Wayne Gretzky is ludicrous.

However, according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal, former NHL tough guy and current Prince Albert associate coach Dave Manson likes what he sees in Draisaitl. 

“He’s a big train and he’s going to grow. He’s more suited for the pro level with his style of play,” Manson said. “Europeans have very good puck possession skills and Leon has that. With his skating, if you don’t have a good angle on him, he gets to where he wants to go."

 

NHL Player Comparison

Joe Thornton is an apt comparison for Draisaitl because the German import has size, playmaking ability and the kind of hands that allow him to thread the needle with his passes or find the small openings to the corners of the net. 

 

NHL Timetable

Draisaitl has a chance to contribute right away in the NHL. In addition to his size and his offensive skills, he is also a very good defensive player for his age. He would not be a liability in that area, and that's one of the reasons so many young stars need to develop in the minor leagues. Draisaitl could be ready to contribute in 2014-15, or the following year at the latest.

 

Top-End Potential

Draisaitl has a chance to be a star if he can improve his skating just a bit and continue to adjust to the physical play of the North American game. He made a decent adjustment playing at the junior level in the Western Hockey League against top juniors, but he will be playing against grown men from this point forward. As soon as he proves himself in that area, there's no reason Draisaitl won't become a top-six forward with All-Star potential.

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