Last season was a busy one for Leon Draisaitl. The 18-year-old played more than 80 games under the glare of NHL scouts analyzing his play and value heading into the 2014 NHL Draft.
His season ended when the Edmonton Oilers selected him with the No. 3 pick of the draft, and after an introductory press conference in Edmonton, he joined the team's other prospects at a development camp in Jasper, Alberta.
Schmaltz asserting himself with BluesLouie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent
Jordan Schmaltz spent the second week of July with other St. Louis Blues prospects at the team's development camp, where the 20-year-old defenseman appeared to make his mark for St. Louis brass. READ MORE ›
Instead, Draisaitl returned to Edmonton. Work comes before pleasure for a player aiming to play in the NHL in 2014-15.
"I have a dream and I want to make that dream happen," he told the Edmonton Journal. "Obviously I would love to see my parents but it's not the end of the world if I don’t see them for a while. My goal is to play in the NHL next year and it (staying in Edmonton) is the best way to get ready and get used to the life here.
"For me, personally, it is the best decision."
Draisaitl left Germany at age 16 to play for the Prince George Cougars of the Western Hockey League. Last season, his second in the league, he tied for fourth in scoring with 105 points in 64 games. That performance, plus his NHL-ready 6-foot-2, 204-pound frame, convinced the Oilers to select him.
Draisaitl said an average week for him contains work with a skating instructor Mondays and Wednesdays and off-ice training five days a week. He said there are two areas in particular he's looking to improve.
"My skating and my game away from the puck," he said. "I know what I'm able to do with the puck and what I'm capable of offensively, but [making the Oilers] will come down to my play away from the puck, and I need to get quicker and play faster."