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Oilers assign Draisaitl to AHL, set roster at 23 players

by Staff

The Edmonton Oilers assigned forward Leon Draisaitl, the third pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, to Bakersfield of the American Hockey League on Monday to finalize their 23-man NHL roster for the start of the 2015-16 season.

Draisaitl, who turns 20 on Oct. 27, had a goal and three assists in six preseason games, and was under consideration to begin the regular season in Edmonton with forward Jordan Eberle out 4-6 weeks because of a shoulder injury.

General manager Peter Chiarelli told the Oilers website he wants Draisaitl to work on his 200-foot game and said he will predominantly play center at Bakersfield.

"I thought he was really close," Chiarelli said. "What we told Leon this morning is that he did everything we asked him to do. I thought he played well on either wing; I think his strength is down the middle. What we told him was ... you have to look at the big picture. We have to look at the big picture. When we call you up we want you to say here for good.

"I tried to send him with a good message. He was upset but I think at the end of the day he'll realize it was the right move."

Draisaitl made the Oilers' opening night roster last season, and had two goals and nine points in 37 games before he was sent to the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. Following a trade to Kelowna on Jan. 6, Draisaitl scored 19 goals and 53 points in 33 games to help the Rockets advance to the Memorial Cup.

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