Center Leon Draisaitl, the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Edmonton Oilers, the team announced Tuesday. Financial details were not disclosed.
"First of all, I want to thank [owner] Daryl Katz and [general manager] Craig MacTavish and all the other people who are part of the Oilers organization for giving me this opportunity and making this happen," Draisaitl said. "It's really exciting for me and my family."
Draisaitl became the highest-drafted German-trained player when the Oilers selected him at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on June 27. The 18-year-old scored 38 goals and 105 points in 64 games last season for the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League and could be on the fast track toward making the Oilers roster.
He spent much of his summer training in Edmonton and working with Oilers staff. He revealed Tuesday he would not attend Raiders training camp and would instead focus on playing in the NHL.
"I want to make this team this year. I don't want to put too much pressure on myself. I think I know what it takes to be an NHL player. I've been working extremely hard this summer," Draisaitl said. "It's nice to be around people who are working with this organization, the athletic trainers and all these people. It definitely makes you feel that you're part of this organization."
Draisaitl will attempt to join recent Oilers first-round picks Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov by making the roster immediately after being drafted. Based on the makeup of the Oilers lineup, he should get a fair chance at making the team out of training camp. On June 29, Edmonton traded one of its top centers, Sam Gagner, to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who then traded him to the Arizona Coyotes. It left the Oilers with a lack of depth down the middle; Draisaitl could help fill that hole.
"I know they'll probably give him every opportunity to make the team and I know he's been working hard this summer," Oilers forward Jordan Eberle said. "I'm looking forward to seeing him in camp. I've been skating with him all this week and training with him, and he's a great kid. I'm nothing but impressed."
Draisaitl participated in the 2014 Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game and has represented Germany at the IIHF World Championship, World Junior Championship, Under-18 World Championship, and the 2012 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Almost from the moment he was taken in the draft, he began working in Edmonton with hopes of wearing an Oilers jersey when the 2014-15 season starts.
"I talked to [general manager] Craig MacTavish and we all decided that's probably the best thing for me personally," Draisaitl said. "To get ready and keep training and get ready for the season."