TSN Director of Scouting Craig Button was on Oilers Now with Oilers Colour Analyst Bob Stauffer on Friday and provided some insight on some of the draft’s top prospects. He mentioned several players and their ability to transition to the NHL as well.
“Depending on what a team wants, I don’t think they can go wrong there. You want a defenceman, Aaron Ekblad is a pillar defenceman. Leon Draisaitl is a big-time centreman who can make plays, he makes it hard on opponents and I really do believe that Michael Dal Colle is a big-time winger.”
Button says out of his top-five prospects or so, he believes Aaron Ekblad is the most likely to contribute in the NHL right away.
“I think the guy that’s most capable is Aaron Ekblad because of his on-ice maturity,” Button said. “He’s played three years in junior, he’s very mature physically, which I think is a big part of it. He’s very mature emotionally and mentally. When you watch him play, he carries that maturity onto the ice. He came to the Barrie Colts, which were the worst team in the Ontario Hockey League, as a 15 year-old. They haven’t missed the playoffs since and he’s been a real integral part of their team and I think that Aaron, with the right support around him, no question can play in the National Hockey League next year.”
He also mentioned players like Michael Dal Colle and Leon Draisaitl as having the potential to play this season.
“I do think that Michael Dal Colle is capable at playing in the National Hockey League next year and holding his own. Does that mean he’s going to be incredibly successful like Nathan Mackinnon? No, but I think he can more than hold his own next year.”
“I think Leon Draisaitl can play because or his size and because he can handle the rigours,” Button said. “He’s had two years in the (WHL), playing in Prince Albert with the travel, the game schedule is the same and I think that can help you.”
Button did mention that he believed Sam Bennett and Sam Reinhart may be better with more time but could make the jump in the right situations with the right support.