Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was familiar with Leon Draisaitl before the club made him the third overall pick in this year’s draft.
“I already spent time with him at the interview at the combine and we had dinner with him this week and got a good feel for the kid,” Eakins said Saturday on 630 CHED. “We were excited that he was sitting there when we were picking. It’s a need for our team for the future, a centre of his size and of his skill set. We’ve filled a hole in our organization and hopefully he will be able to play very soon.”
The Oilers hope the big, skilled centre is ready to make the jump to the NHL sooner rather than later. But Eakins says the team won’t rush his graduation if he’s not ready. Eakins himself refuses to place high expectations on the rookie.
“I have no expectations and I think it is a dangerous thing to put any expectations on the kid. He’ll come into our development camp, which is more of an orientation. He’ll come in and get to know the other players. he on-ice stuff isn’t that important. It’s more to get them up and going with their summer training. Then we’ll see where he is in training camp. This is a very young player and we don’t want to rush him, we don’t want to put the weight of the market or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.”