It was announced today that the Kelowna Rockets acquired Leon Draisaitl’s rights from the Prince Albert Raiders. The trade gives the Oilers prospect an opportunity to go to a winning team, as Kelowna is the top team in the WHL with a record of 31-6-3-0 and 65 standing points.
“Obviously, I had an amazing time here,” Draisaitl said. “I’ve learned so many things that I couldn’t even list on one list. I’m really thankful that I’ve been given the opportunity to play in the NHL as a young kid. At the same time, now going to an organization that’s winning right now and that’s hopefully going to have a deep run is really exciting for me.”
Draisaitl played 37 games for the Oilers this season, recording nine points (2-7-9). The 19-year-old returns to juniors, where he has posted 163 points (59-104-163) in 128 career games.
“I had a real specific destination in mind for Leon and I talked to (Prince Albert General Manager) Bruno Campese many times throughout the year, saying it would be very unlikely he’d be assigned back to P.A,” Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish said. “At one of those conversations, I said to Bruno that I had this specific situation I thought would be ideal for Leon and if that situation was satisfied then there’d be a likelihood that we’d send him back.”
MacTavish continued, “For obvious reasons, Kelowna was the destination for Leon and I think this is going to be extremely important for his development. I don’t view his 40 games here as time wasted at all. I think it’s time well spent for him but everybody can understand what our rationale was for sending him back to Kelowna for him to have this experience. As much as the situation that we’re in necessitates impatience at times, we know that patience for these young players is the only way to go in terms for what’s best for their development.”