The third-overall pick in the draft has been looking forward to his first training camp on-ice session for months. Leon Draisaitl centred a line with David Perron and Benoit Pouliot during the scrimmage today.
“It felt really good actually,” Draisaitl said. I felt really good out there. Obviously, my two linemates helped me a lot out there. They’re established NHL players, they’re both really skilled guys and I think we had a little bit of chemistry already and I felt pretty good out there.”
The talented 18-year-old has already drawn compliments from one of those linemates.
“He’s looking good, he’s slick,” Pouliot said. “He’s a big centreman and in this league you need big centres. I think he can do the job. The way he played today, he’s only 18. You don’t want to put too much pressure on the guy, just let him play. Today was exactly that, he put a lot of pressure on their D and he played very well. It’s just a matter of getting comfortable and he’ll be perfect, he’ll be fine.”
Pouliot and Perron both scored goals in the scrimmage.
Draisaitl’s playmaking ability was something his head coach noticed during the brief time on ice today.
“He can distribute the puck,” Dallas Eakins said. “He can make a play on his forehand and his backhand. He showed some spurts that he does have some speed. I think the one thing that you find all the time, especially with guys coming out of junior and they’ve been key guys on their team, their pace usually isn’t where you want it. The pace is there but they aren’t playing at the highest pace because they played so many minutes and they have to find places to rest on the ice. There’s room for improvement there but he shows he can do it. He can certainly move the puck, distribute it and he certainly didn’t look out of place out there.”
Eakins was also pleased with the little bit of chemistry that line was already displaying.
“They all came as advertised. David Perron loves hockey. He’s one of those guys that I’m sure is out in the street playing with kids. Leon can obviously make plays and Pouliot showed us a lot of why we wanted to sign him, and we’re so fortunate to have him. He was constantly on the puck. That’s a great lesson, those three right there. Watching them from up top you can hear them talking and communicating the whole time. When you’re doing that on the ice it helps focus the other player and he knows where you’re at and it shows your teammates that you’re ready to play. Those three were all yapping out there to each other and it was good that Leon brushed up on his French.”