In the 2014-15 season, Leon Draisaitl played 37 games with the Edmonton Oilers before being sent back down to the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League.
The centreman had certainly hoped he would stick with the big club, but it was deemed best for his development that he went back to major junior to cultivate his game. Draisaitl would go on to win the Ed Chynoweth Cup with the Rockets, then was an overtime goal away from hoisting the Memorial Cup. He was, however, named the MVP of the tournament.
After beginning the season with the Bakersfield Condors in the 2015-16 campaign, the Cologne, Germany native got an opportunity to return to the Oilers. Draisaitl made the most of the chance and has been with the squad since.
So, Draisaitl is certainly aware of the situation 2016 fourth-overall draft choice Jesse Puljujärvi is going through, after spending the first half of the season with the Oilers until being assigned to the Condors on Monday.
"It's different, It's not easy, for sure," sympathized Draisaitl. "I talked to him and I know he wants to be up here and I think we all believe that he can play here."
It's hard to fathom the move for Puljujärvi at the moment, after getting a glimpse of the NHL and the city of Edmonton but at the end of the day, it's about understanding that the decision will be best for his career as a player moving forward.
"Maybe right now it's not the right time for him up here," said Draisaitl. "He needs to understand that that's probably the right thing to do right now. I didn't want to understand it at that point when I got sent down but after you go down there for a couple weeks and come back up, you start to realize it's probably a good thing. It gave me more ice time, I played on the power play, and it's going to be the same with him."
Puljujärvi skated in 28 games with the Oilers this season, registering one goal and seven assists.