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FUTURE WATCH | Leon Draisaitl

by Ashley Docking / Edmonton Oilers

The road is long and it’s not always easy, but at the end of the day Leon Draisaitl is happy exactly where he is.

“The draft is obviously a lot of fun and I stuck around playing, my first NHL game and (stayed) there for a while. That's what a kid dreams of right? So, so far it's been an exciting year,” Draisaitl said.

The 19-year-old has been quoted many times that since he was young all he wanted to do was play in the NHL. Last year must have been like a daydream for the young centreman, who was selected third overall by the Edmonton Oilers.  But around the corner was a tough test, to see how he would handle the pressure and expectations of the big leagues, and also being a member of a team that has been struggling over the last while.

Photo by Getty Images.

“It's not easy, “Draisaitl admitted. “I mean, as a young kid playing in the NHL and the team is losing quite a bit, it's not easy. You kind of have to try to not let it get to you too much and just focus on the pros. You focus on it game by game, shift by shift. (But) it definitely was not easy.”

Of the two previous years he spent in junior with the Prince Albert Raiders, both teams advanced to the postseason.  Draisaitl had been an offensive force, scoring 163 points through 128 games. But this year, the German native was thrust into the face of adversity, and his offence stalled.

“It's something that every player goes through in their career,” he said.

Draisaitl wasn’t put in an easy position. Being a high draft pick comes with expectations and a lot of people seemed to have assumed a certain level of productivity and performance from the rookie right out of the gate. But as with many things, there were growing pains but more importantly there were lessons learned from playing 37 games at an elite level.

“I learned things on and off the ice.  It's a completely different game (the NHL),” Draisaitl said. “Obviously, it's the best league in the world and you have to be really sharp. Be aware every shift you're out there, every second you're out there. There are so many great players, they'll make you pay for whatever you do wrong.  But I think on and off the ice it was just really helpful. It was a great time there for sure.”

His time with Edmonton has ended, for now, and Draisaitl is currently a member of the Kelowna Rockets (after his rights were traded from Prince Albert following the World Junior Championship). The move is something he says outsiders and critics make a fuss about for no reason.

Photo by Andy Devlin | Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club

“I'm 19-years old!” he said. “I think people a lot of times make too big of a deal about kids getting sent back. It's good for my development; it's good for my confidence. I take it as a learning process and try to get better and so it's not a bad thing at all.”

Someone that may agree is Jordan Eberle. The now five-year pro hockey player, who is leading the Oilers in scoring, was drafted in 2008, but didn’t get a shot in the NHL until the 2010 season. That has worked out pretty well for him, some would say.

For now, the German prospect is tearing up the Western Conference in the WHL. He has 20 points in 15 games and is a part of the league leading Rockets, who have a very legitimate shot at competing for the Memorial Cup this year.

“It takes a little time to readjust to everything and to get used to a new group of guys,” Draisaitl said about joining a brand new team. “(But) I think I am I'm definitely getting more comfortable each and every day.  I know that I can still play much better than I'm playing right now, so I'm looking forward to playing my game and helping the team win.”

There’s something to be said for recharging, building up confidence and playing with a club that is poised to go deep in the playoffs. That’s where positive habits and attitudes are taught and ultimately those traits will be assets for the Oilers in the coming years.

Barons Player StatsAHL StandingsBarons Schedule | Past Prospect Stats: 13-14 | 12-13 | 11-12


Stats Updated as of Wednesday, February 11, 2015  | * - Player on AHL contract with Oklahoma City Barons

Oklahoma City (AHL)


Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM
KEITH AULIE D 25 8 0 1 1 -6 0
BRANDON DAVIDSON D 23 33 2 5 7 +12 26
TRAVIS EWANYK F 21 43 2 2 4 -16 68
MATT FORD* F 30 43 13 20 33 +3 18
MARTIN GERNAT d 21 37 0 6 6 +4 26
LUKE GAZDIC F 25 5 2 0 2 -1 7
CURTIS HAMILTON
F 23 41 9 14 23 +1 25
RYAN HAMILTON
F 29 30 14 11 25 +8 6
BRAD HUNT D 26 33 11 21 32 +6 6
CONNOR JONES*
F 24 17 2 2 4 -1 8
KELLEN JONES*
F 24 20 4 4 8 +1 2
KALE KESSY
F 21 17 3 3 6 -7 61
JUJHAR KHAIRA
F 20 42 3 6 9 -6 50
OSCAR KLEFBOM   d 21 9 1 7 8 +10 4
ANTON LANDER
F 23 29 9 22 31 +8 20
KELLAN LAIN F 25 2 0 0 0 0 4
C.J. LUDWIG* D 24 13 1 2 3 -1 24
MARTIN MARINCIN
D 22 27 0 7 7 -4 20
ANDREW MILLER F 26 43 16 20 36 +12 8
MITCH MOROZ F 20 37 1 3 4 -5 66
DAVID MUSIL D 21 40 1 6 7 -2 25
JORDAN OESTERLE  D 22 46 6 15 21 +2 6
IIRO PAKARINEN F 23 39 17 11 28 +17 20
STEVE PINIZZOTTO
F 30 18 1 9 10 +3 76
TYLER PITLICK
F 23 14 3 6 9 +2 8
DILLON SIMPSON
d 21 42 2 7 9 +5 6
JASON WILLIAMS*
F 34 44 15 21 36 +1 22
BOGDAN YAKIMOV
F 20 42 6 11 17 +7 12
JOSH WINQUIST*
F 21 18 4 4 8 +3 4
Bakersfield (ECHL)
Name POS age    GP G A P +/- PIM
GRAEME CRAIG* D 21 42 4 3 7 -1 47
CONNOR JONES* F 24 27 10 16 26 +3 29
KELLEN JONES* F 24 27 7 18 25 +3 12
C.J. LUDWIG* D 24 22 1 10 11 -7 15
JOSH WINQUIST* F 21 18 5 18 23 -6 11
Canadian Hockey League
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
BEN BETKER   d 20 48 5 20 25 +25 39 EVERETT (WHL)
GREG CHASE  C 20 15 2 13 15 +2 20 CALGARY (WHL)
28 14 17 31 +4 19 victoria (whl)
LEON DRAISAITL
f 19 15 7 13 20 +5 10 KELOWNA (WHL)
JACKSON HOUCK
f 19 48 17 24 41 -1 65 VANCOUVER (WHL)
DARNELL NURSE D 19 31 8 21 29 +10 56 SAULT STE. MARIE (OHL)
KYLE PLATZER F 19 49 23 41 64 +12 34 OWEN SOUND (OHL)
MARCO ROY
F 20 44 21 18 39 +8 33 QUEBEC (qmjHL)
NCAA, Junior A & USHL
Name POS age  GP G A P +/- PIM team
EVAN CAMPBELL   f 21 27 7 13 20 +4 25 UMASS-LOWELL (NCAA)
LIAM COUGHLIN
F 20 50 20 39 59 0 24 VERNON (BCHL)
WILLIAM LAGESSON
d 18 31 1 12 13 +11 71 DUBUQUE (USHL)
JOEY LALEGGIA  d 22 25 9 15 24 +9 35 DENVER (NCAA)
JOHN MCCARRON   f 22 23 1 7 8 -5 26 CORNELL (NCAA)
AIDAN MUIR   F 19 25 5 7 11 +8 4 WESTERN MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TYLER VESEL F 20 26 6 11 17 +10 0 NEBRASKA-OMAHA (NCAA)
Europe
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
ROMAN HORAK
f 23 48 18 13 31 -1 20 VITYAZ (KHL)
PHILIP LARSEN
f 25 51 3 17 20 -22 30 YUGRA (KHL)
ANTON SLEPYSHEV
f 20 52 13 9 22 +1 10 UFA (KHL)
ANTTI TYRVAINEN
F 25 39 5 6 11 -5 62 TAMPERE (FINLAND)
DANIIL ZHARKOV
F 20 8 0 0 0 +2 4 NIZHNY NOVGOROD (KHL)
35 2 5 7 -11 20 HK SAROV (VHL)
2015 World Junior Hockey Championships
Name POS age GP G A P +/- PIM team
DARNELL NURSE
D 19 7 0 1 1 +8 6 CANADA
WILLIAM LAGESSON
D 18 7 0 1 1 +1 8 SWEDEN
Goaltenders
Name age GP w l T SO GAA SV% team
RICHARD BACHMAN   27 22 14 4 3   3 2.30 .921 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
KEVEN BOUCHARD  18 28 8 12 5   0 4.33 .855 VAL D'OR (QMJHL)
LAURENT BROSSOIT 21 25 14 7 2   1 2.57 .918 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)
TYLER BUNZ   22 17 6 10 1   2 2.97 .890 wichita (ECHL)
ZACHARY NAGELVOORT
20 19 10 7 0   1 2.42 .914 MICHIGAN (NCAA)
TY RIMMER*
22 25 8 11 3   1 3.20 .889 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
Frans Tuohimaa   23 27 10 11 3   0 2.98 .888 BAKERSFIELD (ECHL)
3 2 0 1   0 4.22 .904 OKLAHOMA CITY (AHL)

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