Oilers radio colour analyst Bob Stauffer answers questions submitted by fans about the team.
- Bob, I watched Leon Draisaitl during the Memorial Cup, he had some strong moments and was quiet at other times. What did you see in his play and how does he fit long term with the Oilers, likely to draft Connor McDavid? — Bill in High Level
Bill, Bob, Is there any way the Oilers don’t take Connor McDavid #1 overall? — Jason in Edmonton Jason, I can’t speak for Oilers President and General Manager Peter Chiarelli, but I would be shocked if the Oilers didn’t select McDavid #1 overall.
I think your assessment of Draisaitl’s performance in Quebec City is fair. In a couple of games; specifically against Rimouski in the round-robin and Quebec in the semifinal Leon looked a man amongst boys. However against Oshawa, Draisaitl was twice held off the scoresheet.
I must say I was quite surprised Kelowna first-year Head Coach Dan Lambert elected to play converted defenceman Riley Stadel on a line with Draisaitl for the majority of the final. San Jose draft pick Rourke Chartier, who scored 48 goals during the regular season, and 2015 draft eligible Nick Merkley formed a lethal combination with Draisaitl during stretches of the WHL Playoffs.
Nonetheless, Leon was selected the Memorial Cup MVP, in a losing cause, leading the tournament in points with 4-3-7 in five games.
Given the make-up of some of the Oilers smaller skilled forwards I think Leon’s 6-foot-1, 210-pound frame helps to make him a very important piece carrying forward. Draisaitl played a little bit on the wing before coming to North America and Oilers Head Todd McLellan has had history of blending multiple centres into a variety of roles when he was in San Jose.
I also actually don’t think Draisaitl realizes how good he could be if learns to assert his will on the game!
In my opinion, Draisaitl could be a dominant player in time. With increased strength, Leon should be able to protect the puck effectively at an NHL level, and he already possesses excellent vision on the ice and is very adept at making plays on his backhand. Leon also has an underrated shot.
The combination of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, McDavid and Draisaitl down the middle should have Oilers fans very excited.
It is pretty much universally accepted that McDavid is a generational player, who excelled FAR ahead of his age group and will be an impact player from the get-go at the NHL level.
His ability to make plays at warp-like speed will translate at the next level and he appears to very mature for a draft-eligible player.
Peter Gzowski talked about the Oilers young players all improving through osmosis because of Wayne Gretzky’s presence in the book “ Game of Our Lives”.
I believe McDavid, in time, will have the same effect with the modern Oilers.
The Oilers got lucky winning the lottery, no need to look a gift horse in the mouth..lol! Bob Stauffer is Colour Analyst on the Oilers Radio Network and Hosts “Oilers Now” each day Noon to 2:00 PM Monday thru Friday on 630 CHED and you can follow him on Twitter at @Bob_Stauffer