Draisaitl an Oiler

Staff ~ The Prince Albert Daily Herald
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Dubbed "The Germany Gretzky" as a 15 year old prior to his debut with the Prince Albert Raiders, it's only fitting that Leon Draisaitl's NHL career will begin with the Edmonton Oilers.

Early in the first round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday, Oilers GM Craig MacTavish picked Draisaitl third overall, confirming widespread rumors that his organization is high on the German power forward.

After Barrie Colts defenceman Aaron Ekblad went to the Florida Panthers and Kootenay Ice centre Sam Reinhart was selected by the Buffalo Sabres, Draisaitl became the third Raider in four years to be picked in the draft’s opening round and the highest picked German in NHL history.

Selected by the Raiders second overall in the 2012 CHL Import Draft, Draisaitl scored 58 points in 64 games as a WHL rookie in 2013. 

Last season, again in 64 games, the Cologne-born power forward tallied 105 points as he finished fourth overall in league scoring.  

“He had a great draft season,” Raiders GM Bruno Campese said of Draisaitl in a May 23 interview with The Herald. “He did all the things he needed to do.”

Just as Campese did in 2012, the Oilers nabbed a rare combination of size and natural ability in Draisaitl, who is now the fourth Raider to be picked in the first round by the organization.

In an interview with TSN following his first round draft choice, MacTavish said he and his staff knew that they could not let a player of such unique calibre slip away and jumped at the opportunity to nab the 6'1", 209 pound centre.

"We all know how difficult big centres are to gain," MacTavish said. "They are very hard to come by. Leon really fits that bill for us, we feel that Leon's skill set fits in incredibly well for us in Edmonton."

As he was interviewed by TSN with his newly appointed NHL GM at his side, Draisaitl added that there is something special about joining a NHL organization that has housed some of the greatest to ever play the game.

"Wearing the same jersey as Gretzky and Messier and all those stars is a huge honour," Draisaitl said. "It's a great organization, they have a lot of young talent and I just can't wait for training camp."

In Prince Albert, MacTavish's first round draft choice was met with cheers as a strong contingent of Oilers fans gathered at Original Joe's to watch their favourite team seal Draisaitl's NHL fate.

With the Oilers, Draisaitl joins a crop of talented young forwards including former Red Deer Rebel Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and 2012 No. 1 pick Nail Yakupov.

"I think I'm a good fit for the young team," Draisaitl said when asked by TSN where he thinks he'll fit in. "It comes down to training camp and how I'm doing there."

Rounds two to seven of the 2014 draft will commence on Saturday when the eyes of Raiders fans will shift to centre Reid Gardiner.

Gardiner is ranked 40th by NHL Central Scouting among North American Skaters in the 18-year-old Humboldt product’s first year of draft eligibility.

History of Prince Albert Raiders first round NHL draft picks

* = Active player

1984 -- C - Dave Pasin (Boston Bruins, 19th overall)

NHL totals: 76 GP, 18 G, 19 A, 37 PTS

1985 -- D - Dave Manson (Chicago Blackhawks, 11th overall)

NHL totals: 1,103 GP, 102 G, 288 A, 390 PTS

1986 -- RW - Kim Issel (Edmonton Oilers, 21st overall)

NHL totals: 4 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS

1986 -- RW - Pat Elynuik (Winnipeg Jets, 8th overall)

NHL totals: 506 GP, 154 G, 188 A, 342 PTS

1988 -- C - Mike Modano (Minnesota North Stars, 1st overall)

NHL totals: 1,499 GP, 561 G, 813 A, 1,374 PTS

1990 -- F - Scott Allison (Edmonton Oilers, 17th overall)

NHL totals: Did not play

1991 -- LW - Dean McAmmond (Chicago Blackhawks, 22nd overall)

NHL totals: 996 GP, 186 G, 262 A, 448 PTS

1993 -- C - Denis Pederson (New Jersey Devils, 13th overall)

NHL totals: 435 GP, 57 G, 71 A, 128 PTS

1995 -- LW - Brad Church (Washington Capitals, 17th overall)

NHL totals: 2 GP, 0 G, 0 A, 0 PTS

1995 -- LW - Steve Kelly (Edmonton Oilers, 6th overall)

NHL totals: 149 GP, 9 G, 12 A, 21 PTS

1996 -- D - Chris Phillips (Ottawa Senators, 1st overall)

NHL totals: 1,143 GP, 71 G, 214 A, 285 PTS

2000 -- LW - Scott Hartnell (Nashville Predators, 6th overall)*

NHL totals: 960 GP, 250 G, 291 A, 541 PTS

2004 -- C - Kyle Chipchura (Montreal Canadiens, 18th overall)*

NHL totals: 342 GP, 23 G, 55 A, 78 PTS

2011 -- C - Mark McNeill (Chicago Blackhawks, 18th overall)*

NHL totals: Has not played

2013 -- D - Josh Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets, 13th overall)*

NHL totals: Has not played

2014 -- C - Leon Draisaitl (Edmonton Oilers, 3rd overall)*

NHL totals: Has not played 

 

Organizations: Wells Fargo Center, Edmonton Oilers, Buffalo Sabres NHL

Geographic location: Philadelphia, Raider

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