The Edmonton Oilers have agreed to terms with rookie forward Leon Draisaitl on a three year entry level contract. The team’s third round draft pick will serve as a perfect replacement for Sam Gagner.
Draisaitl is coming out of an extremely successful season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. The stocky, 18-year-old German tallied an astonishing 105 points in 64 games last season.
Draisaitl is no stranger to scoring goals and will fit in perfectly with guys like Taylor Hall, Ryan-Nugent Hopkins, Nail Yakupov and Jordon Eberle. This team has continually built their roster around young, talented players. It’s provided the team with a potent offense. Last season, those four players combined 225 points.
However, even with all this talent, the Edmonton Oilers have struggled with consistency and keeping leads in key games. This is the main reason the Oilers have failed to make the playoffs in recent years. However, the additions of Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot will provide this offense with some much needed experience. Purcell has plenty of playoff experience, so he knows how to deal with the pressure in close games. Pouliot has been with quite a few clubs and will provide the coaching staff with some more depth.
I believe Leon Draisaitl will be a solid third line forward for the Edmonton Oilers this year. I really hope he gets to play alongside Teddy Purcell or Nail Yakupov. With Yakupov’s speed and Draisaitl’s size, the third line could be tough to beat.
I believe Draisaitl will be rotating the powerplay and penalty units throughout the season as well. There is no doubt in my mind that at least one of these Oiler young guns will be challenging for an NHL award this season.
The Edmonton Oilers have struggled defensively for the past five years. The team does have an experienced veteran in Andrew Ference. But I believe the organization really needs to sign a couple more experienced defenseman.
Sergei Gonchar, Henrik Tallinder or Sami Salo would be excellent options for the Oilers to pursue in my opinion. They would provide the young defensemen like Justin Schultz or Mark Payne with leadership, experience and help them improve their game.
Regardless, I believe this team has loads of potential. Each one of these young players is determined to do whatever it takes to win. I can’t wait to see which one of these young superstars will rise to the challenge and finally carry their team into a playoff position.