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Oilers expect Draisaitl to make ‘strong case’ for roster spot

Aug 29, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

The Edmonton Oilers have high hopes for their 2014 first-round pick Leon Draisaitl.

Earlier this month, the Oilers rewarded Draisaitl with a three-year $10.2 million entry-level contract.

On Friday, general manager Craig MacTavish said he believes the 18-year-old will contend for a roster spot with the big club when camp opens next month.

“I’d be shocked if he doesn’t make a strong case,” MacTavish said. “Fortunately we don’t have to make that decision right now. I, in my mind, think that he’s going to make a very strong case. I’ve seen him play. He’s going to make a strong case.

“If this decision is easy, he’s staying. I don’t think he’s going to come in and not make a case for himself. I’d be shocked.”

The 6-foot-1, 204-pound German native is coming off his second season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League where he scored 38 goals and 105 points in 64 games.

“Anybody – fan, coach, manager, media – anybody that tells you that they can tell you definitively whether Leon Draisaitl is ready or not ready, right now, before getting the information at training camp is naïve,” said MacTavish.

With center Sam Gagner gone there is every opportunity for Draisaitl to make this Oilers team. He’ll likely have to compete with Mark Arcobello, but behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is a gaping hole at center in Edmonton at the moment.

Related: Oilers ink Schultz to one-year deal

  1. luz56 - Aug 29, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Nice draft pick…I was hoping he was there at 4 for the Flames but we got a good one in Bennett..let the Battle of Alberta begin

  2. lowenni - Aug 29, 2014 at 8:13 PM

    I know a lot of people are bashing the Oilers about this, and about their history of rushing prospects, but if the guy is ready to play then he’s ready to play. I think it’s fair for him to be given every opportunity to make the team, they just shouldn’t give it to him though. It’s certainly possible that he could Pan out well given his size and hockey intelligence, and if he does the Oilers Will finally be deep at center with Nugent Hopkins, Draisatl, Arcobello, and boyd Gordon.

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