The 2014 NHL Entry Draft is 28 days away and the Wild are looking to find that next NHL star to raise their franchise to the next level. Hockey Wilderness is counting down the days with a daily mock draft. We are at pick number 3 today.
Who is Leon Draisaitl?
Draisaitl is a smart playmaker. He's big, nifty and smart; he can steam through guys and then use his beautiful skill to put the puck in the net. With his size, he's great at possessing the puck, and his playmaking is incredibly pretty. It's rare to have puck skills, vision and size all in one player, and Draisaitl possesses all those characteristics at an incredibly high level.
From Brendan Ross on Dobber Prospects:
Leon Draisaitl is an intelligent playmaking forward with good offensive instincts. The German import is effective in puck possession using his lengthy frame to shield away defenders and maintain puck control. He displays top-end vision and can read the play ahead of his peers.
He is well remembered for a hit from behind against the USA that got him a one game suspension in the last World Junior Championship, but generally, he doesn't play a very penalty filled game. He only had 24 penalty minutes last regular season with the Raiders.
Draisaitl may need to return to junior for a year, but the Oilers don't need forwards immediately. Or they may choose to keep him at the NHL level with all their other young forwards to let them learn from each other.
Why Do the Oilers Take Him?
The Oilers usually pick first. But the year that the best player in the draft is the defenseman that they desperately need, they pick third, and, if the Panthers are at all competent, Ekblad will not be available for the Oilers. As such, the Oilers should trade this pick to someone like Vancouver or Toronto or Nashville who need elite scoring forward talent, but who don't draft so late that the Oilers miss out on Hayden Fleury or Julius Honka. There is not a defenseman worthy of being drafted third overall once Ekblad is off the board. The Oilers really, really need elite defensive talent. They need a power play quarterback. Of course, this is the Oilers we're talking about, which is why they'd keep the pick and draft the flashiest forward. Draisaitl is a big guy who can play center, which is a position of need for Edmonton; it's just not the position of biggest need.
How Would He Help the Wild?
Draisaitl is awesome. It would be so much fun to see Draisaitl playing with Granlund and Pominville because the opposition wouldn't know where to look. Oh the passing plays! Yes, the Wild don't necessarily need another left wing/center, but they could make room for this guy who, sadly, won't be available when it's the Wild's turn to draft.