With the 2014 NHL Draft Combine finished last weekend, it's time to start thinking more and more about who will be selected when. Being a top prospect in this years draft, it is highly rumored that Leon Draisaitl may end up in a Calgary jersey on June 25th.
There has been a lot of talks about Draisaitl and how he is one of those high-risk, pure skill type of forwards in the draft, but he seems to handle it pretty nicely. The German forward scored 54 points in just 36 games after the world juniors where he struggled and many though he would fall in this years draft.
Elite Prospects on Draisaitl:
"Draisaitl is a playmaking center who isn't overly physical but uses his size effectively to shield himself and the puck. He has excellent vision and knows where his options are. He has soft hands and a steady stride, but his smarts are his most important asset."
Born: October 27th, 1995
Height: 6'1'' (185 cm)
Weight: 209 lbs (95 kg)
CSS Ranking: 4th - North America Skaters
Draisaitl was drafted 2nd overall by the Prince Albert Raiders of the WHL in the 2012 CHL Import Draft. This year being only his 2nd year with the Raiders, he was able to put up 105 points in 64 games. He puts up big offensive numbers, despite being a play-maker and could really compliment the Flames' centers. Backlund, Monahan, and Draisaitl down the middle would be a really good way to kick off the 2nd season of an already successful rebuild.
Leon Draisaitl Highlights
When I was watching the videos, one thing that stood out to me about Draisaitl was that he not only has great size, but he knows how to take advantage of it. Joe Colborne is an example of a player that, was criticized for not using the size he has, but he's starting to get better at it. The German is a high end play-maker that can make smart plays in the offensive zone and he has pretty good defensive positioning as well. Leon is hard to knock off the puck, and can do the small things right to win the game. He can pass, shoot, and hit very effectively and will probably be an asset to a team regardless of what he pans out to be.
With the size that Draisaitl comes with, it's common for a player like him to have some trouble skating and Draisaitl seems to be one of them. He tends to rely a lot on his frame along with his puck handling skills to get away from defenders and rush up the ice. This may be trouble for him at the NHL level where he will not have the chance to do this simply because players will be full grown men that are just as big or bigger than he is. There's room for improvement in everyone's game, but it will be interesting to see how Leon deals with it and adapts to the big leagues.
Comparables: Johan Franzen, Mikko Koivu, Bobby Ryan