Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins was familiar with Leon Draisaitl before the club made him the third overall pick in this year’s draft.
“I already spent time with him at the interview at the combine and we had dinner with him this week and got a good feel for the kid,” Eakins said Saturday on 630 CHED. “We were excited that he was sitting there when we were picking. It’s a need for our team for the future, a centre of his size and of his skill set. We’ve filled a hole in our organization and hopefully he will be able to play very soon.”
The Oilers hope the big, skilled centre is ready to make the jump to the NHL sooner rather than later. But Eakins says the team won’t rush his graduation if he’s not ready. Eakins himself refuses to place high expectations on the rookie.
“I have no expectations and I think it is a dangerous thing to put any expectations on the kid. He’ll come into our development camp, which is more of an orientation. He’ll come in and get to know the other players. he on-ice stuff isn’t that important. It’s more to get them up and going with their summer training. Then we’ll see where he is in training camp. This is a very young player and we don’t want to rush him, we don’t want to put the weight of the market or high expectations on him. We want to just see where he’s at when he does get playing against NHL players.”
The Edmonton Oilers were more than pleased with the way the first two picks fell in the first round of this year’s draft. With Aaron Ekblad and Sam Reinhart off the board to Florida and Buffalo, the Oilers were given the opportunity to draft just what they needed. The club selected Leon Draisaitl third overall, adding size and skill to their centre lineup.
“Very excited,” Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor said after the draft concluded in Philadelphia. “I think he helps fill a need. He gives us an opportunity to have a strong centreman with some size that can play ahead of or behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, whichever way it works. We’ll give him that opportunity but also have to tell you he’s still a junior-age player who may need time and we’ll just give him that time for him to become the prospect we hope he can be.”
MacGregor added, “I think once he gets the opportunity to develop and mature he’ll be a very good fit for our organization.
The Edmonton Oilers scouting department felt they needed to add some goalie prospects to the mix and so the club took a pair on day two of this year’s draft: Zachary Nagelvoort and Keven Bouchard.
Nagelvoort, taken in the fourth round (111th overall), just finished a solid freshman year at the University of Michigan where he posted a 2.20 GAA and .929 save percentage.
“He was a little bit of a late developer coming out of the North American Hockey League,” Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor said. “He’s a goaltender who had a tremendous freshman year. I think he had an almost .930 save percentage. They were a middle-of-the-road team but he got them in the playoffs. We look at him as a goaltender that will continue to advance with good training and initiative.”
Bouchard, taken 183rd overall, was the backup goaltender for Val d’Or in the QMJHL, which made it difficult to fully scout him. But MacGregor says he likes what he saw in the limited action.
“We had a bit of an eye on him from the previous year. I just happened to be at a game one night where he did play and he did get a period at the Memorial Cup and I saw that. He’s a guy with potential. You want to look at kids that have potential. If you saw him there he’s very fit, very strong and he’s wiling to put in the work to get better.”
MacGregor says the scouts were the ones to convince Oilers General Manager Craig MacTavish to pull the trigger on the goalies.
“I had to fight with him to draft a goaltender. We just needed to add something. These guys have some potential we feel and if we can do it right and they can develop well we feel we have an opportunity to have some more depth.”
The Edmonton Oilers chose Swedish defenceman William Lagesson with the 91st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft on Saturday. The 6-foot-2 blueliner was chosen for his good defensive skills and his competitive edge, which really interested Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor.
“Competitive defenceman, good size,” MacGregor said. “I think the biggest thing about him is one-on-one he’s a warrior. He makes a good first pass, has some hockey sense and I just can’t emphasize how much he wants to battle.”
The Edmonton Oilers used their final selection in the 2014 NHL Draft (183rd overall) to take their second goalie of the day. The Oilers chose Vald’Or Foreurs netminder Keven Bouchard.
Bouchard had a record of 17-6-1 with the QMJHL champions and posted a 2.95 GAA and a .887 save percentage.
Dysin Mayo, Brandon Baddock and Aaron Irving join Brett Pollock as members of the Edmonton Oil Kings to be selected on day two of the 2014 NHL Draft.
The Arizona Coyotes took Mayo with the 133rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Baddock and Irving went with back-to-back picks (Baddock at 161 to New Jersey and Irving to Nashville at 162).
Mayo, the 82nd-ranked North American skater, had 35 points this season (7-28-35) and added 15 (3-12-15) in the WHL playoffs.
Baddock scored 17 points (6-11-17) in 56 games this season.
Irving is the 90th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. The defenceman played in 63 games this season and scored 30 points (9-21-30).
Oil Kings prospect Alec Dillon was also drafted. The goalie went 150th overall to the Los Angeles Kings. He played last season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the BCHL and posted a GAA of 2.88 and save percentage of .911.
The Edmonton Oilers have used the 153rd overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft to select Tyler Vesel from Omaha in the USHL. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound centre is ranked 188th amongst North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting.
Vesel put up impressive numbers in his first USHL season, scoring 71 points (33-38-71) in 49 games. His 71 points were third best in the league and second on the team.
Extremely happy to be drafted by the @EdmontonOilers organization! Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way.— tyler vesel (@tyguy102) June 28, 2014
The Edmonton Oilers have selected 6-foot-2, 190-pound forward Liam Coughlin with the 130th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Coughlin played 53 games for the Vernon Vipers in the BCHL this season, recording 45 points (18-27-45) and 70 penalty minutes.
The South Boston native is committed to Boston University. He scored 51 points (27-24-51) at Catholic Memorial High School in the 2012-13 season.
The Edmonton Oilers add a goalie to the mix with the 111th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft by selecting Zachary Nagelvoort from the University of Michigan.
Extremely happy to be drafted by the @EdmontonOilers Excited to become part of such a great organization. Go Oilers and Go Blue!— Zach Nagelvoort (@znagelvoort94) June 28, 2014
The freshman netminder posted a 2.20 GAA and .929 save percentage as a freshman with the Wolverines. He holds the University of Michigan school record for most saves in a game (63 vs. Penn State on March 20, 2014).
NHL Central Scouting ranks Nagelvoort as the 20th best North American goalie. He is 6-foot-2, 190 pounds.
The Edmonton Oilers have selected Swedish defenceman William Lagesson with the 91st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Lagesson is a 6-foot-2, 196-pound defenceman who played in the Swedish Junior league for Frolunda Jr. In 44 games this season, Lagesson scored 20 points (8-12-20) and had 30 penalty minutes.
At the Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament in 2013, Lagesson had two points (1-1-2) in four games for the Sweden Under-18 team.
NHL Central Scouting ranks Lagesson as the 18th European skater.