Draisaitl has skill to push to the top

Christian Roatis2014 Draft Center0 Comments

With no clear-cut frontrunner for the 2014 NHL Draft and a season to be played between now and then, there is plenty of time for challengers.

And while current Kootenay Ice captain Sam Reinhart currently holds the throne as top eligible and top WHLer, a Prince Albert Raider is hoping to inject himself into the picture in Leon Draisaitl.

He has the tools, according to Future Considerations’ chief Western scout Zenon Herasymiuk.

“With his combination of size, smarts, and good offensive tools, Draisaitl will certainly be looked at long and hard by NHL teams this season,” Herasymiuk said. “It’s likely he is picked within the first 10 picks of  the 2014 NHL Draft and even challenge Reinhart as the top WHLer in the draft.”

The pivot was 8th in Future Considerations’ preliminary ranking for the 2014 NHL Draft after an outstanding rookie campaign with the Raiders last season, rifling in 21 goals and 58 points in 64 games. Known more as a playmaker, Draisaitl dazzled fans and duped defenders all season using his elite hockey sense and tremendous ability as his primarily weapons. A big man at 6-foot-2, 200-pounds, Draisaitl’s big frame benefits him immensely in the offensive zone, particularly in the corners.

The big, toolsy centre who represented Germany at the 2013 World Juniors has Herasymiuk excited about what the future might hold for him.

“Draisaitl’s elite hockey sense allows him to impact the game in many ways. His vision is top-notch and he has an uncanny ability to thread the needle at top speed,”  Herasymiuk said. “He’s got a very good frame that he uses to shield the puck, but could and should play with a bit more of a mean streak given his strength. He has a good long stride that allows him to burn past defenders at top speed and his fundamentals are solid as well.”

Like all prospects though, Draisaitl has his weaknesses and areas of room for improvement in order to challenge near the top.

For one, while his shot is decent, it could use a little work to take him to the next level. Secondly, like most offensively gifted players, Draisaitl’s play on the defensive side of the pucks is still a work in progress. His strong hockey IQ and vision though could allow for that to be an easy fix.

The upcoming season looks promising for Draisaitl and come draft day, things will be looking just as bright.

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