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Draft Profile: Leon Draisaitl

Tuesday, 06.17.2014 / 10:00 AM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Draft Profile: Leon Draisaitl
Leon Draisaitl is poised to become the highest-drafted German in the NHL.
Each weekday leading up to the 2014 NHL Draft on June 27-28, CarolinaHurricanes.com will profile one player we believe might be available for Carolina’s seventh pick. Previous Profiles: Michael Dal Colle | Sam Bennett | Related Links: 2014 NHL Draft Preview | Hurricanes Draft History




Michael Smith
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The highest a German prospect has ever been picked in the NHL Draft is 20th overall, when the San Jose Sharks called Marcel Goc’s name in 2001.

Leon Draisaitl will, in all likelihood, make history this year.

The Cologne, Germany, native is ranked fourth among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service and figures to be one of the top picks come draft day.

“He’s a big, strong man,” said Tony MacDonald, the Canes chief of amateur scouting. “He likes to take the puck to gain the zone, gain the line and turn to set up the play.”

Draisaitl, 18, assembled a banner sophomore season with the Prince Albert Raiders, nearly doubling his point total from a year prior in an equal number of games. In 2013-14, he ranked tied for fourth in the Western Hockey League in points (105) and third in assists (67). He added a goal and two assists in four postseason games.

LEON DRAISAITL
Leon Draisaitl
CENTER
HOMETOWN: COLOGNE, GERMANY
HEIGHT: 6'2"
WEIGHT: 204
BIRTHDAY: OCT. 27, 1995 (AGE 18)

“He’s a tremendous playmaker. He’s got great vision and can get the puck to his wingers,” MacDonald said. “He’s good at finding the open man, and he can score.”

Prior to coming to North America, Draisaitl dropped 97 goals and 192 points in just 29 games with Mannheimer’s U-16 team in 2010-11 and 56 points (21g, 35a) in 35 games with U-18 Jungadler Mannheim in 2011-12.

As arguably the best young hockey talent Germany has produced in years, Draisaitl has an extensive resume of international play. As a 17-year-old, he represented his country in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship, recording six points (2g, 4a) in as many games. He posted the exact same stat line as he captained the Germans in the 2014 World Junior Championship.

Most recently, and perhaps most impressively considering his comparative age, he competed on the German national team in the 2014 IIHF World Championship, posting a goal and three assists in seven tournament games.

“That’s playing with and against NHL players, and he fared very well there,” MacDonald said.

Draisaitl’s already-imposing frame certainly has helped him hold his own against men much older than him. At 6-foot-2 and 204 pounds, the power centerman is one of the more NHL-ready prospects from a size perspective.

“He’s a very difficult guy to defend. He’s almost like [Jaromir] Jagr. He can defend that puck, and he’s got the reach and size. It’s tough to get the puck away from him,” MacDonald said. “Physically, he’s well-equipped to enter the NHL now and play against men.”

His bloodlines are pretty strong, too. Leon’s father, Peter, played professional hockey in Germany for 18 seasons, occasionally skating with Mark Messier in Cologne during his offseason time with the Cologne Sharks. Peter, who is Czech-born, represented the German national team at the 1988, 1992 and 1998 Winter Olympics and now serves as the head coach for Mountfield HK in the Czech Extraliga.

Come June 27 in Philadelphia, Draisaitl is likely to become the highest-drafted German player in NHL history.



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - NYR 73 47 19 7 224 168 101
2 MTL 75 46 21 8 197 167 100
3 TBL 75 46 22 7 244 194 99
4 NYI 75 44 26 5 228 208 93
5 PIT 74 40 23 11 204 186 91
6 DET 73 39 22 12 212 201 90
7 WSH 74 40 24 10 215 182 90
8 OTT 73 37 25 11 213 195 85
9 BOS 74 36 25 13 195 193 85
10 FLA 74 34 26 14 184 202 82
11 PHI 75 30 29 16 196 216 76
12 NJD 74 31 31 12 166 189 74
13 CBJ 73 34 35 4 198 228 72
14 CAR 73 27 36 10 170 201 64
15 TOR 75 27 42 6 194 241 60
16 BUF 74 20 46 8 141 249 48

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 68 20 27 -13 47
J. Faulk 73 14 32 -18 46
E. Lindholm 72 16 20 -21 36
J. Skinner 68 18 12 -22 30
V. Rask 71 11 19 -12 30
R. Nash 67 8 17 -10 25
N. Gerbe 69 7 17 -13 24
J. McClement 73 7 13 -3 20
A. Nestrasil 45 7 13 4 20
J. Staal 37 4 15 -9 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 19 21 5 .910 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 5 .903 2.62