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Tracking the Storm

Draft Profile: Leon Draisaitl

Tuesday, 06.17.2014 / 10:00 AM / 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 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61