As reported earlier, Edmonton rookie center Leon Draisaitl will play his 10th game tomorrow, thus burning the first year of his entry-level contract.
Winners of four straight, the Oilers decided to keep Draisaitl, as opposed to sending him back to junior and delaying the start of his contract, because, according to coach Dallas Eakins, the big 19-year-old deserves to stick around.
“He continues to improve,” Eakins said, per NHL.com. “Had he fallen off a cliff along the way, that would have been the easy decision [to send him back]. It’s been a very easy discussion. He’s earned his right, he continues to get better and those are positive signs for us.”
Draisaitl has logged an average of 13:14 per contest, scoring once with two assists. He’s only taken 96 draws, but for a youngster, he’s done reasonably well, winning 47.9 percent of them.
The third overall pick in the 2014 draft, Draisaitl has also been a positive possession player, boasting one of the better Corsi scores on his team.
Granted, Eakins has protected Draisaitl, restricting the number of times he starts in the defensive zone. Draisaitl’s also been given a couple of veteran wingers, David Perron and Teddy Purcell, to skate with.
“I’m just trying to get better every day and focus day by day, game by game,” said Draisaitl. “That’s what I’m trying to do, just get up every morning and try to get better every day. I was obviously hoping to stick around a little longer and stay here. I was really happy to get that information that I can stick around for a little bit.”