In yet another woeful season, the Edmonton Oilers have left themselves open to plenty of criticism, including the handling of Leon Draisaitl’s development.
Draisaitl, the third overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, has played 35 games for the Oilers this season, scoring twice with seven points. By staying beyond the nine-game trial period – the club’s former head coach Dallas Eakins said Draisaitl “earned the right” to stay in the NHL – the Oilers burn a year off his entry-level contract.
It appears the 19-year-old center, who was not loaned to Team Germany for the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship, is now on his way back to the Western Hockey League.
Sportsnet has learned that it is highly likely the Edmonton Oilers will assign Draisaitl back to junior in the Western Hockey League on Saturday, if not sooner.
The move would end a debate that has gone on since the German centre, chosen third overall in the 2014 draft, made the Oiler roster out of training camp, ostensibly due to an organizational void at centre ice. Although the Prince Alberta Raiders own Draisaitl’s junior rights, he will almost certainly end up in Kelowna, where the Rockets recently traded for Raiders defenceman and Winnipeg draft pick Josh Morrissey, in a push to win the Memorial Cup this season.
Meanwhile, the Oilers, with an NHL worst 7-22-7 record and 21 points, take on the L.A. Kings.