What's Buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

For Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers eye Europe, not WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders, as fallback — report

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

View photo

.

Draisaitl had a 100-point season for Prince Albert during his draft year (Matt Slocum, Associated Press)

Evidently, P.A. is not part of Plan B for Leon Draisaitl. The Edmonton Oilers, according to a report from Global TV Edmonton's Dean Millard, have not so indirectly tossed another log on the fire that is the debate over what is best for a 19-year-old with sky-high potential, as indications are that the NHL's No. 3 overall choice will not be back with the Prince Albert Raiders under any circumstances.

Normally, for a draft pick from the Canadian Hockey League, it's either make the big club or return to junior until his age-20 season. It is hardly unheard of, though, for an import who came over when he was 17 to play two seasons in the CHL and then sign to play for pay in a men's league in Europe. Nail Yakupov did the same in 2012-13 after being drafted by the Oilers (not without complications), and it appears Draisaitl, who had 105 points in just 64 games, could do the same if the NHL learning curve proves too steep.

Here's Millard:

The juxtaposition in the circumstances of Draisaitl and the Oilers' other 19-year-old first-rounder, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds captain Darnell Nurse, are fairly obvious. Nurse, thanks to the CHL-NHL agreement, can only play in the big league or in the OHL. North American players typically also have a contractual commitment that extends from the time they sign until they turn 20. That, along with import restrictions in the myriad European leagues, to say nothing of the attendant culture shock, is why we do not see a born-and-raised Canadian skip his final year of junior to sign in the Swedish Elite League.

It doesn't seem fair, but distinctions are distinctions. There is always something to learn from another year of junior, though.

In Draisaitl's case, the general consensus is that the Cologne, Germany, native mostly needs to work on his skating and speeding up his decision making. Playing against experienced pros surely poses more challenge on those fronts than another year in the WHL.

It might seem like thin gruel, but should this come to pass, at least Prince Albert isn't kept on the hook the way other major junior teams when their erstwhile star is given every opportunity to stay in the NHL at age 18 or 19. The Raiders have one incumbent import, 19-year-old defenceman Tomas Andrlik. The Eastern Division club also selected forward Simon Stransky, a late-birthday 16-year-old, in July. This alleviates a potential logjam.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet.

View Comments (0)
  • Howe wants young Cherries to ripen into pick of the bunch

    Howe wants young Cherries to ripen into pick of the bunch

    Manager Eddie Howe is focused on ensuring young players coming through the ranks at Bournemouth can fulfil their potential and even go on to forge international careers. Bournemouth appear set to give academy graduates first team opportunities this … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Zimbabwe lose strike bowler Chatara for test series

    Zimbabwe lose strike bowler Chatara for test series

    Zimbabwe strike bowler Tendai Chatara has been ruled out of the test series against New Zealand after hurting his ankle, Zimbabwe Cricket announced on Monday. Chatara, who fractured his leg playing a casual game of soccer last year, will be … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago
  • Japanese Buddhist priest contemplates canoe gold in Rio

    Japanese Buddhist priest contemplates canoe gold in Rio

    When he's not chanting and living the austere life of a Buddhist priest, Kazuki Yazawa contemplates Olympic gold. The 27-year-old Yazawa will represent Japan in canoe slalom at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics where he hopes to use his mental toughness … More »

    AP - Sports - 32 minutes ago
  • Boos to cheers: Durant heads home to Oakland with Team USA

    Even in a jersey with ''USA'' on the chest, Kevin Durant got some boos at Staples Center on Sunday night. When he suits up in Oakland on Tuesday for the first time since joining the Golden State Warriors, he'll get another reception entirely. … More »

    AP - Sports - 35 minutes ago
  • New Zealand satisfied with Rio Village after remedial work

    (Reuters) - New Zealand's Olympic team said they were satisfied with their accommodation for the Rio de Janeiro Games on Sunday, despite their trans-Tasman Sea neighbours Australia refusing to move in. The Australian Olympic team have declined to … More »

    Reuters - 43 minutes ago