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The Edmonton Oilers signed center Leon Draisaitl to a three-year entry-level contract on Tuesday. Financial terms of the deal were not revealed.
Draisaitl is from Cologne, Germany. He was the third overall pick in this year’s draft, and is the highest drafted German-trained player, according to NHL.com. He will try to join the Oilers' recent first-round picks Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov as players who made the team right after they were drafted.
"First of all, I want to thank [owner] Daryl Katz and [general manager] Craig MacTavish and all the other people who are part of the Oilers organization for giving me this opportunity and making this happen," Draisaitl said. "It's really exciting for me and my family."
He added that he hopes to join the team, but wants to avoid putting too much pressure on himself.
"I think I know what it takes to be an NHL player. I've been working extremely hard this summer," he continued. "It's nice to be around people who are working with this organization, the athletic trainers and all these people. It definitely makes you feel that you're part of this organization."
Last season, Draisaitl played for the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. He had 105 points, 38 goals, and 67 assists in 64 games last season, according to the Associated Press. In four playoff games last year, Draisaitl had one goal and two assists. Draisaitl represented Germany at the 2014 world championships, where he had four points, one goal, and three assists in seven games.
The Oilers traded one of their best centers, Sam Gagner, to the Tampa Bay Lightning in June. The trade left the Oilers with no depth at the center position. Draisaitl could help fill that gap.