At the beginning of the season, the words on everybody's lips were "you can't send Draisaitl down because there's nobody who could take his place on the team". I like Draisaitl, just like everybody else, but right now he could be replaced by almost any actual NHL center.
After Tuesday night's NHL games, Draisaitl is 111th in points by centers, 131st in points per 60 minutes of even strength ice time by centers with ten or more games played, he's losing the possession battle despite pillowy soft opponents and zone starts, and his ice time has steadily decreased since the end of October so that now he's playing less than ten minutes a night.
I'm not trying to pile on the guy, but it's time to make a deal to get him out of here for his sake. Forget the team, forget the season - that's over with already - get this player back to Junior for his long term benefit. The Oilers and the fans have been spoiled with first overall picks who step directly into the NHL, but most players his age don't do that. He's not ready, so pop the kid back into the oven of the WHL, not the bonfire of the NHL.
At this point, a player like Kyle Brodziak isn't even a step down from Draisaitl. Brodziak is outscoring the young German on a per-game basis (12 GP, 3-1-4), and can be used as a throwaway in this dead season if he doesn't work out.
Hell, even Anton Lander is an option. He's a point-per-game player in the AHL so far, which we know hasn't translated for him up to this point - but who cares? Is a Lander-for-Draisaitl swap going to be the difference between the Oilers making the playoffs and missing them? At least the Oilers could find out what they've got in Lander once and for all, and they could get Draisaitl out of here. Lord help them if injuries strike, but that's on management to sort out when the time comes.
Things only get tougher from here. Twenty-three of Edmonton's next 32 games will come against the West, which should mean misery for two months and change, followed by the ever-popular death march. If Draisaitl was going to make hay, it was going to happen in the first six weeks of the schedule. He has shown that he has some nice tools for the future.
Now please Oilers, do what you should have done a month ago and send him away from this.