The Edmonton Oilers offseason continues to drag on, and fans are counting down the days until the regular season. To help pass the time, we started a mailbag, where fans can submit questions and ask anything about the Oilers moving forward.
Of course, the main questions (actually, the only questions) that came in all surrounded the elephant in the room. Why hasn’t Leon Draisaitl signed an extension yet, and with the season approaching, what will formulate moving forward?
First off, let’s not panic. There are still many players around the league who haven’t re-signed for one reason or another. In fact, there were 30 arbitration cases in the NHL this summer, and the only one to actually go to trial was the case between Nate Schmidt and the Vegas Golden Knights, which easily got resolved. While Draisaitl is not eligible for arbitration, this is a good sign, as all issues get resolved sooner rather than later.
Second, it seems that the holdout is being blown out of proportion. Sure, the two sides may disagree and can’t come to term on salary and term, but that doesn’t mean that tensions are rising. The situation has not been public, nor has it escalated to the tension that we saw last year with Jacob Trouba and the Winnipeg Jets. So, no one should automatically assume that there’s tension or trouble brewing.
Not only that, General Manager Peter Chiarelli has already said that a deal will get done and that he will match any offer sheet. This isn’t off the table, and therefore, there’s no reason to worry.
Projecting His Contract
When it comes down to predicting his final contract, I am expecting either a bridge-deal or a long-term contract. If he signs long-term with the team, the 21-year-old will likely get similar pay to Evgeny Kuznetsov for around $7 to $8 million per season. If it’s a bridge-deal, it’ll be something of a two-year contract worth around $4-5 million a year.
Draisaitl is a strong winger with a lot of upside. He had 29 goals and 77 points this past season and was also a huge factor on the top line for Connor McDavid. However, this was just his third year in the NHL, and he has yet to prove himself as a consistent elite scorer. He will certainly make that kind of money in time, but a $9 million deal isn’t an ideal contract for a player just coming off his entry-level deal.
Though McDavid is making a hefty salary off his ELC, he is a generational talent and a consistent scorer, as well as the team’s captain. He is also currently the centre of the franchise and is already joining the ranks of the league’s elite. That’s why McDavid’s contract is much higher, and if Draisaitl keeps up the good work, he’ll get that contract sooner rather than later.
Overall, negotiations may be ongoing, but there is no reason to panic. A good contract for an up-and-comer like Draisaitl takes time. However, just because the German winger hasn’t signed an extension yet doesn’t mean he won’t.