After weeks of panic and uncertainty, the Edmonton Oilers have put the hysteria to rest and re-signed Leon Draisaitl, the team announced Wednesday.
The eight-year, $68 million contract pays Draisaitl $8.5 million per season, and this is the last free agent the Oilers had to sign this offseason. This is also the second long-term deal the Oilers have made this offseason, as they signed Connor McDavid to an eight-year, $100 million extension to kick off free agency.
When McDavid re-signed, many were curious and concerned to see when Draisaitl would also ink a long-term deal. In addition, there was debate over how much money the German winger would be making, given his breakout performance this past season and his experience so far.
And after a month went by without a deal in place, concern grew much stronger. Though Peter Chiarelli had said he would match any offer sheet, some were concerned that there would be tension and a holdout that would result in Draisaitl relocating to another team.
This past season, Draisatil finished eighth in the league in scoring, posting 29 goals and 77 points. He was also outstanding on the top line with McDavid and was a huge part of the captain’s 100-point campaign. McDavid and Draisaitl also combined to lead the league as the NHL’s deadliest duo with 177 total points through 82 games.
In addition to an outstanding regular season, the 21-year-old shined in the postseason, leading the Oilers in scoring through the playoffs. In 13 playoff games, Draisaitl scored six goals and 16 points and was a huge reason why the team made it all the way to game seven of the second round.
Overall, this is a great deal for the Oilers. With McDavid making $12.5 million per season, some were concerned that Draisaitl’s pay raise would reflect this, and he would be making more than $9 million. While he deserves a pay raise, this would definitely lead to big cap problems down the road.
With $8.5 per season, the Oilers are not overpaying for him, but are still giving him the money he deserves and an incentive for his trend upward. Combined, him and McDavid will take up $21 million in cap space, but this leaves enough for them to re-sign their key players and move forward with the depth they already have.
In the end, Draisaitl is only going to get better from, and with him and McDavid locked in and leading the charge, the Oilers are well on their way to becoming top Pacific defenders.