Considering the impact of delaying extension talks with Evan Bouchard

With the Oilers reportedly not set to negotiate a long-term extension with Evan Bouchard this offseason, how does this factor into his future in Edmonton?
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Game Five / Elsa/GettyImages

Evan Bouchard is coming off the best season yet of his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers. In the process, he announced himself to the hockey world as one of the most dangerous offensive blue-liners in the game.

All the reasons Bouchard was selected 10th overall in the 2018 NHL entry draft came to fruition, with the Oilers more than reaping the benefits. He set a whole host of single season career-highs across the board in 2023-24, including points, +/- rating and average minutes played, as well as Corsi For and Fenwick For % in All Situations.

It still wasn't enough to get the 24-year-old among the three Norris Trophy finalists, but it was clear the Oilers had something special on their hands. Then the playoffs began.

A magical playoff ride

The Oilers had an almost dream run through the playoffs all the way through to game seven of the Stanley Cup Final, and Bouchard was a major part of the reason why. He finished second among all players in points behind a certain Connor McDavid, and led all players with a +14 rating.

Arguably the proudest highlight of Bouchard's play during the playoffs, was setting an NHL record with 26 assists by a defenceman. Making this even more special is that the player he surpassed is Oilers legend and current assistant coach on the staff, Paul Coffey.

With all this in mind, it made a recent prediction by the Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli seem feasible, that the Oilers were going to sign Bouchard to a long-term extension, for $10 million per season. As per David Staples of the Edmonton Journal, Seravalli's claim was made during an appearance on Oilers Now with Bob Stauffer.

You would like to assume the idea of this would have been a positive thought for plenty of Oilers fans. However, as per the latest update on this situation, we've now hit a snag.

Not so fast on the Bouchard extension talks

As per a report from The Athletic's Daniel Nugent-Bowman, it's unlikely the Oilers and Bouchard are going to discuss a long-term extension this summer. As things stand, the blue-liner has one year and $3.9 million remaining on his current deal, before he becomes a restricted free agent.

At first reaction, there may be some who are concerned about this. Why not move forward with trying to tie up one of your core players long-term now, rather than dragging the matter on?

However, it's quite simply a case of priorities and more immediate concerns. As noted by Nugent-Bowman, this includes deciding on a new permanent general manager, as well as looking at the situations with McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, who have two years and one year remaining respectively on their current deals.

Outside of the decision on a new general manager, any contract extension negotiations are going to be interesting from a financial perspective. As we've already covered, the Oilers currently have a projected cap space of -$2,454,167 for next season.

As a result, it makes it even more unsurprising the Oilers would prefer to kick the can a little further down the road for now, when it comes to Bouchard's next deal. Regardless, he's set to be handsomely rewarded when the time comes.

Projections have the Oakville, Ontario native making north of $9 million per season, adding further credence to Seravalli's prediction. And if he's even better than he was this past season, it will only increase his value.

dark. Next. Oilers' success has made them a desired destination. Oilers' success has made them a desired destination

Overall, we appreciate that in an ideal world the Oilers would prefer to sort out Bouchard's situation now and possibly save themselves a bit of money in the future. However, the situation is what it is, and we're sure that eventually the two sides will come up with a deal which proves satisfactory for all concerned, benefiting both the player and the organisation.

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