Leon Draisaitl's agent is all bluster regarding contract talks with Oilers

The agent of Leon Draisaitl has made an ultimatum to the Oilers, but in reality it's all just talk as the two sides negotiate a long-term contract extension.
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Media Day
2024 Stanley Cup Final - Media Day / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

When a report came out that the Edmonton Oilers would likely not be discussing a new deal with Evan Bouchard this summer, it was explained that there other more immediate concerns. One was that the organisation needed to get an extension sorted out with Leon Draisaitl, something which his agent is now putting to the test.

As per Zach Laing of Oilers Nation, Draisaitl's agent Jiri Poner spoke to German hockey media outlet Eishockey NEWS on Monday. One of Poner's most telling comments, was when he said: "We have our ideas, but the ball is in Edmonton's court. There's no rush yet, but either it happens quickly, i.e by the end of August, or it doesn't work out at all."

Poner sounded almost like he was contradicting himself, by claiming there's no rush yet but at the same time saying a new deal better happen quickly or else. However, we don't believe a word of it.

Two reasons why Poner is all talk

The Oilers have always indicated that they want to re-sign Draisaital for the long-term, to a lucrative deal. However, there is a couple of factors which come into play before this can happen, both of which the centre and his agent are well aware of.

The first is that the organisation wants to resolve their search for a new permanent general manager, before entering into any contract negotiations -- whether this be with Drasaitl or anyone on the Oilers roster. We've already indicated we believe it should be CEO Jeff Jackson, who has done extremely well in the role on an interim basis; regardless, it makes sense to have the position filled before proceeding with anything else.

The second factor is the Oilers' salary cap position. Although we're not talking about next season's which, as per Cap Friendly, is currently projected to have a cap space of -$354,167 but does already include the final year of Draisaitl's present deal.

No, we're talking about the 2025-26 campaign, which is currently projected to have a cap space of $29,612,500. This may sound like a decent amount, but bear in mind this only accounts for 14 players on the Oilers roster out of a possible 23.

This second factor becomes even more important, when the Oilers have to find a balance between re-signing Draisaitl and filling out the remainder of the roster with quality complimentary pieces to maintain a Stanley Cup contender. Which brings us to how much the five-time All-Star can expect in any long-term extension.

What will a new deal for Draisaitl look like?

We feel more than confident Draisaitl will be offered the maximum eight years, but at what cost? Poner said his client was playing at least 30 percent below his value for the past three seasons ($8.5 million annual average value), although the agent did stress there was no complaint about this.

However, what it does mean is that Poner will be looking to rectify this with the next deal for his client. Projections have Draisaitl earning at least $13 million per season, with the Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli recently going as high as an annual average of $14 million.

In truth, all indications are that the Oilers will offer at least the $13 million per season. They are more than aware how important the 2020 Hart Memorial Trophy winner is, with him producing the second-most points in the NHL during the span of his current deal. (No prizes for guessing who is first.)

Does the centre want to remain in Edmonton?

Really what this comes down to in reality, is whether or not Draisaitl actually wants to stay in Edmonton for the long-term. Yes he's currently playing for a Stanley Cup contender and with the best player in the world -- who by all accounts he is extremely close to -- but money still has this nasty habit of rearing its ugly head and clouding a person's judgement.

If Draisaitl wants to stay, there's going to be no issue -- an extension will be agreed. However, if he and his client are more focused on making as much money as possible -- and there's no denying other teams will pay over the odds to entice such a talented player -- then the Oilers have to consider their options.

There has been some speculation in recent months, involving Draisaitl potentially signing with two other teams specifically, once his current deal with the Oilers runs out. One involves the Boston Bruins, with the lure of being their number one centre, and the other with the San Jose Sharks, a young team with plenty of potential and with fellow German Hasso Plattner as the owner.

However, if the Oilers do sense the 2014 third overall draft pick is going to bail, they have to decide if they want to get something of value for him via a trade. Yes it won't be as much of a haul of assets for a player on an expiring contract, but it should still be decent enough for any team wanting to considerably boost their own chances of contending for the second half of next season.

Next. Good and bad of Oilers trading Ryan McLeod to the Sabres. Good and bad of Oilers trading Ryan McLeod to the Sabres. dark

Overall, we do believe Poner is all talk, with a new deal more than likely to be agreed between the two sides. Unless of course Draisaitl has already decided his time in Edmonton is coming to an end and it's best to move on, in which case the Oilers have a major dilemma to contend with.

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