Making sense of the Leon Draisaitl to San Jose Sharks speculation

How feasible are the rumors which are suggesting Leon Draisaitl will move on from the Edmonton Oilers and decide to join the lowly San Jose Sharks?
Los Angeles Kings v Edmonton Oilers - Game Five
Los Angeles Kings v Edmonton Oilers - Game Five / Codie McLachlan/GettyImages

The main takeaway from Tuesday night's pivotal 3-2 win over the Canucks, was the decision to give Calvin Pickard the first playoff start of his NHL career. Putting him in for the embattled Stuart Skinner, may well have just saved the Edmonton Oilers' season.

However, arguably the biggest reason the Oilers are in contention for the Stanley Cup in general, is the play of Leon Draisaitl. Heading into Wednesday's action, he leads all NHL players with 20 points -- compromising of eight goals and 12 assists -- two ahead of teammate Connor McDavid.

It's always been well known and appreciated how crucial Draisaitl is to the success in Edmonton, but he's stepping up particularly in this season's playoffs. If the Oilers do somehow go on to win their first Stanley Cup since 1990, he will undoubtedly play a major role.

Which all this said, a rumour has emerged which is make news, as much as for what it is as well as the timing of it. More specifically, that Draisaitl could move on to the San Jose Sharks once he becomes a free agent.

Draisaitl headed to San Jose?

The 2020 Hart Memorial Trophy winner has one more season remaining on his current eight-year, $68 million deal. However, could he really decide to leave Edmonton and sign with the Sharks of all teams?

In order to quantify the feasibility of the speculation, it's important to note the source: Sportsnet's Jeff Marek and Mark Greg Wyshynski of ESPN. The duo discussed the Draisaitl to San Jose rumour, during Tuesday's edition of The Jeff Marek Show.

The initial instinct is to dismiss the rumuor as ridiculous and pure fantasy, considering that we're talking about the lowly Sharks. However, just the fact it's a couple of media personnel who have fine reputations -- particularly Marek -- gives the speculation at least some credence.

One of the main reasons for the rumour -- which Marek said had been around for at least a year -- is because Sharks owner Hasso Plattner is German, like Draisaitl. However, even allowing for this, surely there would have to be a stronger attraction for the Oilers star than just a geographical connection?

The duo went on to note that the Sharks have a lot of great young players and are in an emerging market, although we wouldn't necessarily outright agree with that second point. In terms of the strong youthful roster though, they do also have the first overall selection in this year's draft after winning the NHL lottery draft.

Again though, is even this enough reason for Draisaitl to go to San Jose? Another enticement may well come in the form of financial compensation.

The Oilers will certainly need to improve on the five-time NHL All-Star's current annual value of $8.5 million in any future deal, but their ongoing issues with the salary cap are well-noted. By comparison, as per Cap Friendly, the Sharks are in a much stronger financial position and can easily meet his demands.

So how realistic is the speculation?

Despite all this, the idea of Draisaitl swapping playing alongside a superstar teammate on a perennial Stanley Cup contender, for the lowly Sharks, just doesn't seem right. They haven't been to the playoffs for five seasons, and just because they have a lot of potential young talent, it doesn't mean it will all come together to form a contender in San Jose.

We do know the Oilers will do everything within their power to re-sign the 2014 third overall draft pick, and preferably before his current deal expires. However, even if he does go to free agency, there will be a lot of interest in him from around the NHL.

Along these lines, there will be plenty of more enticing options than the Sharks, if he does decide to move on from Edmonton. Just recently, there was speculation linking him to the Boston Bruins, who are always in contention, having only missed the playoffs seven times since 1967.

Did Calvin Pickard save the Oilers and their playoff chances?. dark. Next. Did Calvin Pickard save the Oilers and their playoff chances?

Overall, we will not go as far as entirely dismissing the Draisaitl to San Jose speculation without serious thought. At the same time however, we still believe it is unlikely the 2020 Art Ross Trophy winner ends up signing with the Sharks.

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