Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl


Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl


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Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl

The Edmonton Oilers were just one goal shy of sending Game 7 of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final to overtime and potentially winning the title. They might not be so close soon if they lose one of their two superstars in forward Leon Draisaitl.

Draisaitl, for context, is entering the final season of the eight-year, $68 million contract he signed with the Oilers in August 2017.

With less than 12 months between now and the superstar becoming a free agent, Draisaitl’s agent Jiri Poner has floated a deadline for Edmonton to sign his client to an extension or risk losing him for nothing.

Meanwhile, Draisaitl’s agent Jiri Poner told Michael Bauer of Germany’s EishockeyNews that the ball was in the Oilers’ court.

#LetsGoOilers

“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 told German outlet Eis Hockey News on July 1, via Lyle Richardson of The Hockey News. “It will also become clear whether Edmonton wants him or not. Leon holds all the trump cards.”

Draisaitl became eligible to sign a contract extension on July 1, 2024, but there’s been no news related to that happening or being in the works.

The Oilers are coming off completing a trade following the first few days of free agency, sending Ryan McLeod and prospect Tyler Tullio to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for prospect Matthew Savoie. The transaction opened $2.1 million of cap space in Edmonton’s books, giving the franchise some room to work on their pending extensions.

Those include Draisaitl’s and fellow superstar Evan Bouchard. That said, it’s fair to assume the Oilers will try to get a new general manager on board before signing any player to new top-dollar contracts following the exit of former GM Ken Holland.


Oilers to Play ‘Waiting Game’ with Draisaitl & Bouchard

The Oilers are expected to delay extension talks until the end of the offseason, including those of upcoming 2025 free agents and franchise stars Bouchard and Draisaitl.

According to The Athletic’s Daniel Nugent-Bowman, reporting on July 5, it is “unlikely” the Oilers will entertain any discussion about a potential contract extension with Bouchard during the 2024 summer with the franchise focusing on other business.

I’m told it’s unlikely the Oilers & Evan Bouchard (RFA: 2025 w/ arb rights; UFA: 2027) will discuss an extension this summer.

EDM — More pressing things to address (GM, Draisaitl, McDavid).

Bouchard — High likelihood of building off Norris 5th place & starring in the playoffs.

“I’m told it’s unlikely the Oilers & Evan Bouchard (RFA: 2025 w/ arb rights; UFA: 2027) will discuss an extension this summer,” Nugent-Bowman wrote on X.

As the reporter noted, Bouchard will become a restricted free agent at the end of the 2024-25 season having arbitration rights. Bouchard is entering the last season of his two-year, $7.8 million contract.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman included a note on Draisaitl in his 32 Thoughts column published on June 30, right before the start of free agency.

The insider believes Edmonton knows the impact of handling the star’s contract situation properly could impact Connor McDavid‘s future within the organization.

“On Leon Draisaitl: the thing to recognize here is that this is not just a Draisaitl negotiation. This is also a Connor McDavid conversation,” Friedman wrote. “They are very, very close but this is going to be a deep dive into what both are thinking in the short and long-term. These are not discussions to have in the immediate aftermath of an emotional defeat.

“[Oilers temporary GM Jeff] Jackson seems prepared to slow-play this, waiting until after a new GM is hired, letting everyone breathe. The Oilers won’t be concerned if no concrete answers exist for a few weeks. They didn’t have to know by the draft or July 1. We’ll see.”


How Could Draisaitl’s Contract Look Like?

 

Draisaitl scored 106 points in 81 games in the 2023-24 season. He has scored 100 or more points in five different campaigns since 2017. He is one of only two players (teammate Connor McDavid is the other one) with more than 500 points scored in the last five seasons.

That production is clearly not on par with his current $8.5 million annual salary, a cap hit he’s carried from the start of his contract back in 2017. An extension will most probably see that number inevitably go up a few million.

Why the Oilers should resist trading Leon Draisaitl even if extension talks don’t progress

Nugent-Bowman wrote an article on June 26 in which he compared Draisaitl’s potential new contract with those of fellow superstar forwards Nathan MacKinnonDavid PastrnakAuston MatthewsWilliam Nylander, and Elias Pettersson.

The analyst projected Draisaitl to ask for, “at a minimum,” a contract of “$12.5 million on average and probably $13 million as the floor for his next cap hit.”

Seravalli says Oilers have begun contract talks with Draisaitl, McDavid is committed to staying in Edmonton #LetsGoOilers

Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff revealed on June 14, during a conversation with Bob Stauffer on the “Oilers Now” podcast, that the Oilers are preparing an extension package amounting to a combined $40 million annually to offer to the three core members of the team: Draisaitl, McDavid, and Bouchard.

“My point is, two years from now when the Oilers take the ice, those three same guys are going to add up to $40 million bucks,” Seravalli said.

Stauffer suggested a split of $16, $14, and $10 million respectively for McDavid, Draisaitl, and Bouchard’s deals, which Seravalli confirmed as his projection.

“Yes, that’s my projection,” Seravalli answered. “And if the Oilers are sitting in their office with Jeff Jackson‘s big board that he has up there, I think the numbers are really close to that.”

Antonio Losada covers the NHL for Heavy.com. A veteran sports writer, Antonio has covered the NBA, NFL and soccer for over 10 years, with bylines at SB Nation, FanSided, Yahoo Sports, FanGraphs, RotoBaller and more. He has also been nominated for multiple FSWA awards, including Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and DFS Writer of the Year. More about Antonio Losada





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