Monday Mailbag – McDavid’s Next Contract


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Happy ‘we’re-in-a-playoff-spot-on-a-Monday-late-January’ to all of you! I promise to work turning days like these into civic holidays so we can all sit at home in our undies, but there’s still a ways to go. Until then, let’s all kill some time together whilst learning about the Oilers we love and arguing with the strangers we hate. Allow the Mailbag to dust off a few minutes of company time and get you closer to going home. As always, I need questions for the Mailbag so email me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk. Enough of me – let’s learn something.

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1) Stefan R. asks – I had an interesting twitter conversation last week about McD’s next contract. Some feel he will be among the league’s highest paid, but I feel with Tarasenko and Ekblad as his only real comparables, and 5 years away from FA, his AAV will be lower than many think. What do you guys think his next contract might look like?

Jonathan Willis:

I can’t answer that question because the answer is “Whatever McDavid wants.” This isn’t about comparables to me, because I can’t pick a team in the league that wouldn’t be well-advised to offer $100 million over eight years and pay the compensation for trying to sign him as an RFA. I also can’t imagine the Oilers letting him go, even at that price. How he personally balances a) personal compensation b) the ability of Edmonton to pay the rest of the team (and therefore to win) and c) how the Oilers winning things will improve his marketability in promotion deals is something I can’t begin to know.

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In his shoes, I’d be looking at the second Stamkos contract or the second Crosby contract as inspiration. That means a 4-5 year deal, killing off all those RFA years, and maybe giving a UFA year as a goodwill gesture. I’d also insist on getting paid but perhaps, as Crosby did, McDavid will accept a more modest salary in the interest of allowing the Oilers to spend on other players.

Jason Gregor:

I’m not sure why you think Ekblad, a D-man, is a comparable. The comparable is Sidney Crosby. McDavid likely won’t take the highest AAV, because he wants to win. He’ll make a lot of money through endorsements. If he wants to win I don’t see him going higher than around $10 mill AAV.


I think the Oilers will go eight years times a very large number. Connor McDavid has no comparable. I suspect this is going to be a massive contract. If management plays their cards right, McDavid will be a lifetime Oiler with multiple Stanleys. Go long and go deep.

Robin Brownlee:

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McDavid will be among the top-10 highest players with a max-length deal (8 years) of 10.5 to 11.5 million. I’d consider that a hometown discount.

Matt Henderson:

I think Connor McDavid can name his price and the Oilers will pay it. If HE wants $12 million plus, he’ll get it. It’s up to Chiarelli to come up with a number that he thinks he can afford and still build a cup contender around then sell it to McDavid. I think his next deal is eight years, $80 million. Less would be one hell of a sell job by Chiarelli.

Chris the Intern:

If Connor McDavid asks to get paid $100 billion over 20 years THEN YOU SIGN THAT CONTRACT! I don’t care what the CBA says.


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I’m guessing he’s going to get eight years at $9.7 million per year. I believe that Connor McDavid will want to win more than he’ll want to cash in. He’s going to make millions of dollars in corporate sponsorship so it will all even out in the end. Eight years, $9.7 per year. Don’t @ me.


2) @jfresz asks – There has been a lot of talk about trading for a RW or RD who can run the PP. However, if Edmonton keeps rolling, is there any concern that making a deal would screw up the team chemistry and cause the team to regress?

Jonathan Willis:

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No. If the personality balance is that fragile the team is bound to implode when it hits adversity anyway.

Jason Gregor:

I don’t see much of a concern. Adding one player shouldn’t disrupt your entire room or the chemistry of a team. Darnell Nurse will return to the lineup in mid-March after being out 10-12 weeks. I don’t see him disrupting chemistry either. If you add a good player the room will be happy.


You always want to have plenty of depth for the playoff run, so I would guess we will see some players added. As Edmonton continues to play well, we may see more of a tweak than a substantial addition, but there are miles to go.

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Robin Brownlee:

If it’s a significant player — top-six forward, top-pairing D-man — who plays a lot of minutes there is always the possibility that moving people around can impact what you call chemistry. I don’t see the Oilers making a move for a player who falls into that category.

Matt Henderson:

Sure, there’s always the worry that things can get screwed up. The good news is that a RW will be bottom six and worst case can be swapped out no problem. It’s a bigger concern to get a quality RHD and have it backfire because that guy will be playing 20 minutes a night. I think you can guess where I stand on that issue, but chances are Russell would still be on the team and playing on his natural side. So hopefully the team can only get stronger.

Chris the Intern:

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This is pretty much the reason why I’d never make a good NHL GM. I think so, but I’m pretty sure Chia wouldn’t care at all. If the Oilers continue to stay hot, specifically someone like Eberle for example, I’m pretty sure it would just be raising his trade value. If Chia wanted to trade him a month ago, I don’t think that decision will change.


Maybe if they’re bringing in Kony 2012 or someone like that. I don’t think that bringing in one or two guys will affect the chemistry or bond between the other 20 dudes in the room. You ever get anyone new at work? Anyone ever leave? It happens.

3) @vandenhootie asks – Who are some potential rentals options that Chia could look at if they go fishing at the trade deadline? If not sure, what type of player do the Oilers need to fill out the roster?

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Jonathan Willis:

The answer to that is a full column all by itself, so I’m not going to get into all the different potential rental options here. A right-shot forward with offensive ability, a third line centre, a right-shooting defenceman with offensive ability and a backup goaltender top the list of player-types.

Jason Gregor:

The need another RW or a third line C. I have a series every week outlining different players. Vanek, Boyle and Eaves are three I’ve written about and I have a few more coming. The challenge right now is only Arizona and Colorado are truly out of it. However, Ken Holland already stated the Wings won’t be buyers, so they are sellers. I’d guess New Jersey and Buffalo are also leaning that way, and likely Vancouver. I think their management knows what they have.


I think Peter Chiarelli could add an inexpensive goalie with experience like Reto Berra, a veteran depth defender (power-play options are few and far between) like Mark Streit and a third-line center like Martin Hanzal. It all depends on prices, of course. Chances are these players will cost too much.

Robin Brownlee:

I like Michael Stone out of Arizona. He’s a right-shot guy who will be cheaper than Kevin Shattenkirk if the Oilers obtain him and actually try to re-sign him. Still with Arizona, I don’t mind Martin Hanzal as an option up front.

Matt Henderson:

Vanek, Vrbata, Shattenkirk, Stone, Parenteau. Those are some of the names I think about as rentals. I was pushing for Parenteau in October when he went on waivers but I am open to any of the above. I am hella intrigued about Shattenkirk and trying to win him over to re-signing in Edmonton.

Chris the Intern:

To be honest I liked Vanek… until he got injured. I would obviously love Shattenkirk but I don’t think that’ll ever happen. Gregor wrote an article last week about acquiring Boyle which I’m not totally opposed to. There aren’t a ton of options out there but I would push for right wing depth as well as defencemen.


I love Shattenkirk but that’s the kind of rental payment that kicks you in the balls later. I like Brian Boyle, the giant out of New York that’s in the last year of his deal. I liked Vanek because he would have added some scoring depth, but I know he got hurt and haven’t been paying attention to what’s happened since.

Let's Make a Deal

4) Blake asks – Do you see the Oilers moving their 2017 first round pick for help at the deadline or is it still too early for that?

Jonathan Willis:

I’m writing my answer between the Anaheim and San Jose games, and I’d say it’s still too early to tell. The West is weak this year, which opens up the window of opportunity a little earlier for the Oilers. However, I’d like to see how the club performs against the Sharks, Wild, Blackhawks, Canadiens and Capitals over the next month before making an all-in decision at the deadline. Right now I think they’re a building team but not a true contender, but if the next month goes well I may be singing a different tune.

Jason Gregor:

Only way you move the pick is if you acquire a forward with a few years remaining on his contract. The Oilers aren’t a legit Cup contender yet, so I’d guess Chiarelli wants to keep his pick. However, if they win one round of the playoffs, which isn’t unrealistic, then their pick would be at best #24. Those picks are still valuable, but often late first rounders aren’t much more valuable than early second rounders.


I am hopeful Edmonton stays the course and keeps that selection. There is a terrific RHD named Cale Makar who would be a perfect fit and could be available where Edmonton drafts this summer.

Robin Brownlee:

Could it happen? Sure. I think it’s possible but unlikely.

Matt Henderson:

I don’t think it’s too early to trade the first round pick for immediate help in terms of the window being open. The issue is this stupid expansion draft. I think options will open between the expansion draft and the entry draft. The 2017 first can be best used to help acquire that RHD they need.

Chris the Intern:

I could totally see it, however, the payout couldn’t be a rental player. I can also imagine Chia thinking that you can never have enough depth in the organization and wanting to keep it.


I don’t think they should trade it because I don’t think this is the year that they go all in on a Cup run. Keep the pick, stock up the shelves, and make the run next year.

5) Francesco asks – With the Oilers looking like they’re going to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006 I’m wondering what is your fondest memory from that magical run?

Jonathan Willis:

Ales Hemsky scoring twice in Game 6 against the Red Wings. Detroit was a fantastic hockey team that year, and once Edmonton got past them I knew the rest were beatable. The hockey press at that point was also more prone to saying disparaging things about Europeans generally (and Hemsky always had his critics in Edmonton who didn’t care for his practice habits), so watching Hemsky score two massive goals to knock off the Red Wings was tremendous.

Jason Gregor:

I hosted the evening show in 2006. Post game emotion/reaction is the best. Fans were fired up. On many nights we stayed on air until 2 am as fans kept wanting to talk hockey. It was nice discussing positive play rather than always having to dissect brutal plays and bad players.


My kids really got into the playoff run that spring and summer. They were in school and it seemed all of Edmonton and area ate, drank and slept hockey. From an Oilers POV, that Fernando goal in OT will never leave my memory. It was beautiful.

Robin Brownlee:

The term fondest doesn’t really come to mind because I was working the series and the whole playoff run was a bit of a hair-on-fire blur. Lots of vivid memories, though. Fernando Pisani’s whole playoff run was wonderful to witness. Chris Pronger’s quiet determination was unforgettable. I’ll never forget the looks on the faces of the players in the dressing room as the first-round upset of the Red Wings sunk in. I’ll never forget the silence in the room after the Game 7 loss in Carolina. I felt for every one of those guys. The roar of the crowd at Rexall Place still echoes in my mind. Those guys played their asses off. It was a wonderful stretch of hockey.

Matt Henderson:

I was in University and working at a restaurant. When the playoffs started I made an offhand comment to my boss that if the Oilers made the finals he couldn’t schedule me on any of the game nights and he agreed. We both chuckled then moved on about our business (chicken wings). The Oilers kept advancing and I didn’t say a word about our agreement to my boss. Round after round they kept progressing. When they made the finals I went to check the schedule assuming the boss had “conveniently forgotten” our agreement. I didn’t work a single one of the game nights. Not one. Not even an early shift that ended just before game time. I had a good boss.

Chris the Intern:

I’m going to go off the board and not talk about the games at all. I was in grade… seven (I think?) when it happened. My favourite memory was driving into the city frequently with my parents to either run errands or for whatever other reasons. Seeing 90% of the vehicles in Edmonton decked out in car flags was amazing to me. I couldn’t get enough of it. Let me tell you that if/as soon as we clinch this year I’m buying car flags.


I was at the game that went to triple overtime when Smytty got his teeth knocked out. I’ll never forget the place going bonkers after Horcoff scored and the silver pom poms that they handed out raining down because people were throwing them. It was either that or a first round game I went to against Detroit when the entire crowd chanted ‘Man-ny Man-ny Man-ny’ over and over at Manny Legace. There was one point where the game went to a TV timeout and the chant continued throughout the entire break. It rattled him, there was no way it wouldn’t.


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  • I was driving from Calgary (spits) up to Edmonton on a Friday evening, the night of Game 4 in the 2006 Western Semis against San Jose. As it turned out there was a massive accident on QE2 that evening and I listened to the entire game on the radio without moving an inch. It was pretty amazing to see just how many Oilers fans were in that traffic lineup, Edmonton won 6-3 (scoring 5 straight after going behind 3-1) and every time the Oilers scored the horn honking and cheering would ring out along the entire highway.

    It was a warm, sunny evening and a minor street party may have broken out between a few of us stuck there, snacks and beverages were shard and for a little while strangers became friends.

    Maybe the single-most memorable hockey game I never got a chance to watch.

  • jonnyquixote

    ” He’s going to make millions of dollars in corporate sponsorship so it will all even out in the end”

    I don’t think this makes much sense, unless the argument that Edmonton is more lucrative than most other markets for endorsements, so he’ll take less to play here.

    Otherwise, his endorsement money isn’t going to influence his contract number. He’s getting that anyway. The only thing that’s going to balance his desire to maximize his salary is his willingness to take a lower salary to leave more cap space for good teammates.

    I don’t see that willingness being strong enough that cap hit below 10 million per. If he comes in at 10.5 or 11 he’ll still be leaving money on the table.

    • BigMcD

      I could be wrong but I think he has to be in the range of 10.5 ml/season. I think that with Kane and Teows at 10.5 cap hit ,Connor has to be there as well. I know that I’d rather have McDavid . If you can wrap him up for 8 at that price you do it.

      • jonnyquixote

        In order for your comment to make sense, Edmonton would have to be more lucrative an endorsement destination than other options so as to get Connor to take less to stay here. Otherwise it’s not going to “even out”.

        I can’t see that being the case. In fact it’s probably less so here than other destinations. McDavid in Toronto or New York or California or a number of other markets would raise his profile and his endorsement earning potential.

        At best, it’s a non factor. At worst, he’d want to be paid more here to offset endorsement losses.

  • Fortinbras

    Unfortunately for the Oilers, Mcdavid will be under so much pressure from the players union to set the new standard, to be the new comparable for all exceptional players; there will be very little discount.

    The good news is he is an Oiler!!

    • Rob...

      Perhaps. Of course McDavid also just witnessed, first-hand, Gretzky call for a video review on a missed offside in an all star game because winning was so important. I think you’re selling him short if you think it’ll be exclusively about dollars. He’ll take into account how his legacy will differ with or without the ultimate prize; a prize much easier to win with more talent on the team.

  • positivebrontefan

    My youngest daughter, she’s 10, almost 11, was born during the first round against Detroit. I remember her being born around 3:00 in the afternoon and then rushing around trying to get the TV guy at the Hospital so they could activate the TV in my wife’s room so we could watch the game together that evening. Detroit won that game to tie the series at 2, but we were still the happiest people in the world.I mean, we were going to go on to win a bunch of cups with Pronger and Roloson anyway, weren’t we?

    My father inlaw and brother inlaw showed up after coming back from the game and wanted to hold the new born. Father inlaw was three sheets to the wind and we refused to let him hold her and he got all belligerent, LOL, we still bug him about that one.

    My oldest was almost 2 at the time and anytime she could she watched the games, sucking her thumb curled up in the crook of my arm. She still loves hockey to this day, and bargains like a champ to try and get to every game she can. Lets hope they both get to see playoff hockey very soon!!!

  • OriginalPouzar

    I simply disagree with popular opinion that the organization pays McDavid “whatever he wants”.

    Yes, he is currently in the conversation for best player in the game at 20 and will be the best player in the game very shortly (perhaps months).

    At the same time, we are in the cap era and McDavid cannot win a cup on his own. Anything over $12M/year cap hit is absurd, even for McDavid.

    I’d be OK with something in the $10M-$11M/year range but am hoping that it comes in below $10M/year.

    As Gregor posted, McDavid wants to win, he’s a smart kid and knows a $9M cap hit versus a $12M cap hit could be a material difference maker for the team and its ability to build.

    Lets not forget, his NHL salary is a smidgen of his overall earnings.

    Lets also not forget that the majority (all except PK I believe) of the highest cap hits in the league (Toews, Kane, Ovechkin, Malkin, etc.) were third contracts where the player was a pending UFA at the end of his 2nd contract.

    A concern is potential pressure from the players union to take a massive cap hit contract.

  • Aitch

    Fav memory from ’06. Game 6 of the Finals. I’m at a tournament in Markham, Ontario and watching the game at a local rugby club. The bartender for the entire weekend was a good buddy of Andrew Cogliano’s. (I showed up at the tourney wearing an Oilers jersey and we immediately hit it off.) Every time the Oilers scored, I got a shot on the house. After the game was over, we hit eBay and almost bought tickets for game 7 in Carolina.

    The whole day/weekend was one of the best of my life in general, but that game was just sweet, sweet icing on the cake.

  • bored

    I was at Game 3 vs the Ducks. Never ever has there been anything more chilling that the National anthem that game. It started in San Jose the series before, something about the Canadian anthem getting booed in the last game there, so when we finally got our home game, we sang the hell out of the American anthem and we were all fired up. By the time we got to the Canadian anthem the building was jacked! I believe that was the first time the late anthem singer stopped singing and just held the mic to the crowd…unreal.

    Oilers took an early 4 goal lead before duck came on strong but too late. Edmonton up 3 games to zero. Than I believe we screwed up with some bad karma…we were chanting we want the cup as we left the building as we knew we were in the finals…

    Anyways, I’ve been lucky. I’ve been to 4 NHL games in my life and they include the game mentioned and the Patrick Stefan game…

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    Agree with Jonathan about his 2006 memories! Ales Hemsky putting the dagger into the Red Wings and Yzerman’s career as a player (!!!) was very memorable.

    I remember the moment very distinctly. The Oilers had trapped all series and had suffocated the Red Wings. It was probably the pinnacle of MacT’s coaching career. Going into Game 6, we were obviously up 3-2 and the mood was kind of like, “cool! we already got 3 home playoff games and anything else is just gravy!”. I was expecting the Red Wings to at least force a deciding Game 7. And then Hemsky ended the series. Just like that. The Red Wings were done. Stevie Y’s career over. Oilers through. And then you looked at the teams remaining (Sharks and Ducks) and you realized that, “holy shit the Oilers have a path to the Cup”.

  • Prongers Promises

    Where to start with 06…. I was 17.. not able to get into bars. That was fine with me.

    Every game dozens of friends were getting together at a house, finding fake IDs and sneaking into bars on whyte etc. I wanted nothing to do with that. After school I’d quickly avoid everyone, race home and anxiously await puck drop.

    I wanted to hear every interview, dissect every word spoken on 1260 or CBC pre game. See if Horc was happy with his paddle. Is stoll ready with 42 stealths for this game? You know hes going to break 4 tonight. When will they break? Lets pray offensive zone.

    When we beat detroit I just started balling. Losing to Dallas every year hurt. this was a major accomplishment and I couldnt believe it. As the boys kept going and the rounds continued rolling the city changed shape. Nothing mattered but hockey. A 3 day break felt like a lockout.

    I kept my hermit routine throughout the entire run until game 7 of the cup final. I talked myself into going out to a buddies where everyone was watching and ready to erupt…

    I blame myself for breaking habit and blowing it all up. Not a word was spoken in that house. Everyone just sat there. It was a magical run and I cant wait for another.

    I watch 06 highlights basically weekly. I can tell you every players make and model of equipment for that run. It was life….. Whenever you guys post up a link for something 06 related I get lost in a youtube spiral of highlights for the next 4.5 hrs… thanks Oilersnation.

  • he shoots he scars

    If you trade a first round pick this year, Oil has no 2nd, so you wait to draft until their two third rounders. That would be hurting your future depth, as well as cap issues in future years because you have less option to play guys on Entry Level contracts. Remember how Tambo trading picks turned out ?

  • Austin in Costa Rica

    Crosby, after his 5 year deal at 8.7AAV, when he was set to be a UFA, took the same cap hit for 12 seasons. The length, which is, for now, against the rules, likely had a lot to do with it (he will be nearly 38 when it expires). It is therefore tough to use it as a comparable.

    However, considering their path to the NHL, McDavid growing up a Crosby fan, embracing his role as a catalyst in the rebirth of a once great franchise led by a superstar talent like Crosby in Pittsburgh, I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to suggest seeing something similar.

    As an Oiler fan, I hope McDavid does the same and forgoes the money that he’d rightfully earn on the open market in hopes of lessening his cap percentage and therefore giving the team more to work with in building the team around him.

    The realist in me, knowing it is a business and McDavid should take care of himself first, thinks different. Considering how injuries can impact his ability to provide the most for himself, his family, and the causes he supports, expecting him to take a discount in hopes of increasing his chances at more championships in Edmonton is self-centered.

    It is his decision to make and I have no problem with him making the one that makes the most sense for him and what he values most. Here’s hoping his endorsement contracts and his ROI more than covers what he needs to take care of everything he values and he does take two consecutive max length deals at 9.7M AAV.

    That, my fellow fans, would be statue worthy IMO.

  • Jehu23

    2006 playoff run…

    I happened to be in Vegas at the start of the run with a few guys from a rec hockey team for a tourney. We watched game 5 of the Redwings series at the Bellagio sportsbook in awe. I should mentioned I lived (and still do) in Vancouver, so I was the only Oilers fan. It was cool to see my buddies cheering for my team after hating on them for so long. They were just happy to see a friend being happy for his own favourite team.

    I was visiting Vegas frequently back then for poker, and drove back down to Vegas about 4 or 5 days later and stayed until May 10th. I remember the day, because that is the night of the HUGE glove save in OT versus Cheechoo. I was in the middle of nowhere, driving home – and couldn’t get the game on the radio. I was however, able to get the San Francisco Giants game – and from time-to-time they were giving Sharks/Oilers updates.

    The baseball game concluded and the post-game show was on, and they started talking about having an eye on this epic OT game between the Sharks and Oilers… mid-sentence during a discussion about how barren the Giants farm system was of position players, the post-game show announcer just screams – WHAT A SAVE. OH MY GOD!!! completely out of context. He was watching the hockey game during the call-in portion of the baseball post-game show, and so I heard the play-by-play of that save through a totally different broadcast. Unforgettable.

    I was still 14 hours from home, but as soon as I got home (even before going to sleep), I looked up that radio station, and emailed the guy to thank him for giving those updates to the audience – and how it was the only way I could track the outcome of that game live during my drive home.

    Heartbroken at my buddies house for game 7 a couple of weeks later – but what a run.