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Photo Credit: @TheNationDan

Pay the Man

Connor McDavid was one of the main reasons the Edmonton Oilers were a held pad away from the Western Conference Finals against Nashville last season. Were his stats all worldly in the extra season? No. That said, would the Oilers have made the dance without #97? HELLS BELLS TO THE NO.

Now, with Connor set to sign a new contract we’re all left to sit while sweating bullets. Will he get his? Won’t he? Will he take a pay cut so the Oilers can compete? Won’t he?

From where I blog, I’m here to tell you: WHO CARES? Connor McDavid is not the Edmonton Oilers. Connor McDavid is the most important part of the team that the Edmonton Oilers have had since a used car salesman with a horrendous tan shipped our pride and joy off to sunny LA a long long time ago in a galaxy far away. He didn’t choose to come to Edmonton. He didn’t have to fall in love with our city, our team, and frankly, our fans but he has.

If you take Connor at his word, he embraced being an Oiler and playing in our city. He had every reason in the world to be upset about being here. He could have half-assed it every day, and we would have loved him just the same when he came home with personal trophies and nothing else. Instead, Connor goes out every Gord darn night and takes a team on his back as if to say, Edmonton, you’re still as awesome as ever, and no matter what some councillors say, THE CITY OF CHAMPIONS.

Now, you’re going to say, “But Dan, how can the Oilers dream of building a team around Connor if he takes every penny?” and I hear you. You’re not wrong. Paying him would make it tougher to ice a team that can compete top to bottom. We have only to look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ locker room sale every year at this time when you can pick up a Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell or Patrick Sharp for the low low price of nothing. However, in the immortal words of Sid Seixeiro of Tim&Sid fame (who absolutely hit the nail on the head this past Friday), “Not his problem. That’s not Peter Chiarelli’s problem,” and it right and truly is not his problem.

This why we hired Pete Chiarelli, is it not? We have seen the awful and we have seen the worst when it comes to GMs. So, two short summers ago we said enough is enough, and we went out and hired a guy who knows what is up. He understands how to create a team and will do everything he can to try to talk Connor down off that huge money ledge. Chiarelli and the Oilers have every right to lay it out to our Mr. Everything and say as such. Tell him that if he takes a cut like ol’ Sidney did that we’d surely appreciate it and try to do right by him. But, if in spite of that, Connor says he wants his money, GIVE IT TO HIM.

He factored in on 100 out of 247 of our pucks that went into the net last year. Last time I checked, the point of hockey is to put the puck in your opponent’s net more times than they do yours (even if Calgary wants you to believe they will win games 0-0 this year.)

Connor was a part of scoring 40% of the time.

The NHL salary cap is going up to $75 million this year.

I’m no Masterchef but that means he should be making around 30 million dollars. Thank our lucky lottery balls he can only get north of 14 million dollars. Worth. Every. Penny.

We’re not talking about some guy who will ride the coat tails of great players around him. We’re not talking about just some guy who will play 60% of the games, 100% of the time. We are talking about, barring any injury setbacks, the player who will be (and likely already is) the best damn thing there ever was since 99. The guy who at the ripe age of 20 has said to these hapless Edmonton Oilers, “Get on my back, we going hockeying!” Night in and night out, the most exciting player in the NHL now and for the forseeable future. Worth. Every. Penny.

In closing, I love you, Connor. We all love you, Connor. We hope you find it in your heart to spare a few dollars so Peter can do some magic with it and find some guys to compliment you. But if you decide that fair market value is what’s fair, then Mr. Katz, get out that pocket book and just write his name on the first line, he can do the rest.

Pay the man.

NATION NIGHT AT THE BALLPARK

On Thursday night (June 29th), we’re hosting our first Nation Night at the Ballpark as the Edmonton Prospects take on the Weyburn Beavers. As you’d expect, we’ll have some prizes to give away and stickers for the kids (big or small) so clear your calendar and plan to be at RE/MAX Field on Thursday night. Tickets are available here.