Photo Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports


Leon Draisaitl reminds me of an endless group of big centermen my mind can recall. Peter Mahovlich had some of the same elements, 29’s size and skill are similar to same-age Anze Kopitar, and those hands and passes remind of Jumbo Joe.

But what does our dear friend math tell us? Let’s ask hockey-reference.


This is sorted using the following: years 2000-17; years one through three of career; 150 or more games and sorted by points-per-game. The best player in the group is the defenseman, but the other men listed are quality players and if Draisaitl follows the career path of the collective (while avoiding injury) suspect we’ll be talking about the McDavid-Draisaitl years in the same fashion we talk about he who shall not be named and that other guy who is in in the HHOF.

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I’ll let the experts do the figuring but my guess is that $7.5-8.0 million is fair to a little rich over an eight-year deal. Leon is a fine player, top 10 in scoring, but there are things about his season (playing with Connor McDavid, feature power-play time) that have to be acknowledged. That said, he is a big part of a team inside the window to win and he would be giving up several years of unrestricted free agency.


Let’s say the Oilers want the contract to come in around $7.5 million and use Vladimir Tarasenko as a comparable. Let’s say LD’s agent says that contract was signed two years ago, Draisaitl is worth more. Seems to me, if there’s a delay in getting a deal signed, the gap is wider than $1 million (they could settle on $8 million tonight if my premise was true) and we may end up in a staring contest.

That could be bad, Draisaitl surely has fans among the other 30 general managers and some of those men could be interested in getting a big skill center for just money (and future picks).


Peter Chiarelli has some pressure to get this done, Connor McDavid’s deal was the big one but you want both men in camp and happy this fall. I’ll bet the contract is eight years, the annual hit starts with the number eight and we see a media avail announcing both contracts before this time next week.

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  • D

    It’s a risk but the Oilers might as well get it done. The playoff tide really turned in favour of the Oilers during the San Jose series when Leon got rolling.

  • Homer

    I can see him holding out but in the end facts are facts and Leon is a great compliment to Connor. So if you call one guy Batman and the other Robin I’m giving Batman the stud money and Robin gets more like Sean Monahan

  • ComeAtMeDog

    How about they put him on second line centre and see how many points he gets ? Will he still command 8 mil ? Or did Mcdavid pump him up . Saying that ebs was 6 so he’s worth 8 . Just want to be able to attract the free agents on deals for a chance at the cup and awesome drafting (Yamamoto) and unlike foo that sellout !! Ask Conor mcgregor said ” who the Fook is that guy ??

    • GK1980

      Awsome drafting because they drafted Yamamoto? I’m happy for the kid and he has heart but let’s see how he progress before calling it an “Awsome” draft.

      • ComeAtMeDog

        Well buddy , like I was trying to say we are gonna need awesome drafting . And since he is our last 1st round we are gonna need him to come through . Not calling him awesome I guess. But go ahead and be negative . Bet your tons of fun . Nerd

        • Spydyr

          Name calling because someone does not agree that a five foot eight 145 lbs smurf might not be considered awesome. That explains the Comatme…

          Just another Bro and yes you did call him awesome.

  • madjam

    Draisaitl 11.75M /season and McDavid 13.25M/season = 25M/year , or 33.33% of present if Connor’s contract started this year . Now each subsequent year , if cap goes up to 3M additional would drop that figure down to 27.7% by the fifth year or more perhaps seeing as Connor would be in his 4th year and Draisaitl in his 5th . Doable , but quite the cost, and I doubt any one going to bother with an offer sheet approaching or over 11.75M . Hope they both sign for less .

        • Glencontrolurstik

          Look at it this way? A few years ago the Nucks signed 2 players to 15 mil, always on the same line…
          They are still paying them that, I think for 2 more years? At least these two Oilers are a little more versatile. They can play on separate lines & are at least 10 X more valuable to their team…
          Should be able to put together a team for 50 million around them?

    • Jaxon

      $9.815M is probably the highest offer sheet anyone does as that is the contract that makes them give up four first round picks. So that is also the highest salary Edmonton will have to give to Draisaitl. More likely offer sheet will top out at $9.814M so they only have to give up two firsts, a second, and a third. Under $7.85M and the compensation becomes one first, a second, and a third.

  • Serious Gord

    Tarasenko is not as desirable as drai – a winger and nowhere near as physical. Tarasenko signed for 7.5 in 2015 when the cap was about 10% lower. Assuming the are equals the. 8.25 would be the number.

    But they aren’t. First line centres don’t grow in trees and let’s not forget that drai was the best skater on the oil in the playoffs. 9.5 to 10 would be the minimum and were i another NHL team in need of a Center looking to either get drai or better yet wreck the future of the oil I would make an offer sheet of 11.5 – chia has flatly said he would match any offers so call his bluff.

    • Rock11

      I agree with most of that except this. Is he really a first line centre. He’s no 2 in Edm obviously but on skill and merit are we SURE that he can be Connor’s Malkin. Haven’t seen that except in very short bursts as he spent most of the year at RW.

      • Serious Gord

        I asked stauffer yesterday how many teams would have drai as their first line centre – he estimated 25. (Ditto for Malkin BTW) which illustrates that he would be seen as more valuable to 25 teams than he is to the oil.

        • Redbird62

          I doubt Crosby, Backstrom, Scheifele, Stamkos, Tavares, McDavid, Getzlaf, Matthews or Seguin would all be ahead of him on the depth chart, and even if he were to supplant Toews as the offensive center Chicago can’t afford him. In Buffalo, Eichel is going to be their stud center for the future. So that’s at least 11 where he is not the automatic first choice for center.

  • wiseguy

    I’m shocked at the $8 x 8 conversation. Didn’t we learn from all the $6 x 6 contracts that the previous management handed out? Too much too soon results in a stall in the players’ progression and improvement if he has no $$$ incentive to keep improving. Would Ebs and RNH been better today if they were signed to a bridge contract? If not, then their value would be higher due to a lower contract number. The folly of overpaying for potential because the last few years of the deal will be a bargain if we overpay the first few years has been proven by the $6×6 contracts. None of them (even Hall) will ever be bargains.

    • crabman

      I think you need to look at each case individually. Eberle was coming of a great 2nd year and management thought it was his normal or just his starting point. They saw the points and considering we were bottom feeders felt the need to lock him up long term. They dismissed the fact he played the wing, didn’t back check or have any physicality to his game. Not sure what his off ice and off season reputation was like at the time but it doesn’t look like he has the internal drive of the best in the game. His 6M contract was a mistake.
      Nuge was a #1 overall and the Oils #1 center, by default. He had a good rookie year and showed promise but his 6M contract was all based on potential and by time he got his it seemed that was the norm in Edmonton and management thought whybthe gell not. Andbthatbwas a mistake.
      Hall #1 overall. Dynamic, but reckless, player. Drives an offense and was a winner coming into the organization. His only drawbacks are the fact that he in a winger not c or d and his reckless play has made him injury prone. He is a 6m man and if he wasn’t a winger could be worth more. No he isn’t a bargain contract but you get your moneys worth.

      Now we have McDavid. A center. The top scorer and MVP of the league. Has that drive of great players and will continue to get better. Any team would pay hime big$ long term.
      Draisaitl played the wing but is a center. Is big and strong. Plays a physical game. Top 10 scorer and has gotten better each year. Questions about his skating in year one. He trains hard all summer andbis now one of the best skaters on the team. He works hard on and off the ice and has that drive to be the best. McDavid and Draisaitl or cornerstone pieces you sign longterm. They are both special players. Opposed to the old “stars” who were gifted everything during the dod and contracts were mostly about potential and the fear of them leaving and noone else willing to come here.
      Apples to oranges.

      • wiseguy

        No argument about McDavid as he is a generational player. The jury is still out on Drai as to whether he is a “special player”. He had one good year on the wing of a generational player. His production without McDavid had a big dropoff. Everyone is concerned about whether Maroon can replicate his scoring next year. Drai falls into the same category.

      • ricardo2000

        Last year was the break-in year, as McD and Drai were developing their NHL skills. What I saw was a committed, highly skilled player in Drai, so the Oil must pay him to show their respect and confidence in his continued development. I would lock him in long-term as the cap will rise (08-09 = $56.7 million ; 16-17 = $73.0 million). This equates to an annual cap rise of $2 million, or 3.2% compounded over 8 years. If this trend continues, $73 million turns into $94 million in 8 years. McD and Drai would equal 25% of the cap if they get paid 13.25 and 10.0 million respectively.
        In 2025 look out. Their value will be enormous. If they play the way we ALL think they can, several Cups will come our way.

  • fisherprice

    I figure I’m more likely to be upset about this deal than any McDavid deal. Anything less than the max is a discount for McDavid, he’s actually irreplaceable.

    I love Drai. I really do. I think he should get paid a lot per year for a lot of years. I just think that number should start with a 7 at the very max. If Gaudreau, MacKinnon, Scheifele, and Barkov are all under $7 million, even with the rate of inflation, Drai’s number should come in around $7 million as well. All 4 of those players have demonstrated they can drive offense single-handedly, and Drai, as good as he is, has never done that. His numbers away from McDavid and Hall are not great and while I think very good complimentary players are sometimes undervalued in this league, I don’t really feel good about giving Drai a number that starts with 8.

    I’ve been concerned with some of the talk about him being Malkin to McDavid’s Crosby, because he really isn’t. I don’t say that as a dis to Draisaitl, but as someone who is still confounded by the lack of respect Malkin gets relative to his playing ability. Malkin is the third best center in the NHL behind McDavid and Crosby. Full stop. When Crosby got injured Malkin won the Art Ross and Hart. As good as Leon is, do you honestly see him doing that well if McDavid went down for an extended time? Draisaitl is not even really at the level of a Kopitar, although, I think he could get there eventually.

    Payment as relative to offensive production is exponential in the NHL and not directly proportional. Having 3/4 of the points as McDavid should not get you 3/4 of McDavid’s contract. Just as we all accept that a 60 point forward is worth more than double the salary of a 30 point forward. I love watching Draisaitl and hope I get to keep doing it for the long haul, but also really hope Chiarelli doesn’t lose his head on this deal.

    • GK1980

      And that’s why they should have done up a deal for drai last year. He is good and actually my favourite player but he still can’t drive offence at the level of a Malkin, not yet. Maybe a 5 year deal then see how he progresses?

    • DiscoBiscuits

      This is a very important point. Draisaitl’s value at $8 million is as a second-line centre, a role in which he is not proven. The team does not need to spend $8 million to get someone generating points on McDavid’s wing—Chris Kunitz, Jake Guentzel, and Conor Sheary are ample evidence of that point.

    • Ten Long Years

      Not sure who trashed this comment but it is bang on. I think Leon is the real deal, but it is too soon to declare he should be one of the highest payed centres in the entire league. It would be nice to say that players are driven to improve and succeed regardless of $$, however we have seen several examples of players dropping off once they’ve been signed to lucrative long term deals. I guess that’s the way the NHL is set up these days. Teams are forced to take a chance on players they think will be super stars before they are proven. Being a GM is kinda like being a professional gambler these days.

  • nuge2drai

    7.5 Mil Max. If not sign him to a 2 year bridge and see if he produces on the second line without McDavid.

    Makes no sense to pay him like Stamkos with only one good season under his belt.

  • madjam

    What is everyone worried about ? Take a look at Pitt. and Chicago as compared to what Oilers top players make . Pitt. cap hits for their top 4 players is : Malkin 9.5M, Crosby 8.75M , Kessell 6.8 M and Letang 7.25 = 32.3 M . However the players are making this season 9.5 (M) , 10.9 (C) and 9m (K) with Letang same 7.25 M= 36.65 M .
    Chicago : Kane 10.5M , Toews 10.5M Saad 6.00M , Ansimov 4.5M , 6.85m Seabrook (gets paid 9M this season) , 5.53M for Keith and Crawford 6.0 M .
    Chia should have enough money left over be able to form team around our top 2 to compete with those two teams .

    • Ten Long Years

      Its not a problem if Leon ends up being a stud long term. The issue is that it is so early to make that leap. I’m sure you can find guys signed for too much $$ at too long of a term that has handcuffed the teams.

  • toprightcorner

    I think $7.5 is fair because last year his numbers were pumped from McDavid and the year before they were pumped from Hall. He has not shown he can drive his own line, even though he probably can. If he wants over $8 mill, then Chairelli has to trade him fast, the longer he waits, the better the chance of an offer sheet. Draisaitl will sign an offer sheet before he signs a bridge deal. If they are far apart by July 10th, then he needs to be traded,

    Trade Draisaitl and Russell to STL for Parayko and Schenn. STL gets the #1 center they have been searching for and a solid replacement for Parayko and EDM gets their future top pair RD and a 2C. Tarasenko will score 50 with Drasaitl feeding him the puck. Win for both teams. Parayko will probably be looking for close to $7 mill as an RFA so the salaries traded will be close. I like the Oilers better with Parayko and Schenn.

    • The Whispererer

      For one thing…Russell can’t be traded because he has a no movement clause for all 4 years of his contract, with some modifications in the final 2 years that he can easily manipulate his way through. Since he strongly wants to stay in Alberta he has no motivation to waive the clause.
      For another thing…since Russell and Sekera aren’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, and Larsson-Klefbom are a solid and reasonably priced pair, i am curious where you think a $7 million defenceman would fit in our lineup.

  • RJ

    I wonder what Drai did to some of these ON bloggers.

    51 points in 72 games, and then 77 points in 82 games. He’s played well the past two seasons.

    If playing with McMoney balloons people’s stats, what happened to Eberle and Lucic?

    Time to recognize that Drai is elite.

    • DiscoBiscuits

      We all like Drai very, very much. But is he Stamkos elite, Kopitar elite, Malkin elite? That is the $8+ million question.

      Elite players balloon the stats of their linemates. Does Draisaitl do that? Could someone else produce 77 points in 82 games on McDavid’s wing for (a lot) less money? Could Draisaitl produce 77 in 82 centering his own line?

      These are all fair questions to ask, and if you have any doubts about any of them, then your answer should be less $ or shorter term.

      • RJ

        Over the past few years, I’ve read a number of commentators talk about “unicorns”. The ability to throw out three scoring lines. With McDavid, Drai and Nuge, some thought it could be a possibility. But there’s been a giant problem with that: McLellan.

        If you watch his teams, he’s fond of loading up talent into one or two lines. Puts multiple centres on one line etc. So we don’t have a huge pool of information to draw from to make any definitive conclusions. That’s not Drai’s fault. The one game in the playoffs where Drai played by himself I do seem to remember him scoring five points in a game.

        As for Drai, Hall’s stats dropped moving to NJD. He went from 0.79 PPG down to 0.72 PPG away from Drai.

        Could anyone else produce 77 points with McDavid? Eberle couldn’t despite the hopes and dreams of ON bloggers. Maroon scored 27 goals this past season but only scored 42 points. Lucic scored 55 points in LA and scored 50 in Edmonton. Hall couldn’t do it.

        As for Drai scoring 77 away from McDavid, it will depend on usage and quality of linemates. When Nuge was the #1C, he played with the best wingers and got great opportunities. Since McDavid has come, many of those quality opportunities go to him instead of Nuge. And Nuge’s points have taken a hit since he took a backseat to McDavid. And if you stuck Drai with Poo who scored a whopping 14 points in 67 games, then obviously Drai’s point totals are going to take a hit.

      • RJ

        To my eyes, he’s the opposite of Eberle. He has obviously put in the work to continue to improve. He plays a ton internationally because he seems to love the game. Regardless of what he gets paid, it will not surprise me to see him keep his work ethic and see how much better he can be. That counts a lot.

        This is not Eberle or Penner. This is a guy that obviously puts in a ton of work and doesn’t just try to get by on talent alone.

  • Anton CP

    The team with cap problems are not because that they are paying some players too much but more so on paying too many too much. In Hawks’ situation is that they are not only paying Toews+Kane for over 20 mil that they are also paying Seabrook/Keith/Crawford combined for almost 20 mil. They are also holding basically a dead weight contract with Hossa at 5.2 mil. They have too many long term contracts that will carry with 53 mil cap hit until 2021for 8 players.

    The Pens can get away from those issues simply because that they only focus on a few players and everyone else are just fillers. As long as that they are holding 2 of the best C in the game and everyone can jump in and produce. I don’t think that the Oilers will face cap crisis anytime soon unless that Chiarelli are going to take another big contract.

    The first threshold will come at 2019 that Talbot is up for a new contract, but luckily if Chiarelli is unable to move Pouliot before then that he will be off the cap. Fayne’s cap hit will likely be pass onto Nurse next season. Then the next threshold is 2021 when Sekera and Larsson’s contract expire. However Sekera will be cost much less by then and even if Larsson is due for a payday that it will still be balanced. Of course, Nuge will also be off the book by then. I can’t see any serious cap issue in the near future unless Puljujarvi or Yamamoto overachieved and have to force Chiarelli offer them a big payday. Well…until that happens, cap shouldn’t be too much of the trouble for the next few years.

    • Mr. Bo Dangles

      When Talbots contract is done maybe oil can resign Tomi Salo and save some money . It’s a team sport , the team with the most depth usually wins in playoffs .

  • LordVallko

    Anything more than 8 million and PC should pray for an offer sheet and take the 4 fourths. Hope its Vegas, they have a brutal team, cant see them winning more than 15 games this season. Oil should sweep.

  • Spaceman Spiff

    No matter what, people just need to breathe. Leon will get signed by Edmonton. Everything’s going to be OK. All the panic and restlessness that’s been generated over social media the last few days make me long for those wonderful Junes and Julys of my childhood, when you had to wait until the Hockey News summer editions came out to read about trade speculation and player movement. Trust me – not being able to speculate, share and pontificate with fellow fans in almost-real-time was truly wonderful.

    (And yes, I understand the irony of me criticizing the immediacy of social media in a blog comments section).

  • ed from edmonton

    I might be LD’s biggest booster. I don’t think he has lots more to show us as be matures. However, if Raschaug is correct and his camp thinks he warrants say a 10M contract because McD might get $13M, they need to recalibrate. A contract staring with 8 for 7 or 8 years might be justifiable or starting with 7 for 6 years (he is 6 years from (UFA) is more realistic. The crunch will come if there is an offer sheet starting with 9.

  • KMA

    IMO Drai should not accept a dollar less than $10M per season. His agent Mike Liut is known as a hard nose negotiator I for one wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t waiver off a double digit contract for his client.