Peter Chiarelli talks Draisaitl’s contract, cap space, offer sheets, and more

Peter Chiarelli just wrapped up his presser where he broke down his day and answered questions about contract negotiations, offer sheets, and what’s to come for the Edmonton Oilers.  


When asked about how things are going with Connor and Leon’s negotiations, Chiarelli didn’t really want to play ball.

“I’m not going to comment on negotiations but our priority is to sign both Connor and Leon.”

Not a surprising answer considering Chiarelli never says much of anything in his pressers. By all accounts, Connor’s deal is almost done with some details to work out like what happens if there’s another lockout and blah, blah blah. When asked about wanting to sign both guys sooner than later, Chiarelli said:

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“Yeah, I’d like to sign both of them … We’re going to sign them.”

I’m glad we’re on the same page on that one, Pete. When asked if there was a timeline for signing McDavid and Draisaitl Chiarelli responded as vaguely as you’d expect.

“Not really, no. You’d like to get them signed as soon as you can.”

Word on the street is that Connor’s deal will be announced late next week, and it will be interesting to see when Leon gets locked up. There are reports out there that say the negotiations aren’t going all that well, and it would be in the Oilers’ best interest to not let this drag on too long. I just hope this doesn’t drag on to the season like what happened in Calgary with Gaudreau.


Since the details of Connor’s contract started coming out last week, hockey fans all over the world have been talking about how the Oilers are going to make it work with the salary cap. When asked about whether some the moves he’s made over the last while had to do with cap relief, Chiarelli confirmed what we already knew.

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“We’ve made some efforts with some transactions to get some cap space.”

It will be interesting to see how much of this cap space is left over after Leon’s deal goes through and the Oilers make their push towards the playoffs. How much will be left for the trade deadline? How aggressive will he be in the last year of McDavid’s ELC?

“We’re in a comfortable spot for cap space and, frankly, we feel pretty good about our team.”

I mean, I like most of the team too but I’m not sure that making it to game 7 of the second round is good enough to call it a day, right? Alright, Baggo, just calm down and read between the lines.

“We’ve got some really good young players, in Connor and Leon, that we have to sign. You have to plan ahead.”

Ahhhhh okay, I get what you’re saying. *taps nose* You can’t sign some of the guys that you would have liked to get because you won’t have the cap space beyond this season. Gotcha. Man, life and a lack of cap space can come at you fast.


Apr 22, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) controls the puck against the San Jose Sharks during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. The Edmonton Oilers defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 to win the series. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

One of the biggest storylines over the past couple days was in regards to Leon Draisaitl getting an offer sheet from another team. When asked about offer sheets, Peter Chiarelli said something that reminded me of Brian Burke’s comments after the Dustin Penner offer sheet:

“Offer sheets by themselves are quite inflationary which will impact everybody.”

If you remember, Brian Burke said something like, and I’m paraphrasing here, that an offer sheet is like “throwing a grenade at all of the other GMs in the league.” Offer sheets drive up the price of free agents and that’s something that GMs don’t want happening too often in the cap world we live in. Even if an offer sheet came in, Chiarelli has said on multiple occasions:

“We will match any offer sheet”

As much as offer sheets are fun to talk about, I don’t think that Oilers fans should really be too concerned about anyone throwing one at Draisaitl. I’m not saying that it wouldn’t make sense for another team to do it, I’m just saying that history suggests that it’s not likely to happen. Besides, NHL GMs are way too nice to each other and this kind of cutthroat move doesn’t fit within code they all seem to live by.

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Apr 22, 2017; San Jose, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93) controls the puck ahead of San Jose Sharks center Joe Pavelski (8) during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

One interesting note from the press conference came when Peter Chiarelli mentioned that there could be some movement coming.

“We established a little bit of foundation with some guys today. We also established a foundation on some trades.”

The idea of the Oilers adding a late free agent or two isn’t all that newsworthy, but the fact that there could be a trade coming is something that interests me. What kind of move are we talking about here, Pete?

“We tried to communicate with a couple free agents and also to some teams about potential trades.”

Peter, you tease. You’re gonna have to give us something here, big guy. Does this have anything to do with when Ryan Rishaug asked you about where you see Ryan Strome playing?

“I think naturally (Ryan Strome) is a centre … I think he’s probably a centreman.”

A centreman? But he’s played most of his NHL career on the wing? Oh no… Should I add a Nuge trade countdown clock to the site? Ah man, I don’t know what I’m going to do when he gets moved for a bag of brown bananas. Then again, Chiarelli repeated the same words from a year ago when asked if he was done playing with the roster.

“I’m not saying that this will be it, but if this is it then I’ll be very happy with it.”

This can’t be it, can it? There has got to be some other moves coming when the dust settles because I can’t see how he could be completely satisfied with the depth on the wings and on defence. With opening day still being 95 days away there is still plenty of time for Chiarelli to tweak the roster. How close are we to the team we’ll see on October 4th? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

    • TheRazzleDazzle

      For me, that runs in the category of a negative.

      The contract for McDavid and Drai will make this team harder to build going forward, full stop (not saying they shouldn’t get paid, McDavid deserves way more). I believe if the Oilers are looking to win championships it should be near term.

      The amount of youth and inexperience that will be playing the Oilers wings this year is terrifying to me, and it’s a little frustrating to see some of the veteran winger signings from other teams. There have been some very reasonable signings that I think the Oilers could have definitely fit within the cap.

      I’d like to see a little less calm, and a little more urgency. I enjoyed last year as much as the next guy, but as I see it if Talbot has a bad year, or we have any injuries on center, the Oilers could be in a very bad position this year.

      • OriginalPouzar

        The only two veteran signings today that could have made sense for the Oil were Thronton and Vrbata as they signed one-year deals.

        While there is ample cap space for this up and coming season, there is less than zero starting next year and, in fact, with a 2.5% increase in the cap, its unlikely that the Oil can sign all of their roster free agents and stay under the cap.

        Adding a risky veteran on term doesn’t work.

        Jagr, Hemsky are the two best options left – I doubt Jaromir wants to come to the West though.

        Come on down Ales, I think you’d excel in a tertiary role if healthy.

      • Anton CP

        Usually the players that killed cap space are not the high end salaries, those teams are in serious cap troubles are those who carried too many mid-range salaries. The real killer is those multiple 4~6 million contracts.

      • The Dave

        During the decade of darkness OilersNation was often optimistic around this time of year. Now that the team has made the playoffs, had a 100+ point season, won a playoff series and pushed a good team right to game 7 (and with zero help from the officiating), everyone seems pretty nervous about the roster. Y’all are seeing the world completely wrong.

        The Oilers didn’t need a complete overhaul this off-season – they were a 100 point team, and they still are. Our success had a lot to do with McDavid and Drai and Klef and Talbot and even McLellan. Not so much Eberle or Nuge, as much as it pains me to say it. So let’s not all freak out that we didn’t sign a 40 year old Jarome Iginla. There weren’t any core players available. Those guys are already on our roster, and we need to get them long term. If Maroon can pot 27 goals playing with McDavid at a 0.5M cap hit we really don’t need to worry about these secondary players.

        • Anton CP

          Welcome to the world of Matt Henderson, the fear for success is real. Some of them have such traumatic experience during DoD that they don’t believe that the Oilers can be good.

    • Petrolero

      compare him to the canucks gm. that guy looked and talked and sweat like he had a gun to his head. he was saying one thing but his body was saying the opposite

  • Tombstone

    I wonder which players he could be talking about. Vanek, Marleau, Thornton or Desharnais.
    Also, what potential trades is he talking about. RNH, Maroon, Sekera, or Lucic. Such mystery behind this man.

  • nuge2drai

    I imagine hes talking about Iginla. I wonder if Hemsky has anything left.

    Shane Doan could be a nice add.

    At the top of my wishlist is Jagr. Fingers crossed I’m purchasing a Oilers jersey next time I’m at the mall. #68.

    • OnDaWagon

      Don’t be envious of what the young man has accomplished since he’s been traded. Good for him, and the Penguins. He has become a very valuable piece of the past 2 Stanley Cup champions. An NHL coach, and people who give you a chance and time to become what you are capable of, can do amazing things for a person.

      • nuge2drai

        He was terrible here. Not envious, just mistified at how his soft lazy play just disappeared when he left.

        Speaks to how terrible our culture was before Chia got here.

  • Mr.Snrub

    “I think naturally (Ryan Strome) is a centre … I think he’s probably a centreman.”

    Uh, okay so does that mean Leon is staying on Connor’s Right Wing? Or did Ryan Nugent-Hopkins just get stealth traded? Mark Letestu is a great 4th line centre and i can’t see Nuge,Strome or Leon ever falling that far down the depth chart. What is going on?

  • Randaman

    Epic FAIL! Sorry but unless there is something coming down the pipe, today was uninspiring. This new cap reality was something we all knew was coming which is why they should have gone for broke last year.

  • Prongers Promises

    Should have been buyers at the deadline last year before these two massive contracts kick in.



    • Spydyr

      Personally I would prefer they wait a while and sign a vet or two on the cheap closer to the season. Like they did with Russell last season. Jagr says he is getting no love. If it gets closer to the season he might not be a bad third line line powerplay specialist. He can move up into the top six if injuries or performance dictates.

  • Stack

    Wow some of you people need to chill out in a major way, we went from second last to being oh so close to a western conference final appearance and just because pete didn’t make any major moves today he has failed the franchise….. Give it a rest people! Pete has it under control!

  • JimmyV1965

    Not sure why some people are worried about the future because we didn’t sign free agents today. Good teams don’t have glaring holes and don’t need to sign high-priced free agents on July 1. They wait until they can sign good fillers on value contracts.

    The Oil have 10 regular players 24 years old or younger. There will be tonnes of internal growth. That’s how this team gets better.

  • FISTO Siltanen

    Just an aside about 2+ year deals for 35+ UFAs…

    I understand the trepidation about signing them and being stuck with dead cap space tied up. But really, how likely is it that as long as the Coyotes remain in Arizona they’ll be more than happy to take on these dead money contracts just to hit the cap floor? And there are a few other teams that fit this mold.

    As of today if I were a GM of any team I’d sign older players to multi year deals knowing full well I could dump the contract. Especially if the FA assures me he is done in one year.

    My 2 cents.

  • Connor'sGotHart,Ross,Lindsay!

    Everyone is complaining that Chiarelli hasn’t done enough. How do we know what he has in mind. I’m sure he has a plan.
    Watch Strome play a big part in the forward situation this next year.
    Feels eerily similar to the Hall trade.
    Chiarelli knows how to build a team!

  • madjam

    I was expecting Chia to announce Leon’s signing , but somehow it does not look done now . Good old Ekland from Hockeybuzz figures Vegas should offer Leon maximum money like Connor might get . He feels Leon is also a generational player basically on par with Connor and thus should get the max . Is Leon as good as Ekland makes him out to be ?

  • madjam

    Good old Ekland from Hockeybuzz figures Vegas should offer Leon maximum money like Connor might get . He feels Leon is also a generational player basically on par with Connor and thus should get the max . Is Leon as good as Ekland makes him out to be ?

  • The areas to build up are wings and defense. I think we all agree. The wings can be built up through free agency. But building up the defense will need to come through a trade.

    In Pouliot, the Oilers lost their third line LW. In Eberle, they lost their 2nd line RW. Without Sekera, they are without their 2nd pairing LD and a puck carrying defenseman for the PP (until December). So, let’s say they still need to add one LW, one RW, and one 2nd-pairing defenseman. What possible solutions are there?

    Marleau – apparently he wants 2 or 3 years, could only happen if RNH’s contract is moved
    Vanek – might be willing to come to Edmonton… finally

    Jagr – would definitely sign a 1 year contract
    Doan – might be willing to play 1 more year for a cup contender
    Iginla – wouldn’t it be great to see Iginla finish his career in Edmonton? (and even better if he won a cup)
    Radulov – not if he’s asking for 5 years

    Trade for RD:

    Faulk, Barrie, Trouba, Myers, Dumba, Brodin, Ristolainen, Parayko, Vatanen, etc.

    I feel that the Oilers have not missed the boat yet on what they are actually looking for this summer. They need to know what they can afford before they sign anybody beyond next year. And I do think that they will trade RNH + other assets to get a RD for the 2nd pairing. This team could be looking pretty stacked by just signing one LW, one RW, and trading for one RD.

  • Oilfaninvan

    It was clear that no major movement was going to happen until 29 & 97 had new deals hammered out. My only concern about July 1st was that I really optimistically thought there would be announcements about Leon and Connor signing long-term. I hope it doesn’t drag out for too long; there are going to be daily stories from everyone about how an offer sheet to Leon would be a smart move…

  • Boom76

    I would totally welcome a 1yr Hemmer signing. When healthy, he plays a great 200 ft game, and could impact a line with Kassian and Strome. I know it’s cliche as #$!%, but once an Oiler….