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.
ON MCDAVID AND DRAISAITL
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:
“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.
ON CAP SPACE
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.
“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.
ON OFFER SHEETS
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.
FUTURE MOVES AND SIGNINGS COMING?
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.