50
Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

DAMMIT LEON

No matter what happens from here until the end of summer, Edmonton Oilers fans have had an enjoyable time since the end of the regular season. A series win over the San Jose Sharks and enough success against the Anaheim Ducks to dream of another chance at the division winners spring 2018.

The summer activity included a strong draft, a quiet free agent period and the trading of Jordan Eberle for Ryan Strome. Although it could be framed as a cap-cutting deal, those dollars remain available for the coming season and it appears the Oilers will spend the season as much as $5 million under the cap.

 POSSIBLE OPENING NIGHT 2017-18

  • The depth chart does not represent lines, so don’t read anything into Leon on RW.
  • I did estimate Leon’s cap hit to be $7.5 million in this table.
  • I also included Andrej Sekera as a roster player, because LTIR only helps if the team is at the outer marker of the cap. It appears (based on current events) the Oilers won’t be close this fall.
  • I have buried Mark Fayne’s contract here, saves just over $1 million and that is a little more than one year ago.
  • I have estimated a $4 million dollar bonus on the final line above, as much of the $7.525 million in cap is extremely unlikely to be paid out.
  • My estimate has Edmonton with over $5 million in cap with Leon signed at $7.5 million.

Of course there’s one massive item with “est” next to it and that’s the Leon Draisaitl contract. Edmonton is a big city but really it’s just a series of smaller ones stacked side by each. The official hobby of summer in the city is Oilers rumors, so you can hear about offer sheets and gaps in team-player negotiations (Edmontonians believe $7.5 million times eight years is fair, btw) on every street corner and in every bar.

I think we’re through the period where offer sheets are a reasonable argument (if they ever were) and we are now left with figuring out what’s reasonable. Most articles I’ve read about Leon’s next contract use Vladimir Tarasenko’s $7.5 million times eight-year deal as the comparable for No. 29. I’ve been tacking $750k (McDavid savings, the amount he reportedly left on the table) onto it and coming up with $8.25 million times eight years.

How would you feel about that number? If Leon is $8.25 million, added to McDavid’s $12.5 million AAV, the Oilers would be paying the top two forwards $20.75 million annually beginning in 2018-19. That’s about 28 percent of the current gap (again, 97’s deal doesn’t kick in until 2018) and is on par with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in Chicago.

Is that number manageable for you? Or would you prefer a bridge deal? Leon’s comparables are fabulous players: The hockey-reference index sussed out Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jamie Benn, Rick Nash, David Pastrnak.

Do you think Peter Chiarelli will risk a bridge deal and the possibility he will have to trade Leon Draisaitl in the next couple of years?

  • Shadesof97

    I am super nervous about Leon long term around 8M. Hes a fantastic player and progressing in the right way but I would want to see him run his own line for the whole year and repeat his success for that. He had 2 helluva games production wise in the playoffs that I believe skewed numbers a bit. If he can put up 30goals and 70+ point playing mainly at he is worth it, but i believe he is more a 25G 60-65P center (super valuable) on his own but not 8M worth. He cant screw this up it has to be value

  • Fireball

    Conner took a discount not to give it to Leo. Why would you have that savings tacked on to Leos pay ? Leo has had 1 season where he got sent back to junior., one where he was a 50 point first line centre with Hall for the majority of the season. Half as arguably second line centre with Hall. Then one really good season on the wing of the best player in the world. Which is not his natural position. Yes he had a good playoffs. Yes he has major potential but when does having one 70 odd point season get you 7.5 to 9 million dollars ? His comparables are all people that had multiple good seasons. But I guess he’s better than all the guys making 6-7 mill ? Guess being the key word. I think he might be but the sample size is too small. Either way back to the point., if the best player in the world takes a discount to help the GM keep a team competitive Why would you over pay the second line centre ?? Shouldn’t Leo be saying hey .. McD took a cut.. I should to. so we can afford goaltending / defense / supporting players. Why should we pay full value for him and have McD take less. The precedence is set by your star for everyone to take less. No dufferent than the Bolts. Not for your star to take less to give it to someone else at full value. Leo’s comparable if you use players who were more consistent over the first three season than he was is 7.8 ish .. So ok we start at 7.8 and go down from there not up ! Anyone who thinks he’s a 8 million dollar plus player based on one season on McDs wing when that’s a posistion he won’t be in down the road is almost insane. ( if ya talking his playoff performance remember Pasani please ) I love him but blind faith is not my thing ! We can’t be cap strapped in the future. And even if he is to be McDs winger and continue to put up those points we can’t have that much in one line

  • the reasonable person

    He’s worth 9 mil a year easily… Deal with it. He should go for that too, he’s a bloody number 1 centre on any team but this one and Pittsburgh, you get him for his entire 20s now, and he just beat Tarasanko in scoring as a late birthday 21 year old and Tarasenko was 25… So how and why is he the comparable? Tarasenko’s a bloody winger, much older, and not under team control for as long.

    I’d like to see it done at 8.5 over 8 years but we would be insane not to do this at almost any price… Th two best centres in the league for most of their 20s?

      • the reasonable person

        Yes, 9 mil for a 77 point season, 8th in league scoring in a league that has McDavid, Crosby, and Kane, as a 20 year old (which is what he was considered to be this year given his late birthday).

        Ovechkin got 92 as a 20 year old (2006-07), Malkin had 85 in 06-07 as a 20 year old, Kaner 70 in 08-08, his 20 year old year, Tarasenko got 43 points in his 2nd NHL season (he was 21)…

        Point totals were higher across the board when Ovechkin and Malkin were 20 (I believe multiple guys had over 100).

        This matters a helluva lot more than most on here seems to realize.

        If Drai would sign for under 8 mil a year the deal would be done already.

        • the reasonable person

          Further to this, Ovechkin was 13th in league scoring as a 20 year old (10 guys got at least 95 points, 7 got over 100), Malkin 18th in league scoring that same year also as a 20 year old, Kaner 8 points below the 20th place league leading scorer in his 20 year old season (as far back as I can see for 2008-09 archives, and notably in 2008-09 Malkin and Ovechkin were 1-2 as 22 year olds), Tarasenko likely not even close to top 50 with his 43 points as a 21 year old…

          So, Drai is closer to Malkin/Ovechkin/Kaner than anyone is giving him credit for. And we should be stoked about that and pay him what he’s worth to have him for his entire 20s, and enjoy a much better decade.

          • oilerjed

            So your next post is a list of players who had one great season and then fell apart after they got paid right? If you are going to use three of the best players on the planet as comparables to support your argument throw some balance into the equation and show the other side of the coin.

      • the reasonable person

        Trying to reply to oilerjed (can’t for some reason):

        Please tell me, oilerjed, who has finished top 10 in league scoring as a 20 year old and then fallen apart?

        I don’t want to spend all day looking. I hope you all have to eat crow whenever the contract is announced.

        I also love how I’m trashed to death for saying he’s worth 9 but hope it gets done for 8×8.5 when it’s almost even in trashes/cheers for godot10 saying 8×8.5 is fair a few hours after my first post.

    • wiseguy

      The fact that Tarasenko was “not under team control for as long” works in his favour in contract negotiations, not against. Draisaitl’s value is actually decreased because he is under team control.

  • 0W-20

    Love Leon but he’s getting zoomed with 97. If he won’t sign for $7.5×8-yrs then give him a bridge deal and trade him next summer as a #1C to highest bidder. Leon has not earned more than $7.5M, PC shouldn’t give him a penny more.

  • Oil spill

    Too bad that 6 mil wasn’t 2.5 for Nuge. Maroons should eventually go up and
    lucic’s remains to be seen. Although performance the year of the contract seems to be that rule of thumb lately.

  • madjam

    If Jesse turns out like Laine in scoring , then chances we can retain Leon and Jesse will be minimal at best . I feel we have enough blue chip talent coming up the pipe (defense and forward ) that a short bridge contract might be best applied .

  • OilCan2

    Just sayin,…. how about a long term deal with a NMC for reasonable $. Most players would LOVE to play with Connor for the next five years. Oh, and add a ring or two. A lot of good NHL players will never even get a sniff.

  • Consultant

    Let’s hope Chia doesn’t get as excited about such as short sample size. On a long term deal I don’t see why he should get more than Gaudreau or Tarasenko, those guys run the offence on those teams. McDavid savings don’t just go to Draisaitl, that seems absolutley absurd. Draisaitl should be donating part of his salary to McDavid not the other way around. If he wants more than 6.75 then I’d offer a three year bridge deal at 5 per year, then let him carry his own line for a while, maybe let him take some of Nuge’s tough minutes and put Nuge on McDavid’s right wing. I’m confident we can find plenty of guys who will play well on McDavid’s right side. We got to the second round people, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Drai had some awesome playoff games but he also had some stinkers. Classic Edmonton move, way too excited about a young player, set them up for disappointment. No need to pay him out the nose already, if we do he’ll never learn to hustle back to the bench (you’ve seen him drift back to the bench too I’m sure). I’d say wait him out, even if it takes till October.

  • Gravis82

    Leon will only be offered perceived market value, not a penny more. We don’t want McDavids agent thinking that his client took a huge cut only for it to be quickly diverted to a player which they would have otherwise signed for less had Connor took the max deal. If it looks like Chia is being careless with that gift, bad news for everyone. For this reason I would not be surprised to see Leon traded. That would be awful, but the return would be huge. Probably wouldn’t lose that deal by a huge margin anyway. And life goes on. He is probably getting offered 8 years at 6 million. If he’s expecting high 7’s I think we should all brace for a trade.

  • godot10

    8 x $8.5 million is fair. McDavid reset the salary scale. Old contracts are really not comparables anymore. Leon was a Duck killer all year, not just in the playoffs. The Ducks are the competition. McDavid disappeared mostly against the Ducks during the regular season and playoffs.

  • Slipknot 8

    I’ve enjoyed reading the Draisaitl contract point of views from the Anylitics groups, the MSM and here on ON and Lowetide.
    I obviously have my own opinion on the situation.
    IMHO I don’t think I’ve seen enough of Draisaitl on his own to honestly believe he’s worth the reported ask of 7.5 to as much as 9.5.
    Draisaitl has had both Hall and McDavid who are both 5×5 scoring monsters.
    It’s my opinion that Draisiatl be given a bridge contract around 5.5 to 6.5 and be given his own line where the Oilers can find out if Leon’s a river boat driver or a really good complementary player.
    I’ve said it before and won’t change my mind anything over 7.8 and I’d trade Draisaitl to Col for MacKinnon who I believe is an equal comparison to Draisaitl.

    • McRaj

      Do you believe Leon is better than Monahan? And by how much? Because by all accounts, Monahan looks to be better than McKinnon so trading Drai for McKinnon would be worse than trading him for Monahan. Just think about that one…

  • Stallions #35

    I would go 7million max! We pay him any too much and when he for any reason drops to less than 77 points nex season, we will be running him out of town. Just looking at our pass records after we open the vault to young players.

  • Ryan68

    This is why I trust Chiarelli. I don’t know all the ins and outs of what’s going on, but I trust Chia to do the right thing. This is all conjecture on our part. Anyone who thinks that McDavid’s deal was his love letter to us, give your head a shake. He’s getting $86M up front. I have no problem with it, but Connor’s getting paid. Why should star players take a haircut for “the good of the team?” If the Oilers were against the wall, why should their best players be left footing the bill?

    • oilerjed

      not actually getting 86 mil up front. only being paid his full salary at the beginning of each season which will protect his paycheck if there is a lockout/strike.

  • I am Batman

    Why is it Draisatl fault where he has played?
    He played well with Hall (as a centre)he played well with McDavid (as a wing) so to pay the man for what he is worth you need to play him with whom? Slepyshev?
    Leon benefited from playing with McDavid but McDavid benefited himself from playing with Drai too. McDavid didn’t “carry” all players. Lazy Eberle couldn’t get it going (and he was supposed to be a bonafide talent).

    So Leon comes in and is asked to play on the right of McDavid because guess what? Nobody else could and be THAT productive. And now you want the guy to take a discount? You guys need to leave your moms basement and join the workforce; that’s not how life works.

    8 x 8 ideally and let’s take it and run.

  • ScottV

    Any concerned comparisons between Drai and guys who ended up coming up short on expectations are unfounded.

    Eberle, Yak, Nuge, and even Hall. No comparison.

    Drai is almost as cant miss – as is McD.

    His size, speed, puck handling, vision, ability to protect pucks, hit guys off both hands with world class passes, ability to shoot to score, win faceoffs, his understanding of two way play in all areas of the ice, pp acumen, his desire to continue to improve – etc etc….

    Drai is a classic, smart, skilled – big man in the middle, who can elevate the game of others around him. His style of play is to a large degree – indefensible. He’s gonna break through during the course of play – sooner rather than later and within the range of elite frequency.

    I would pay him 8 x 8 – no problem.

  • QuitForRealThisTime

    Maybe they are playing some sort of waiting game to see what Pastrnak gets as it should be very close. Pastrnak’s camp may be waiting on Drai.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    I’m guessing Sharks, or someone, have put an offer in @ 10ish… That’s what the delay is…
    I say the Sharks because they want revenge & a upgrade from Marleau…
    He would be a bargain at 10 for some teams, like the Sharks as he would be the point of difference to put them over the hump.

  • Glencontrolurstik

    I’m guessing Sharks, or someone, have put an offer in @ 10ish… That’s what the delay is…
    I say the Sharks because they want revenge & a upgrade from Marleau…
    He would be a bargain at 10 for some teams, like the Sharks as he would be the point of difference to put them over the hump. He is also “a Duck Killer”…..

  • Bills Bills

    I am nervous about spending that much money on a player with one good season. I love Leon and everything he did the last season. But it was one season. We have seen this before, young player makes you fall in love so you better lock him up, player does not match point totals again during the contract. If you are going to hand out 6, 7 or 8+ million out over 8 years, you better be sure. The only way to be sure is to see it happen next year and the next year. If that drives up his price, so be it. But at least it is not gambling that you won’t be stuck with an albatross of a contract that makes it impossible to manage. Bridge Leon, be smart.

    • Or in watching him play, you can see that he is one of the best backhanded passers in the game, effectively uses his body to protect the puck, has an accurate shot, has dramatically improved his skating speed, and will only get better defensively and on the dot. Or you can bridge him.

  • RedMan

    i love the “we have the two best centers in the league” comments followed shortly by the “”why does Drai think he is worth so much” hahaha.
    Flamers managed to blow the first quarter of the season due to several factors, one of which was the contract distractions that saw Gaudreau miss the entire training camp and preseason. Is Drai going to do the same? we will know soon.

      • the reasonable person

        oilerjed, Roberto also wants to know who has ever in the history of the NHL finished top 8 in scoring in their 20 year old season, then fell apart right after…

        I believe he also wants to know how it’s a problem to point out that Neon Leon finished relatively better in league scoring in his 20 year old season than each of Ovechkin, Malkin, Kane, and Tarasenko, his direct comparison…

        Maybe it’s a problem to Katz’s pocketbook, and apparently lots of fans who can’t fathom giving him 1.5 mil a year more than consensus, to have a duo that could reasonably prove to be better than Crosby/Malkin?

        • the reasonable person

          And by consensus I mean the strange near-consensus on here that it would be insane to pay Leon more than 7.5 mil a year. That’s clearly not the consensus among the parties actually involved.