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?