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Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Draisaitl signs eight-year extension with Edmonton Oilers worth $68 million

After months of worrying, creating offer sheet scenarios, and general waiting, the Edmonton Oilers have finally agreed to terms with Leon Draisaitl on a new eight-year deal worth $68 million dollars.

While everyone knew that the big centreman needed a contract this summer, I don’t think that any of us would have guessed that things would drag on for this long. The fact that it took until August 16th to get a contract done leads me to believe that both sides were miles apart when this negotiation started and that both sides probably had to make some major concessions about what they each thought was fair.

That said, I was always of the opinion that this deal would get done without really worrying too much about an offer sheet coming in or that things wouldn’t get done. I think that offer sheet talk is fun for bloggers and MSM when there is literally nothing going on in the summer, but that’s pretty much where it ends. Aside from a few random acts of inter-GM warfare, you don’t really see offer sheets get handed out all that often and that fact (ignorant bliss?) kept me from worrying about it too much.

At the end of the day, my biggest concern had more to do with WHEN Draisaitl would get locked up so that he didn’t miss any time at training camp. Had he sat out for any length of time it could have seriously put him behind the eight ball, and he would have had to play catch up for months to try and get back to playing at a level he should be at to begin with. Johnny Gaudreau signed on October 10th last year and it put him behind as a result, and that was a stutter step that the Oilers did not need.

The fact that we didn’t even get close to that point should be considered a win for Leon Draisaitl, the Edmonton Oilers, and fans of the team. Getting this guy locked in was inevitable but getting it done before the season started was crucial to making sure that the season starts off on the right foot. Now that the deal is signed, sealed, and delivered we can all relax and get ready for another season of being one of the most hated teams in the league. From where I blog, that’s a beautiful thing.

  • Oiler Al

    Overpaid, but then thats Chareilli’s legacy….”overpay” and do it the easy way. Now Drisaitl needs to get off the struddle and get in shape. Seems to run out of gas quickly.Furthermore, he’d better be playing center at $8.5 million!You now have $27 million tied up in 3 centers. ByeBye Nuge.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Oiler Al is right.

      I prefer the management manifesto of old where you trade an expensive player and get 4 prospects and might be players back.

      It was always exciting to see which one would actually make it to the NHL.

      Then trade him for three even lesser prospects.

      Always made me want to renew my season seats.

    • madjam

      Oilers save 5.05M in overages starting next season , 1.0M with Korpikowski off books , and 3.625 M if Fayne let go = 9.75 M off the books . Seems to me they should have sufficient space to keep Hopkins if they so desire , and sign others if at decent prices . Chia should have little problem keeping team away from cap hell as some suggest .

      • Oiler Al

        Comet, Nuge was a goner with Draisaitl @ $7.5 mil.Just think that coming of ELC. it was $ 1 mil to high which is $8 mil over the contract.A million too much for Russell,. Lucici , and Dri, that 3 millions starts to add up.To answer your question ,yes I would take Dri, but there will be a price to [pay for in other ways[Maroon/Nuge].

        • Oilerchild77

          Al, exactly how would you know what the market value is for all those players? You don’t think other teams would have paid 3.5+M for Russell!? C’mon man. I don’t think the Russell deal was that much of an overpay, and you almost always have to overpay for UFAs. Lucic, yes, I’ll give you that one. That was a legit overpay in terms of the term, but Looch has definitely made a positive difference to the team. And if you really look at the contracts that Chiarelli doled out in Boston, they weren’t that bad, and some signings he has made in Edmonton have been very good. Klefbom at 4.1M is a good deal, considering he plays on the top pairing, and the Talbot contract was very good too for a starting goalie. Also, let’s not forget that McDavid could have EASILY demanded the league max, but signed for 2.5M less. Like any GM, he makes some errors, but all-in-all, I think he’s done ok.

        • McDavid's Comet

          @ Oiler Al

          Gotcha, I understand what you are saying, so if that’s how you see it playing-out, whom would prefer to keep moving forward: Nuge or Maroon?

          I believe this much, moving players out to make room for others will be a continuation each yr. while this team has a cluster of high paid players. It happens in Pittsburgh and Chicago each yr., it’s a reality we are not used to.

          • Oiler Al

            Comet, you pretty much have to move NUGE…. Because of his salary. Maroon will be easily $2 mil or more cheaper. You take Maroon off #97’s line and his contribution could be comparable to Nuge. Its possible the Cap may not accomodate either one.

          • McDavid's Comet

            @ Oiler Al

            I agree on the Nuge, sad but true, perhaps this wouldn’t be a issue if weren’t for Charelli’s predecessors handing out big contracts to players unproven or deserving of them. I do believe the cap will be able to accommodate Maroon however, team success will be incumbent upon astute FA signings and drafting.

    • Shredder

      This guy is not out of shape. He played Olympic qualifiers then went the world cup final before playing all 82 games, then 2 rounds of playoffs, where at the end of the playoffs he led the team in production going up against the biggest toughest skilled center in the league…as a centerman on his own line without mcdavid. Worth every penny if you ask me.

      • ScottV

        Absolutely correct. I don’t get it re a lot of the guys around ON who have always and continue – to short change on this kid. He’s a franchise player in his own right. I would predict maybe – a million dollars a year off of the real value that McD brings. So – 8.5 is a bargain……

      • SaltNPeca

        Actually AFTER the Oilers were eliminated by Anaheim he got on a plane from Calgary to Frankfurt. His Dad picked him up and drove 2 hours to Cologne. Within 9 hours he had his first IIHF World Championship point in a game vs. Italy. He played an additional 2 IIHF games, the last being a 2-1 quarter final loss to Canada.

        “Oiler Al” tried to make a strudel joke, but can’t even spell the word. Canada lost the IIHF gold in shootout to the Swedes this year. The list of available American and Canadian players who no-showed @ the tournament should be embarrassing to you. You call a 21 year old beast who absolutely grinded out the last 24 months out of shape while your superstars are golfing and hanging out at the lake!

    • OnDaWagon

      I am guessing you got so used to no playoff games in Edmonton, that you flat out missed the show that Leon put on. Sad, cause it was a beauty….and for the most part he did it WITHOUT McDavid.

      A question about overpaid. Are YOU overpaid?

  • Consultant

    Why not wait for a month and bring the $ down?? Does Chia even negotiate? Or does the player’s agent just give him the contract to sign? We better hope Pujujarvi is just decent or else he’ll have to be traded just like the Nuge and everyone else.

        • Consultant

          Easy tiger. It’s an over payment plain and simple, he may be worth it, and I actually think he is worth it BUT they could have waited and signed him for less than 8. Down the road that extra million will matter.

          • D

            I get your point (Consultant) – but mainly signing Leon without a protracted holdout is a cultural statement for the Oilers. How different does this feel compared to what happened in Calgary last year? It sends a signal to the players that the Oilers aren’t the nickle-and-dime organization that they were forced to be back in the 1990s and early 2000s.

    • McDavid's Comet

      Waiting a month would not have brought down the money, it would only make negotiations more tense. I think Charelli learnt that when Treliving tried that with JG and it didn’t work out very well for the team at all.

      • OTOF2

        Over paying just to “get it done” is bad mgmt. You say the Oil won’t be a nickel and dime team but the reality us they won’t have any nickels left to spend on any other good players. So how does that message create any benefit? If we had the money we would spend it on you? Ok. Sure.

      • Consultant

        It seemed like Johnny and Luit were the ones to come down to get to 6.75. Let’s face it, its a pretty good number for the flames (spit). I expected Johnny to get more than 7…

  • Serious Gord

    All deals for potential star players are fraught with risk. This one is no different. Injuries, attitude issues, addiction issues, or just plain plateauing can sewer what looked like decent deal.

    I would have preferred less term even if it meant the same dough just to prevent being stuck with dead money (even with cap growth I would rather have the option to walk away in four years). But I consider this deal to be reasonable knowing as little about the market as outsiders do.

    For the most part star deals do work out. It is the 5-6 million dollar deals for talent that can be found elsewhere/isn’t particularly rare that are the most problematic and likely to burn a team.

    But as many have noted, EDM cupboard of prospects is conspicuously bare (a legacy of the years of front office incompetence). So a years-long, gobi desert-like cap-thirsty era awaits oil nation in about 12 months.
    Looking at this roster it is tempting to think that a field of cups lies ahead. Unfortunately luck will have far too much of a role to play in whether that happens because of this acute lack of depth. Let’s hope the potential and efforts of mcd and draisaitl over the next four years are not scuttled because of the legacy of klowe and Mact and Katz that haunts this organization.

    • Oilerchild77

      Good God, Gord! Do you even like the Oilers? I’ve never heard one speck of optimism from you…Ever! By the way, the prospect pool actually looks pretty good on the back-end. It’s a little light at forward for now, but the picks they’ve made the last two drafts have been much better, so they should start to turn the corner there within the next 2 years or so. Try looking for the half full glass once in a while. Jesus, you’re like Eeyore!

      • Serious Gord

        The prospect corner will be turned three years from now at the earliest. By then the damage could be done – with key players gone before they are ready to assume the role.

        • Oilerchild77

          Well I say you’re wrong Gord. I predict the future to be bright. Here they are about to challenge for a Stanley Cup, and all you do is take that one possible concern and focus all your pseudo hockey knowledge on it.

          You’re one of those guys thay just desperately needs to hang on to that that one shred of negativity they have left or, dare I say it, you might have to be glad about something, which may lead to happiness. Oh no! We can’t have that. My god, do you live way up north where there’s barely any sunlight or something?

      • ed from edmonton

        Gord has proven many times over that he is a Phlegms fan who enjoys sticking it to the Oil faithful. He was totally crushed the day the Oil won the McD lottery and spent the rest of the summer bringing up farcical arguments about this being the worst thing that could have happened to the Oil.

  • btrain

    If this was an isolated situation, overpaying 500,000/year, likely a bit more, not a huge deal to ensure a player of this importance is locked up. However, this is becoming a Chia special:
    Lucic overpay
    Larsson overpay to get
    Pouliot = 4 year cap penalty (Literally Shocking that he went to buy out now instead of shop for retention and buy out next year if need be) At 2 mill, Pouliot would have been taken by another team eventually.
    Eberle= loss of guaranteed RW offense to get a quick marginal deal/offload cap when in a position of strength (i.e. not against the wall to make a deal). Like Strome but could Chia have pressed for more? or did getting something done and following a predetermined plan and timeline trump patience and negotiation efforts?
    Desharnais – overpay costing Davidson and team depth at a more critical position
    Russell – as a result of giving up Davidson depth had to negotiate with Russell from a weaker position likely costing the team more dollars.

    Many of the above are justifiable in isolation but together they represent a disturbing trend. Draisaitl’s contract was critical for Chia to demonstrate he is the one in the position of power, that he holds the McDavid card, and that he knows players now want to play on this team. It doesn’t send a good message for future negotiations and they have a few coming up soon and they now have less room to work with. I am still satisfied the team will be successful under Chia but that is because McDavid will do much of the work for him. If we want this team to be great now and in the future, the GM cannot continuously give up a little extra each trade and each negotiation. Especially when he is negotiating from a position of strength.

    • Oilerchild77

      Blah, blah, blah.
      How did the Oilers do again? Oh yeah, that’s right, they had their first 100-point season in 30 freakin’ years! Yeah, I’ll take a couple overpays for that, thanks.

      • btrain

        Thats all well and good when you need to overpay because your team has huge gaps and is desperately trying to turn things around (i.e. Sekera, Lucic, Larsson). But when your team comes off a 100 point season, a deep playoff run, and you have the best player in the world, your position for negotiation should strengthen considerably. Giving players and other GMs more than you take from this position of strength, is a practice I am no longer willing to accept as necessary. It is now time to be patient, firm, and focused on both present and future sustainability.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Completely disagree.

      Lucic brought many intangibles. I think you’ll change your tune next year.

      Offer Larsson back to NJ. Ask for Hall. Bet they’d take it, even sweeten the deal if need be.

      Pouliot Chiarelli allegedly had a deal at the 2016 trade deadline. Pouliot and Yak for Vatannen but the deal was canceled when Pouliot blew up his shoulder against the islanders the night before trade deadline.

      Desharnais scored a key goal and while I liked Davidson we don’t know what he is yet.

      Russell I would tend to agree with you but the other option was resources for a good defenseman with questionable health. And his contract is yet to be an issue. When it is we will see what happens and judge Pete on that.

      • btrain

        Perhaps you misunderstood my point. My point is not at all to suggest that I don’t like these players. I value all of them emensly. However Chia has overpaid, rushed through, or disregarded future consequences in many of his decisions. The fact that we have hindsight to feel good about Larsson is relative. At the time it was a huge but necessary gamble that fortunately paid off. Since the end of this past season Chia has not had the same level of pressure to fix this team. In fact, he now has an extremely promising and balanced team led by the best player in the world. Yet he has continued to give other GMs and players what they want and take the path of least resistance to clear cap space. Any competent GM could be successful with this team as it were at the end of the season, which is largely thanks to 97. So though Chia should get credit to this point, he shouldn’t be given a free pass to take his role lightly. We need to see strong negotiation skills from him and he just missed a huge opportunity to demonstrate this ability. Not saying he needs to rip guys off but they shouldn’t be getting the max possible scenario when they also get to play with McDavid and a strong Oilers squad.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Its about $1M higher that it “should” be but, at this point, I’m just happy to have it done and have the certainty that he’ll be in camp for day 1.

    Leon and Connor locked up for the next 8 and 9 years – phenomenal.

  • RyanCoke

    Leon is a great player but he was on Connors wing. Will he be the same player on his own line. I guess we will find out. Just wish we would habe known for sure before backing up the brinks. If he slumps this could turn ugly fast. Let’s pray leon is as good as last season.

    • CBK

      Chiarelli made the smart bet.

      He went all in betting Draisaitl will improve during his prime hockey years and not decline.

      If we bridged Draisaitl I’m willing to bet Drai would continually improve and move that dollar figure closer to $10M.

      You don’t bridge your stars.

    • Jordan88

      Did you not see the same playoffs? He put up a team lead on points and frequently was on his own line. Malkin and Crosby often play PP on the same line but Malkin can hold his own Draisaitil has proven he can do this on his own.

  • CBK

    Great signing. It looks steep today but in 5 years BOTH McDavid and Draisaitl at a combined $21M will be a steal.

    Especially when we win a cup or 2 within that span. Go Oilers!