Yesterday, Leon Draisaitl jumped on Oilers Now to talk about his new contract that will keep him in Edmonton for the next eight years. Let’s break it down.
After waiting around for what seemed like an eternity before Draisaitl inked his new deal, Oilers fans started to wonder what was going on. Was there trouble? Was there an offer sheet coming? Was there a reason panic? Not according to Leon Draisaitl:
“It’s been the last couple of days here where I would say it got finalized. Obviously, this always takes a little bit, but we were never in a rush from either side, I think.”
Wait, so you’re saying that the weird narratives about offer sheets and running out of time were all for not? It’s not like us to overreact to things like this… *takes off tinfoil hat*
“We both knew that there’s lots of time. For me, it was never even a thought to go anywhere else or to think about going anywhere else.”
You’re not just saying that are you, Leon? Our hearts couldn’t handle it if you’re lying. Tell us we’re pretty, Leon. TELL ME YOU LOVE ME!
“For me, it’s very exciting to stay in Edmonton for eight years.”
Alright then… Listen, I’m happy just happy to have you locked in for the next eight years and knowing that the Oilers are better with you than without and also that the city is 50% sexier with you in the mix. At the end of the day, the Oilers needed to get this done and it has to be considered a positive that the contract was signed in August rather than October.
Now that the deal is done, it’s up to Draisaitl to prove to everyone from management to fans that he’s worth that kind of cake.
ON THE CONTRACT LENGTH…
As the summer progressed, there was all kinds of talk about what kind deal the Oilers and Draisaitl would actually land on. Was it going to be a bridge deal? Was it going to be the eight-year max? When asked about the options on the table, Draisaitl spoke about a yearning to be here for as long as possible.
“You look at different options throughout the process for sure. I think that’s normal coming off your entry-level contract, but to be honest, I just wanted to be with this group for as long as possible.”
I mean, who wouldn’t want to be an Edmonton Oiler right now (especially with a $68 million contract in your pocket)? The guy has the opportunity to be a part of one of the greatest tag teams of the modern era and I’m even putting them up against Bad Ass Billy Gunn and the Road Dogg Jesse James. Oh, you didn’t know?
“We have such a good group and I really do think we have something special coming up here in Edmonton. For me, it was just a matter of getting it done. Of course I’m very excited.”
I feel like I’m almost as excited as he is and I have three nickels in my bank account. I remember the days when the Oilers couldn’t afford to keep guys like Draisaitl and McDavid and now that they have the unlimited bankroll it’s nice to see the talent sticking around.
Is Drai overpaid by a touch? Maybe, but the alternative of losing him seems infinitely worse to me. Now, it’s up to Chiarelli to surround these guys with effective players on cheap contracts or else it will be him that’s out the door.
“For me, the real work starts now. I think I have much more to give. I can take another few steps in the direction that I want to be in and that’s the player that I want to be.”
This is the kind of talk that I like to see. I like seeing a guy that knows he can still improve. Sure, some of it could just be lip service but when it comes to the best players in the league, and Draisaitl could become one of them, I tend to believe them.
“I think we’re heading in the right direction.”
The right direction means STANLEY CUP, RIGHT?!? RIGHT?! 🤤
ON IMPROVING AS A PLAYER…
To me, one of the best things a player can do is recognize their own weaknesses and apply themselves to improving those deficiencies. When it comes to young guys like Draisaitl, there is plenty of room to grow in regards to ensure that his game is more well-rounded.
“I think I have much more upside and I know that and that’s what I’m working on in the summer.”
Depending on what he meant, I think there is plenty more upside in both his offensive and defensive play. The goal is to become more well rounded as a player and to be a guy that can be counted on in any situation.
“I’m trying to get better. Just trying to be the player that I want to be eventually. I want to be a guy that the whole organization can depend on. I’m going to go out and try to play my best every night.”
Consistency is important and I like seeing that it’s something he wants to work on.
“I’ve been really working on every aspect and trying to get stronger, so so far it’s been a good summer.”
I assume your summer just got a little bit better now that you’ve got 68 sheets coming your way. Now to make sure you earn that cheddar. I, personally, think he can.
“I’ve always wanted to be a guy that can really play any position.”
Me too, buddy. Me too.
ON THE TEAM…
One thing many outsiders have said is that the Oilers have the potential to make some noise, and according to Draisaitl, the players feel the same way.
“Definitely in the right direction. I think last year we’ve shown the hockey world that we’re no joke anymore. I think we have a really good group together and we love playing for each other.”
As much as we all like to guess and speculate about who does what in the dressing room, none of us really know what’s going on. What I do know is that hockey teams tend to play better when the guys actually like each other, and I do wonder if that’s always been the case. That said, being friends ain’t worth shit in a business that’s built on winning games.
What do you think about that, Leon?
“I think that it’s a little too early to say what we have for the upcoming season, but we have the right pieces in the right place. Now it’s up to us as a team to bring it every night.”
Exactly. As DMX once said, talk is cheap. Let’s pile up some wins.