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Photo Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Draisaitl talks about his new contract

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…

Mar 16, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates after scoring a goal against Boston Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin (35) during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Walter Tychnowicz-USA TODAY Sports

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?

What else?

“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…

Apr 26, 2017; Anaheim, CA, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Leon Draisaitl (29) shoots for an open net goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the third period in game one of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Edmonton won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

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…

May 7, 2017; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Leon Draisaitl (29) celebrates his second period hat-trick goal against the Anaheim Ducks in game six of the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

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.

  • Thumby

    I wonder what the final piece(s) will be as we move toward and through the season??…I think we’re one more good D man and a RW short of a real Stanley contender. Can they be added? In Chia we trust!

    • I honestly think this roster is set for a cup run. It would be nice to have a proven #1 RW and another D-man to reinforce the blueline but this team is already talented enough as it is. Connor, Leon, Benning, the Swedes, Drake, Poolparty, Nurse, Slepy, Brossoit, etc are going to be even better next season and are atleast 4-5 seasons away from their primes. As raw, young, and inexperienced this team was they were able to take out one of the top dogs of the West in 6 and go down to the last minute against Aneheim. The only real loss was Pitlick and we were fine without him for 60% of the season while Jokinen can’t be any worse then Pouliot and Strome will atleast be decent. If you follow the younger dudes on social media you can see they’re putting in work this offseason(especially Nurse).

      • DerpSolo

        Mike smith would be a wonderful backup to talbs. He’ll be cheap at the trade deadline with his terrible record, and he’ll undoubtedly get injured in the first half as well

    • Bob Cobb

      You don’t want anyone from the team to the south, they are one injury from being a top five picking team. The team they have now is barely enough to contend for 8th in the west.
      #Overrated

    • Hemi

      With respect to our southern neighbours, there be slim pickn’s offered up to most teams that are trying to shore up any loose ends for playoff battle. No sense in giving the lames any breathing room by taking a cast off from a lesser club.

    • Hemi

      He was going to get that money either from the Oil or from any other team in the league. He is here for a minimum of 8 years. By year 4, this will look like a treasure of a signing. People have to get over the money aspect of things. Hockey (sports players in general) players especially good to crazy good hockey players get big bucks! Whining, crying or moaning about it does nothing but put a damper on matters. EIGHT years, perfect!

    • Mc🙏

      I think he will. I am guessing about 60-70% of the time he runs his own line, and the other 30% is spent eith McDavid when the oppurtunity is there, or the team needs a strong period or 2. Kane and Toews get run the same, as well as Sid and Malkin, up till the last year or so.

  • OTOF2

    I don’t agree when you say (& many others) overpay him a touch or the alternative is to lose him – are you trying to convince yourself that those are the only two options? Very short sited. What happened to a home town discount to play with McDavid, or on a winning team? I read that many times on this site. Oh ya, that was just hope. I believe Chia had leverage (the R in RFA?) but failed to execute.

    • oilfan4ever

      Yeah Chia. Why didn’t you hold a gun to Drai and play hardball with him.? So what if you pissed off Drai and his teammates and made The Oil look cheap to other potential free agents??

      • OTOF2

        So just roll over and accept anything? Again, there is a solution that is not overpay and not hold a gun to his head, why do you think it is one or the other? Not sure why that argument keeps being said. In this case Liut schooled Chia in negotiating. I don’t think offering $7.75 as a max would have been considered holding a gun to his head.

        • oilfan4ever

          How do you know that Chia didn’t make that offer and Liut said no? If you think that they started negotiating at 8. I would have to believe you have never negotiated anything.

          • OTOF2

            I haven’t suggested anything in regards to where they started negotiating, how would I know. I can tell you one thing, where they started means absolutely nothing. Where they ended means everything. Chia ended up over paying.

  • Hemmercules

    Drai is going to be a beast if he isn’t already. I have never seen a guy with that look of determination. You hardly ever see him with a big celebration until the win is in the bag. 8 more years of the Drai/Mcdavid duo is going really really fun to watch. I would take Drai at 8.5 over Little Jonny or Mony at 6.75 any day of the week.

  • Curry is Messy Eh?

    who would you trade Draisaitl for …other than Tavares, Crosby, Malkin, Kane, Karlsson…Leon is 21…who would you trade him right now and think you got good value? Maybe Matthews…but probably not…you want Eichel..attitude! Laine…one dimensional! Brent Burns is in his 30’s. Who would you want that is a equal to a 21 year old Leon?

    • OTOF2

      Depends if you want a sure thing or take on a bit of risk? I like everything I have seen in Drai to date but there still is a risk of long term / consistency. He has shown at times to be streaky. What if his cold streaks outlast his hot streaks?

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Yup.

      For those complaining consider this math –

      Had the Oilers bridged him at $6Mx3

      Followed by two more years at $8M.

      Then bought the first 3 years of his UFA at $11M per season that adds up to…

      $67M!

      Ideally the CBA would allow teams to spread the cap hit out as they wished but not so. Looks like an overpay but really not IMO.

      • Kevwan

        Except I cant find 1 example of any player ever getting even 6 mil for an RFA year only contract.

        In reality Leon signed for 5 years RFA @ 7 mil per and 3 yrs UFA @ 11 mil per.

        Considering this gets only 3 UFA years it’s a big overpay.

    • Dr. Merkwurdigliebe

      Nobody. Can’t believe people are crying about this contract. I’ve been an Oilers fan since nearly the beginning, and there was a time when the Oil couldn’t afford to pay anyone anything and no good players wanted to play for them. The Drai signing is fantastic.

  • Off the wall

    Too bad you bunch of thumb suckers have to include the Flames in every thread!

    Judging from the comments on this site, it appears none of you graduated school. Is that because you ran out of crayons?

    Never mind its rhetorical.
    Go look that word up in the dictionary.
    I starts with the letter D.

      • Off the wall

        Congratulations, you understand the satire and grammatical errors in this statement. You must be the Einstein of the bunch!

        Now that I have your attention, I’m here to say I’m fed up with the trolling that exists between both Nations.

        Yes that includes our own FN site too!
        I’m not here to high-jack the comment section. If you feel the need to come over to FN and spout off drivel, you’re not welcome. I know many of you feel the same towards our trolls.

        I can’t recall how many times a decent conversation has been turned into a pissing contest due to insensitive or offensive remarks. Is it really too much to ask for clemency between us?

        This isn’t USA vs North Korea.

        We live 300km apart and for what it’s worth, I’m happy that both clubs are excited about the impending season.

        I want to enjoy my time with my Flames fans as much as you do with your Oilers fans.

        No more Skud missiles and I won’t be back!
        Period. Thanks!

    • Mc🙏

      Really no different than FN dropping an oiler comment everytime. But the amount of FN fans that comment on ON is far greater than the other way. But hey we get it. McENvY is a real thing. 🙏🙏🍺🍺👍🏾👍🏾

      • DerpSolo

        Don’t even joke about my McEnvy… hundreds of flames fans suffer from it everyday. They cannot comprehend the fact that they will always be second fiddle in Alberta, and McDavid just rubs the salt in the wound. Maybe one day they will be cured and come over to the light, where their is no McEnvy

  • Spydyr

    I like the words Leon is throwing down. My biggest concern is he will be one of those players that sign the big deal then slack off cough Eberle cough. He seems to be saying all the right things. The ride appears to have begun in last seasons playoffs.The window has just opened. Buckle up folks this should be fun.

    • ponokanocker

      Because we’ve so recently gotten burnt in the past, I’m concerned as well. Eberle seemed to peak, then regress. RNH never seemed to take the next step after the big contract. Hall never learned to stop being so reckless, and be a team player. Here’s to hoping Drai continues to progress and get better as he enters his prime, rather than regress/plateau. He’s getting paid like a top star, he’d better perform like it.

      • wiseguy

        For Hall, Ebs and Nuge, they all experienced individual success prior to signing their big contracts. None had any team success to drive them or hold them accountable. Eventually they got stuck wandering in the desert with KLowe. McDavid and Drai are pushed to be better because they are in a position where being better is expected. They also saw how close they were to getting to the semifinals and that will drive them to stay focused.

  • Rock11

    I think I, like most of us, am excited about another 8 years of Drai. My concern is with Chiarelli’s negotiating skills. Every contract that gets signed comes with a familiar refrain. It goes something like “yeah its nice to have the player but the money seems a little high”. A half million or a million high on this deal IMO. You do that once and its no big deal. You do that with Lucic and Russell and pretty soon you have a problem. You know what they say, a million dollars here and million dollars there and pretty soon its real money.

  • Carl the tooth

    Knights of ON it is I ” the Tooth ”
    I come in peace …… who here will join me in glorious combat! We will conquer Nations ! Gods wills it!!! Who will Stand with the Tooth !? Who’s coming with me! ………..who’s coming with me!!! (Jerry maguire) Victory!!!

    • Off the wall

      F** k Carl, it’s time to head back to FN with me..

      You’re already on thin ice at FN bud, no need to squander the opportunity already given to you?

      You’re not helping the cause, even if you come in peace.

      Nothing to see or write here.
      Our work is done!

        • Carl the tooth

          Mctwohandsplaced together (mc🙏)how you been Fred ? .your prayers have been answered I’m here ! I have come to lead us to victoryyyyy!!! Join me and my brothers .

        • Carl the tooth

          That’s pretty mean . Your not very nice person (mc🙏) . just mind your business. Or you will Anger “the Tooth ” . You sound like a conformist to me. Gaurds!!!! Seize him !!!

        • McDavid's Comet

          Someone from Calgary is finally on here being civil and that’s how you treat them? What in their initial comment makes you think they were here to troll?

          For for the record, I too am looking forward to the boa now they it actually means something again. It’s been far too long.

          • Carl the tooth

            I thought this is what we all wanted a Rivalry where hockey is fun again for Alberta for not having teams at the same time this is great .! I’m not a troll just a sense of humour. Some people try to troll me and it never works out for them and then there sore . Mc(🙏) I forgive you .its all in good fun budds .dont take offence.

          • McDavid's Comet

            @ Tooth

            Carl do the posters at FN always treat you like you are a dog and if you converse in a friendly manner with others outside of FN you will incite their wrath?

          • Off the wall

            @ Mcdavids Comet
            I’m looking out for Carl, he’s only been with us for over a week and a half and already is facing being removed from FN for comments.
            He’s a good apple, means well, has great hockey knowledge. I know you’d assume from my previous post that he’s abused.
            Not so… just want to keep my bud around that’s all. Tough love. He understands.

            We have a agreement between the two of us. I crossed that line today when I spewed venom at Oiler fans..
            My apologies, I was frustrated and really didn’t mean to.

            Good luck this season, I’m happy for you guys that Draisaitl has signed and McDavid is locked in for the next 8 years.

            It will just make the rivalry all the more intriguing.

            Cheers!

          • Off the wall

            Oh and for you immature little sissies who posted under me and can’t read between the lines, I understand you need time to process this in your tiny medulla oblongata…you can piss off as well.

  • RJ

    Player agents try to max out the earnings for their clients (and their own %). It doesn’t really matter if that player is an RFA or a UFA.

    Stamkos was considered a top UFA target and he re-signed with Tampa for $8.5m/year for 8 years.

    Stamkos was 26, Drai is 21. No difference in pay for elite-level centres, except for the possibility that Drai’s value eventually surpasses his $AAV.

    • Jagrbaum

      Lol that’s a very poor comparison. Stamkos had 50 and 60 goal campaign prior to signing that deal. Even now he’s an elite goal scoring forward. I don’t think anyone questions that he did his team a real solid in signing that low. Also let’s not forget, with Florida’s tax rates, he’s taking home significantly more than Drai.