As the days go by, and new contracts are signed for the NHL’s young superstars, I can’t help but say one thing.
Peter Chiarelli [texting Ken Holland]: So you DON'T have to trade someone for basically anything just because they ask?
— Baggedmilk – Pre-season Beet writer (@jsbmbaggedmilk) August 27, 2019
You see, Peter Chiarelli was far from a great general manager for the Edmonton Oilers. The one for one. The Reinhart trade. The list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on.
We all know about the bad things that went on during his tenure, but it’s time we give him credit for the one good thing he was able to do for this franchise — lock up two of the league’s best on great contracts.
First off, it’s important to note that at their signing dates, the Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl contracts were massive. McDavid’s eight-year, $12.5-million per year deal took up 16.67 per cent of the teams cap hit while Draisaitl’s eight-year, $8.5-million per year deal took up another 11.33.
Those were huge, huge deals at the time, and still are, but as time passes the deals get better and better.
Many people seem to sluff off how a contract gets better over time, opting to instead focus on the signing on the day the deal was done. However, I think it’s forgotten that these are contracts for significant amounts of time and with a salary cap continuing to rise, the deals get better.
Take for example Mitch Marner, who signed yesterday to a mammoth six-year deal for $10.893-million deal that takes up 13.37 of the team’s cap hit.
It’s a huge deal for a guy that’s getting a little over $1.5 million less than McDavid, who is arguably the best player in the world.
Take into account Draisaitl’s deal, which sees Marner making around $2-million more than he. But for what? Draisaitl was a 50 goal scorer, who put up 105 points. In his own right, Marner put up a very respectable 94 points last year — 68 of which were assists.
Toronto never got the term with Marner, or Matthews (five years, $11.6-million per year) for that matter, whereas Edmonton was able to. The Leafs, of course, are in a win-now mode while the Oilers…. well, the Oilers are still just trying to make the playoffs consistently. While they may have overpaid, there’s no denying that the Leafs have a great core locked up.
The Oilers are in a position next year where the salary cap doors open up for them and they have a chance to rejig a significant portion of their roster. At the end of the day, Ken Holland has already launched the repair of this Oilers team by bringing in a number of players to hopefully add competition, and production, to a meagre bottom-six Edmonton had last year.
And no matter what, the Edmonton Oilers will have two of the best NHL players to build around for a long, long time.
On Twitter: @zjlaing