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Bob Stauffer: “It’s better than 50/50 that both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid sign long-term here”

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Photo credit:Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
8 months ago
The goal for the Edmonton Oilers is to win the Stanley Cup in the next two seasons. But what about after that?
They have Leon Draisaitl locked up to a team-friendly contract with an $8.5 million annual salary through the 2024-25 season and then he’ll be eligible to become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career in the subsequent off-season. Draisaitl will deservedly command a significant raise on his next deal but the Oilers also need to be prepared for Connor McDavid’s next contract. The best player in hockey is set to reach free agency after the 2025-26 season.
What might happen in the next few years is anybody’s guess but Bob Stauffer mentioned on Oilers NOW on Wednesday that he believes the odds of both McDavid and Draisaitl singing in Edmonton long-term are better than 50/50.
“I will say this, what happens, and there’s a chance, I might insisit to you it’s better than 50/50 that both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid sign long-term here. Do you think that shuts guys up forever if that happens?
One of the teams that I worried about for Leon was the Los Angeles Kings. Not after this summer, I’m not worried about L.A. anymore. They went and traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois, they did the Phillip Danault contract two years ago, and then they extended Anze Kopitar at a significant dollar amount. They’re not going to be in the Draisaitl hunt in a year from now.
I’ll tell you, there’s one place where Connor and Leon can play together, where they’ve got the cap space to take them both. That’s with the Edmonton Oilers, remember that.”
Stauffer has a direct line of communication with both players and upper management so his word on a topic such as this definitely carries a lot of weight. Again, there are many things that could happen in the coming years that could affect either player’s decision but Stauffer’s logic that Edmonton is the place that can afford to keep McDavid and Draisaitl together is sound.
The NHL’s salary cap ceiling has only gone up from $81.5 million in 2019-20 to $83.5 million in 2023-24 because of the revenue lost during the COVID-19 pandemic. The debt owed to the owners by the players should be paid off within the next year so the cap will start to rise at a pre-pandemic rate in the coming seasons.
The league estimates that the salary cap will rise to $92 million for the 2025-26 season, which comes in line perfectly with what would be the first year of Draisaitl’s next contract. Another rise for the 2026-27 season coupled with roughly $11 million in cap space allocated to Evander Kane and Mattias Ekholm coming off the books would give the Oilers plenty of room for McDavid’s next contract.

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