‘I love being an Oiler more than anything:’ Leon Draisaitl says he will take some time before deciding on next contract

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Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
23 days ago
The Edmonton Oilers are on the brink of a significant moment in their franchise with contract extensions looming for Leon Draisaitl, Evan Bouchard and Connor McDavid over the next few years.
While the latter of the three can’t sign an extension until July 1st, 2025, the other two can do so as soon as next Monday.
During year-end press conferences on Wednesday, Draisaitl said he would take some time before deciding upon his future, but that he loved being a member of the Oilers.
“I’m going to give you the most boring answer here,” he said. “I’m obviously going to sit down with my agents here and talk to the Oilers and see what their plan is, see what our plan is, and go from there.”
“I haven’t really had any time to think about it, it hasn’t been on my mind a lot lately,” he added, when asked about a potential timeline. “It’s something going to take a little bit of time to figure out what I want, what the Oilers want and what everyone wants and then go from there and figure something out.
“Edmonton has the only chance to sign me, so I guess they are first. I’ll leave it at that. Obviously, I love being an Oiler more than anything.”
Oilers captain Connor McDavid, sitting beside Draisaitl at the press conference, expressed how much he enjoys having him on the team.
“Ultimately it’s up to him and his team around him,” McDavid said. “Obviously I love playing with him, being on the ice with him.”
When Draisaitl signed his eight-year, $8.5-million AAV extension in the summer of 2017, nobody expected him to become the player he is. He was coming off a career year, scoring 29 goals and 77 points in 82 games, adding another six goals and 16 points in 13 playoff games.
The first season of his new deal was ho-hum, scoring 25 goals and 70 points in 78 games, but year two he hit another level. He scored his first 50-goal season adding 55 assists in the process, for 105 points.
From there all he’s done is continue to produce, and it didn’t take long for the initial concerns of that extension to be negated, becoming one of the best value contracts in the entire NHL.
Draisaitl had another excellent season this year, scoring 41 goals and 106 points in 81 games, carrying it over into the playoffs. He scored five goals and 10 points in five games against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round, but quickly found himself injured in the Oilers’ second round against the Canucks, Oilersnation has learned.
He was believed to have suffered a broken rib during the first game of that series, taking a hit on his right side from Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers. Draisaitl also played through the playoffs with a broken finger.
Through that seven-game series he continued his production, scoring three goals and 14 points, but through the Western Conference Finals against Dallas, and the Stanley Cup Finals against Florida, his offence slowed. He scored just two goals and seven points in the Oilers’ final 13 games.
Last week, Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that discussions between Draisaitl’s camp and the Oilers had begun, expressing confidence in an extension being done that would keep him in Edmonton for the long-term.
“The next iteration of this when everyone’s locked up, and I’m saying when because to me, it’s not if,” Seravalli said. “I believe the Oilers have already begun discussions with Draisaitl’s camp.
“This is the only place on planet Earth that both of them can play together. Where else are you going to go to play with Connor McDavid?”
Draisaitl is due for a significant raise above his current contract, which expires next season, and could easily become the highest-paid player in the league, until McDavid likely overtakes him two years from now. Seravalli predicted a $14-million deal for Draisaitl, which would give him a cap hit $750,000 higher than that of Auston Matthews, the current highest-paid player in the league.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.


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