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Monday Mailbag – Should the Oilers have tried to wait out Evan Bouchard a little longer?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
7 months ago
Happy Monday, Internet amigos, and welcome to a fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re looking at Evan Bouchard’s contract, Warren Foegele expectations, and much more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Jan 9, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard (2) shoots during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports
1) Yves asks – I have no problem with the contract that Evan Bouchard signed, but what confused me was that the Oilers weren’t keen to wait a little longer given that they had all of the leverage in the negotiation. What are your thoughts on Bouchard’s money and term?
Robin Brownlee:
Waiting a little longer would have gained the Oilers what? Nothing. They could have made an argument that they wanted to pay less to go with a larger roster, but do you want to nickel-and-dime a player you want on your blueline for the next decade? I think not. This bridge is fair for both sides. That’s always the best-case scenario.
Jason Gregor:
Waiting another two weeks wouldn’t have changed much in my eyes. The Miller and Byram contracts set the standard. Waiting two weeks wasn’t going to drop his AAV down to $3.6m or lower, so I don’t think it would have mattered.
Liam Horrobin:
They may have had the leverage but if Bouchard didn’t want to sign a long-term deal they can’t force him. You’ve got to find neutral ground in these negotiations.
Baggedmilk:
I’m happy they got the deal done long before training camp. Guys always seem to have issues when they miss time because of contract negotiations.
May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Devin Shore (14) before the game against the Colorado Avalanche in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
2) @Ethan061728 asks – If you are the Oilers, do you try and offer Devin Shore an AHL contract? And if injuries hit later in the season, do you then offer him the NHL contract to come play a few games? But keep him in the AHL unless we absolutely need him?
Robin Brownlee:
Not sure. He’s a fringe NHLer. I really haven’t given Shore a thought. An AHL deal is fine, assuming he doesn’t find a better situation somewhere else.
Jason Gregor:
I suspect Shore will take a PTO first. He believes he is an NHL player. I don’t see him signing an AHL only deal before camp.
Liam Horrobin:
YES!! Devin Shore is a pro who isn’t going to question his role. He truly is just happy to be here. Plus, the players love him.
Baggedmilk:
A two-way deal would work, I suppose, but I’d be surprised to see Shore come back again. Sorry, Liam.
Dec 23, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Warren Foegele (37) looks for a loose puck in front of Vancouver Canucks goaltender Collin Delia (60) during the first period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
3) Chase asks – What do you expect from Warren Foegele in the final year of his contract? Over his first two seasons in Edmonton, McLovin has averaged around 12 goals and 27 points. Is it fair to simply expect that same level of production from him in year three?
Robin Brownlee:
I can see Foegele coming in right around 15-20-35 in a full season. His 13-15-28 came in just 67 games last season.
Jason Gregor:
He scored 13-15-28 last year. His final 40 games and the playoffs were the best hockey he played in Edmonton. He should come to camp confident. He should be a lock to start on the third line and can moonlight the odd shift/game in the top six if injuries arise. If he could bury a few of his breakaways, he’ll score 15 goals.
Liam Horrobin:
I think Foegele can score 18 goals at least. He needs to hit the ground running though. Last season, he really struggled to find his feet and it plagued him for a while. The Oilers need production from that 3rd line all season too.
Baggedmilk:
 
May 6, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Stuart Skinner (74) makes a save against Vegas Golden Knights right wing Jonathan Marchessault (81) during the third period of game two of the second round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
4) Hank asks – How much leash does Stuart Skinner have as the starter? We all know he took the net from Campbell last season, but does that necessarily mean he’d be allowed to have a slow start to the season without losing his gig?
Robin Brownlee:
A good coach like Jay Woodcroft reacts based on what he sees and that’s what I expect with his handling of Skinner and Campbell this season. There is no “leash” involved. Play well, keep the net. Don’t play well, it’s other-guy up. Neither one of these guys are established enough or has a long enough track record to expect that they can stink and still keep the crease.
Jason Gregor:
Ideally Edmonton has a 46-36 split in starts, and maybe closer. They need both playing well, but I don’t think one or two bad games will limit Skinner’s starts significantly. If Skinner starts 41 games I don’t see that as a bad thing, because it means both goalies are playing decent.
Liam Horrobin:
A long one. He earned that from his performances last season. Jack Campbell is the one who is on a short leash – he needs to redeem himself big time.
Baggedmilk:
It’s Stu’s net until proven otherwise. We’ll see what Jay Woodcroft does with the goalie splits, but I’d be surprised if Skinner isn’t given a run early on.
Jan 23, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews (34) celebrates after scoring a goal against the New York Islanders during the third period at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
5) Gregg asks – If Auston Matthews signs a contract worth $13.25 million, what do you think Draisaitl and McDavid’s next dollar number will be?
Robin Brownlee:
Depends way more on the cap figure at the time than on the contract Matthews just signed. Cap is projected to be $92 million by the time Draisaitl needs a new deal for 2025-26. McDavid needs ink a year later in 2026-27. What’s the cap then? $95-98 million? Max cap share for any one player as of right now is 20 per cent. Just going with a 15 per cent share, Draisaitl would be looking at $13.8 million in 2025-26.
Jason Gregor:
Good question. Hard to know until we see exactly what the salary cap is next year. But I’ll guess Draisaitl will be $13.8m and McDavid higher at around $15m.
Liam Horrobin:
Draisaitl $14 million and Connor McDavid $15 million.
Baggedmilk:
Leon comes in at $14 million and Connor takes $16 million. LFG.

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