Seravalli: ‘I don’t really understand the hysteria’ about Leon Draisaitl leaving Oilers

Edmonton Oilers Leon Draisaitl
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
20 days ago
As the Edmonton Oilers continue to navigate the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs, hoping to even up their Western Conference Finals series against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night, there’s a not-too-distant story that continues to linger: the long-term plans for Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid.
The two superstars’ current contracts expire over the next two years, with Draisaitl due for a raise from his $8.5-million contract after the 2024-25 season and McDavid due after the 2025-26 season. It’s not the only important contract on the horizon for the club, either, with a bridge deal for defenceman Evan Bouchard expiring simultaneously with Draisaitl’s current deal.
This has led to the obvious question of whether Draisaitl, who will be an unrestricted free agent, would choose to re-sign in Edmonton.
And on Wednesday’s edition of Daily Faceoff LIVE, Frank Seravalli poured cold water on Draisaitl ever leaving town:
Seravalli: Yeah I don’t see it and I don’t really understand the hysteria and buzz around it because I’ve always viewed these two players as a package deal. There’s only one place that Draisaitl can play with the best player on planet Earth, and it’s here in Edmonton. And by the way, they also happen to be best friends.
Tyler Yaremchuk: He’s going to be standing next to him at his wedding!
Seravalli: It’s going to be hard to envision those two separating from each other. I think maybe the conversation is different if the Oilers had won a Stanley Cup, then Draisaitl could branch off and go on his own…
Tyler Yaremchuk: He can change his legacy a little bit
Frank Seravalli: The Oilers are going to have to pay regardless and they know that. That’s the complicating part that we talked about yesterday with Darnell Nurse is they’ve got to pay Evan Bouchard too. He stretches now into, what, $10 million a year after the bridge deal? After an 82-point season and a monster playoffs, probably!
So Draisaitl needs a raise, Bouchard needs a raise, eventually in the near future Connor McDavid needs a raise. It’s a lot of raises.
Draisaitl’s raise will undoubtedly be a large one, as he’s currently one of the best value deals in the entire NHL, and it wouldn’t be a surprise for him to become the highest-paid player in the league, in terms of annual cap hit. That’s currently held by Toronto Maple Leafs centre Auston Matthews, whose deal accounts for $13.25-million.

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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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