When the first day of July comes, with it will come free agency. It will usher in a period where management will no doubt look to extend Connor McDavid with a
21 year personal services contract deal as long as he will sign. Let’s hope it’s for eight years.
While McDavid is no doubt priority number one, Leon Draisaitl is no doubt right behind. Draisaitl will enter restricted free agency on July 1st if a deal is not yet struck. What will Draisaitl’s next deal look like?
2016-17: THE EMERGENCE
Leon Draisaitl was the third overall choice in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft behind Aaron Ekblad (FLA) and Sam Reinhart (BUF). His rookie season saw him split time between the NHL and Kelowna, he would go on to post 51 points (19-32-51) in 77 games during the 2015-16 season.
In 2016-17, Draisaitl popped off for 77 points in 82 games (29-48-77). He’d go on to have sixteen points (6-10-16) in 13 playoff games for the Oilers. A 16.9 shooting percentage is a little bit high, but his 172 shots are a fairly low number when compared to the rest of the league. It’s not even in the top hundred. (It’s next to guys like Jason Zucker, Colton Sceviour and Brock Nelson). If his shooting percentage goes down, more shots could keep everything in line.
Draisaitl finished the season with 77 points, good for eighth in the league. He had one more than San Jose’s Brent Burns, and two more than St. Louis dynamo Vladimir Tarasenko. Tarasenko’s in the middle of an eight year 60MM deal (7.5 AAV), one he was awarded after scoring 73 points in 77 games. 7.5M might be a tad high for Leon, but I’m going to guess that this is a number that he signs near.
Draisaitl’s deal will likely signal the end of either Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in Oiler colours. Unless the cap goes up significantly by 2018-19, there’s a very good chance that one of 14 or 93 will be moved in order to alleviate the cap crunch. A lot of this will depend on what 97 and 29’s cap hit look like, but deals will be had for Patrick Maroon, Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, whatever they decide to do with Cam Talbot (UFA 2019), and if Zack Kassian is still around.
And God help us if Kris Russell gets extended for more than a year.
If the Oilers get a shot at a long term deal at 7 million AAV, I think they’ve got to scoop it up. They’ve got a centre who fits marvellously at 2C and marvellously next to McDavid. Everything’s marvellous with Leon. Now get the deal inked.