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Does Connor McDavid’s New Deal Help The Leon Draisaitl Negotiations?

Now that 97’s got his deal, where does that leave the Oilers with regards to the cap?

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Connor McDavid signed an excellent deal yesterday. Anyone who disagrees with this is probably a good person, but they couldn’t be any more wrong. Like betting on the Washington Generals against the Harlem Globetrotters, they would be very, very wrong.

McDavid’s new deal will kick into effect at the beginning of the 2018-19 season. It brings with it a 12.5MM cap hit every year for eight years, mostly in bonuses. It’s completely buyout proof, and it’s the first buyout-proof deal that the Oilers have signed that I’ve been simply elated about. Connor McDavid will be an Oiler for a long, long time.

Lots of folks in the Twittersphere had McDavid around the 13.25MM mark per season, which would’ve been great as well. Does getting him at 12.5MM a year change much?


Assuming you’ve been watching all along, you’re well aware the cap gets super tight for the Oilers in 2018-19. Even with an incremental increase in the cap ceiling, things are about to get snug in a year. With regards to McDavid’s slamming new deal, I’m not going to sit here and suggest that there’s a wide difference between 12.5 and 13.25. It’s 750 thousand, but it might be a bigger help than expected.

The numbers we’re seeing for Leon Draisaitl have gotten up to eight, nine, or ten million depending on where you’re looking. If Draisaitl’s camp and Chiarelli were on the same page, it’s fair to assume that they’d like to lock a deal down sooner than later. I can’t imagine Chiarelli wanting his number two scorer to carry on through the summer susceptible to an offer sheet. If the Oilers were thinking 8.25MM a year, perhaps McDavid’s AAV allows them to push the needle to 9MM a year a bit more easily?

Leon’s contract is a bit more difficult than McDavid’s. I wholeheartedly believe that Chiarelli wants to lock Draisaitl down for a significant amount of time, but we’re still wondering exactly what Leon can do on his own line away from McDavid. Listening to Chiarelli wax about Ryan Strome getting a look at centre back on July 1st leads me to believe that there’s a significant chance that Draisaitl again will play next to McDavid for what could be the entire year.

For the sake of the discussion, I’m going to use “9” as the number that Leon gets long term. Beginning in 2018-19 (when McDavid’s new deal takes effect), it will give the Oilers roughly 13 million to sign Ryan Strome, Patrick Maroon, Anton Slepyshev, Drake Caggiula, Darnell Nurse, Matthew Benning and Laurent Brossoit. If there’s a cap increase of two million like this past year, it’ll put the Oilers at about 15 million to lock down all of their assets.

In other words, can 750 thousand swing the needle on Draisaitl? Maybe. It won’t do much for the long term cap issues that will face the team in a year. That’s not to say that it’s McDavid’s fault (the best player in the game should be paid like the best player in the game), but Chiarelli will likely need to squeeze the roster once again to make it all work out.