Connor McDavid’s next contract could be NHL’s most lucrative

Even though they are still eight months away from formal talks, there are already some rumblings as to what it would cost the Oilers for Connor McDavid's second NHL contract, and the number isn't insignificant.

Connor McDavid hasn’t even played 82 games in the NHL yet and talk around his second contract is already underway.

The Edmonton Oilers and McDavid’s agents can’t start negotiations until July 1, 2017, but both sides are looking far ahead into the future.

“Even though we’re eight months away from when they can officially sign Connor McDavid to his second NHL contract, it’s something that Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers are already talking about internally,” Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston said during Hockey Central Tuesday evening. “And it’s something that Connor’s agents, Jeff Jackson and Bobby Orr, are already working toward on their end.

“There’s no discussion going on between the sides about numbers, but this is the biggest decision the Oilers are going to have for the next decade in terms of what number they lock him in at,” Johnston continued. “Obviously, you would assume they want to get him on an eight-year deal — the maximum allowable term.”

Currently, the largest cap hit is shared by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane — each at $10.5 million.

Is McDavid set to become the league’s highest paid player?

“I don’t see any [scenario where he isn’t],” said Johnston. “Based on what we’ve seen, I would imagine at his age and where he’s at, it’s going to come in higher than that. But let’s face it, there are still 70 games left in this season and that will tell the tale ultimately of where this ends up.”

McDavid has 12 points in the first nine games of the 2016-17 season, and 60 points over his first 54 career NHL games.

The Oilers currently have almost $4.5 million in projected cap space. Their highest-paid players are Milan Lucic, Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — all coming in at $6 million per year.

They also have several UFAs and RFAs who will need new deals at the end of this season. Zack Kassian, Anton Lander, and Leon Draisaitl all become restricted free agents in July while Matt Hendricks, Kris Russell, and Eric Gryba all have expiring contracts.