Connor McDavid’s new contract extension makes sense for everyone

NHL insider Elliotte Friedman explains to Jeff Blair why the Oilers-McDavid rumoured 8-year extension worth over $13 Million per season would definitely be a win for the organization.

It isn’t finalized yet, but Connor McDavid’s new deal with the Edmonton Oilers is in the neighbourhood of $13.25 million for eight years. (Neither the Oilers nor McDavid’s agent, Jeff Jackson, would comment.) That’s a win for everyone.

Initially, the Oilers worried their captain might only want five years, but they get him for maximum term. It’s a win for McDavid — for obvious reasons.

The thing to remember here is this is for all of his prime years. Pittsburgh could “back-dive” Sidney Crosby’s contract. He’s making $3 million per season at ages 35, 36, and 37. The new CBA doesn’t allow that for McDavid.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are making $13.8 million in the first four years of their mega-deals with Chicago. It goes to $12 million in Year 4 but down to $6.9 million in Year 8, when both will be 34. McDavid won’t be into his 30s by the time this ends.

Now, what does it mean for the team?

Alex Ovechkin’s Washington extension was 19 per cent of the cap when he signed it. Crosby’s second contract was 17.3 per cent while Evgeni Malkin’s was 15.3. McDavid is at 17.6, but that’s assuming zero growth. Going into next year, it will be 12.7 per cent for Ovechkin and 11.6 for Crosby.

Malkin is a little more complex because he’s signed two contracts since his entry-level at two different values. The first was at an annual average value of $8.7 million. His second deal is at $9.5 million.

Remember that McDavid’s entry-level deal is still in place for next season, so the Oilers have one more shot with him at the low number no matter what Leon Draisaitl signs for. Pittsburgh won the Stanley Cup in 2009 under similar circumstances, as Malkin was still on his entry-level contract.

Since Oilers fans are hoping Draisaitl-McDavid mimics Crosby-Malkin, let’s compare percentages. The first year both played under their second contracts was 2009-10. They combined for almost 31 per cent of the cap. Let’s say Draisaitl signs for $10 million. If the cap didn’t move at all for 2018-19 — stayed totally flat at $75 million — he and McDavid would be exactly there, at 31 per cent.

The first season both played under their third contracts was 2014-15. They totalled 26.4 per cent, even though Malkin got a raise from $8.7 million to $9.5 million. The cap had gone up, providing more flexibility.

Crosby and Malkin will combine for a little over 24 per cent of Pittsburgh’s cap for 2017-18. More importantly, it was 25 per cent in 2015-16 and just below that figure this past season. You may remember the Penguins won Stanley Cups in both those years.

You can win with two huge deals. I will bet on McDavid and Draisaitl being the right players. Growth is the key. If the cap rises, Edmonton rises with it.

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