It’s been a busy off-season in Edmonton, what with general manager Peter Chiarelli dishing out $168 million to star duo Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
The latter forward got his number on Wednesday, when it was announced that the Oilers had re-signed Draisaitl to an eight-year deal paying him $8.5 million annually.
That Draisaitl’s extension puts the Oilers in a bit of a cap crunch comes as no surprise – it was foreseen as soon as McDavid entered the fray. The real question is what such a deal means for other teams with up-and-comers, like the Toronto Maple Leafs, and how it compares to the hefty contracts belonging to more established veterans.
“Assuming Willie Nylander and Mitch Marner get better, and are deserved of $8-ish million deals, and you’ve got those two and an Auston Matthews locked up to around $27 million–$25 million for the three of them, there’s no way you’re going to be able to keep JVR (James van Riemsdyk),” John Grigg said, joining Dan Riccio and Donnovan Bennett on Saturday’s Sportsnet Hot Stove. “There’s no way you can keep (Nazem) Kadri. And there’s no way you’re going to keep the likes of (Tyler) Bozak around. You can’t afford it.”
While McDavid and Draisaitl’s landmark contracts have drawn comparisons to those of other duos, some don’t line up quite as well. Chicago’s Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, for example, weren’t in quite the same situation when they took that financial leap.
“I think it’s also important to note that if you’re comparing these deals to Toews and Kane, you have to remember that Toews and Kane were on their third deals,” Grigg said. “They had played eight seasons by the time they signed their big tickets. …McDavid’s played two years, and not even a full two seasons. The Leafs are in the same situation – if they’re going to lock their guys up to long-term deals, they’re going to get them when they’re 21, not 29 or 27.
“So you’re getting them on the rise, rather than at or around their peak and then the tail end. And I think that is a huge difference-maker for both of these teams when you’re talking about these types of deals.”
Listen to the full segment below: