Edmonton Oilers fans should prepare to celebrate.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Connor McDavid is likely to sign an eight-year extension worth more than $13 million per season. McDavid is entering the final year of his entry-level contract and becomes eligible to ink an extension on July 1.
Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli made no effort to hide the fact signing McDavid to a long-term extension was his top priority this off-season. Immediately after McDavid’s deal is settled then he can begin working on Leon Draisaitl’s.
“Cap-wise, we’re okay next year, we could basically stay the same, it’s the following year when Mr. McDavid’s contract will kick in, so I have to be cognizant of that,” Chiarelli said back in May at an end-of-season media availability. “But we’ve got a lot of different rosters we’ve looked at in the sense, at numbers, numbers for specific guys, term. But the cap is expected to stay flat or raise a little bit, so we’re working off $73, $74, $75 [million] and we’ll see where it’s at. We’ll certainly have the resources to put another contending team in place.”
McDavid’s new cap hit, which wouldn’t go into effect until the 2018-19 campaign, would be the highest in the NHL. Blackhawks teammates Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are currently the highest-paid players in the league in terms of average annual value making $10.5 million per year.
Having McDavid locked in at the heart of the franchise is great news if you’re Chiarelli and the Oilers, but between his extension and the presumably lucrative deal Draisaitl will sign, cap space could potentially become an issue in the future. According to CapFriendly, Edmonton has roughly $17.1 million in cap space.
The Oilers recently freed up an extra $3.5 million in cap space by trading Jordan Eberle to the New York Islanders for Ryan Strome.
Mark Letestu ($1.8 million AAV) and Patrick Maroon ($1.5 million AAV) are the only players on the current Oilers roster slated to become unrestricted free agents following the 2017-18 season, while Strome, Darnell Nurse, Anton Slepyshev and Laurent Brossoit are among the Oilers’ 2018 RFAs that will need new deals.
In just two seasons since being drafted first overall in 2015, McDavid has established himself as one of the best players–some think he’s already the best–in all of hockey and the future face of the league.
The 20-year-old won the Hart Memorial Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award last week following his league-leading 100-point sophomore season.