Leon Draisaitl owes the Nashville Predator a few dollars as a thank you.
The other day, the Predators signed forward Ryan Johansen to an eight-season, $64 million contract. Average cap hit? $8 million.
Johansen is a fairly comparable player to Draisaitl. The problem Oilers management have is that Draisaitl is better, and Draisaitl’s people know he’s better.
Perhaps the Draisaitl camp were seeking $8 million per season on an eight-year contract before the Johansen signing. Now, they absolutely are and then some. There’s no reason to sign for anything less than $8.5 million on an eight-season deal.
Oilers management have been acting foolishly regarding this Draisaitl contract. Maybe they’ve been looking to sign a two-season bridge deal for less money. Maybe they are trying to starve out the player to have him panic and agree to less. All of the waiting from the Oilers camp is backfiring. Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli likely could have extended Draisaitl for less money last summer or during the 2016/2017 season. Nope. Once teams started throwing big money around for lesser players this summer, it became obvious the Draisaitl camp can seek and get market value, which is, whatever they say it is. The Johansen contract offers absolutely clarity as to what Draisaitl can ask for and wait for until he receives it.
Obviously the Oilers aren’t going to trade Draisaitl, and I highly doubt he’ll settle for a bridge deal now. I keep reading thoughts on Twitter about Draisaitl getting less than Johansen because of his age, but I don’t think that applies. The Oilers just gave 20 year-old Connor McDavid the biggest salary in the NHL, because they’ve seen him enough to know he’s the league’s best player. Age only becomes a factor in long-term deals when we’re discussing players aging out of their primes. At 21, Draisaitl has yet to hit his.
My last blog discussed Draisaitl at $8 million per season, and I think that option might be gone now. If Chiarelli is smart he’s picking up the phone RIGHT NOW and is asking very politely for Draisaitl to take the same deal Johansen got. Maybe explain how if he gets paid more than that, the whole team will suffer. Oilers management talked McDavid down $750,000 on his contract. Perhaps they can knock $250,000 to a $1 million off of Draisaitl if they ask nicely enough.
The Habs are not going to offer sheet Draisaitl, nor will anyone else. A new collective bargaining agreement is not that far away, and NHL teams collude with each other to a certain degree. Offer sheeting players just drives up the market, and no one on the ownership side. There’s a bunch of teams in financial trouble because the NHL allows teams that lose millions to survive too long. The current CBA is up in 2022, and you better believe the owners will look to reduce the spending percentage on players more.
A few other Oilers notes:
1. If there is a trade for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins before the season begins, it’s a fair bet he’s going to Arizona. If this happens, expect Ryan Strome to be used at the third line center this season.
2. Montreal is in the cap position to add a center, and they must if they have any chance of competing this season. My guess would be Matt Duchene from Colorado.
3. The Oilers are not interested in Brendan Gallagher if Nugent-Hopkins was dealt to Montreal instead of Duchene. A friend explained that to me the other day. I have no idea what the Oilers would want from Montreal, which is why I think it’s doubtful Nuge goes there.
4. Another potential name I’d throw into a Nugent-Hopkins trade rumor is Elias Lindholm from Carolina. Apparently the Hurricanes want to upgrade at center and Lindholm is right-shooting and half the money of Nugent-Hopkins. Well, half this season.
5. One final possibility? If Duchene is moved to Montreal, maybe the Avalanche turn around and acquire Nugent-Hopkins from Edmonton. Tyson Jost plus a draft pick would most certainly come back in a deal such as that.