Category: Edmonton Oilers

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Three Reasons Why Leon Draisaitl is Worth Every Penny

The Edmonton Oilers made headlines earlier this week when they announced the signing of 21-year-old centre Leon Draisaitl to an 8-year $68million contract.

Of course, many believed it to be an overpay and that the Oilers would find themselves in deep cap trouble in the coming years having their two young centres in Draisaitl and Connor McDavid combining for a whopping $21 million.

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The large cap hit ($8.5m) was compared to more proven players like Washington’s Evgeny Kuznetsov (8 years, $7.8m cap hit) and Nashville’s Ryan Johansen (8 years, $8m cap hit) furthering the argument that the Oilers were more than generous.

The critics came from outsiders and the Oilers fan base themselves, but I believe the Deutschland Dangler is worth every penny.

PAYING FOR POTENTIAL

Leon Draisaitl has seen his point totals increase in every season since becoming an NHL player. His rookie season got off to a poor start putting up only nine points in 37 games on an awful Oilers team that only had two legitimate NHL centres (Boyd Gordon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) and Draisaitl’s main linemates were Nail Yakupov and David Perron. He was eventually sent back to junior where he thrived on a Kelowna Rockets team that won the WHL championship and finished second at the Memorial Cup. Draisaitl took home the MVP honours.

The following season Draisaitl began in the AHL before a late October call up resulted in Leon solidifying himself as an NHL player. Draisaitl clicked with Taylor Hall en route to a 51-point season.

Last season, Draisaitl teamed up with Oilers’ captain Connor McDavid to form the highest scoring duo in the NHL. Draisaitl finished the season with 77 points, good enough for eighth in league scoring.

A lot of these large contracts have been awarded to players that have already won a Stanley Cup like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. While those players will be going into their mid-thirties by the time the contracts are complete, Draisaitl will only be 29 with still miles on his tires.

It’s better to pay for potential than reward a player for past accomplishments.

PLAYS HIS BEST WHEN THE GAMES MATTER

Draisaitl is already a Memorial Cup MVP and he was one of the best players on Team Europe in the most recent World Cup, but it was in the 2017 playoffs that we saw what Leon can do. Draisaitl led the Oilers with 16 points in 13 games, most of the damage coming against the Anaheim Ducks, a team which Draisaitl has owned since entering the league.

Many believed Draisaitl’s point totals were inflated because he was playing on Connor McDavid’s wing. Draisaitl ended the playoffs centering his own line flanked by veteran Milan Lucic and rookie Anton Slepyshev. It was during this time that Draisaitl had a monster five-point performance in Game 6 against the Ducks.

The best players come up in big games and Leon has already proven he is a big game player. That’s worth every cent.

AS THE CAP GOES UP, THE DEAL LOOKS BETTER

As the salary cap continues to rise throughout the next eight years, Draisaitl’s cap hit will be the norm for secondary scorers (may be a slight reach, but you get the picture). The term on the deal was the biggest part of the win for the Oilers.

Imagine if Draisaitl had only signed a five-year deal for a slightly lesser cap hit and he keeps his upwards trajectory. Draisaitl would’ve been able to negotiate a much bigger payday, even more than Connor McDavid’s $12.5 million.

CONCLUSION

Leon Draisaitl is already an elite player in the league at 21 and players like him don’t normally peak until their late twenties when this deal is complete. You have to pay elite players in every league and the Oilers did just that. This isn’t biting a bullet, this is protecting your investment.

The Edmonton Oilers have a duo locked up for the next seasons that can be right on par with Malkin/Crosby and last time I checked those gentlemen have three Stanley Cup rings.

The Oilers will have to deal with the salary cap in the coming seasons, but with Draisaitl and McDavid on their roster, they will consistently be Stanley Cup contenders.

Worth.

Every.

Penny.

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We discussed the Draisaitl contract on this episode.

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Edmonton Oilers Re-Sign Leon Draisaitl for Eight Years

The Edmonton Oilers have re-signed one of their superstars to a new eight-year deal. Leon Draisaitl will be receiving $8.5 million for the next eight years which totals out to be a $68 million contract. After the signing of Connor McDavid for $100 million in July, fans were worried that the Oilers would not be able to sign their second best star without offering something similar.

Well, they managed to pull it off and now the Oilers have two studs of the game locked up long term. Draisitl had an amazing season last year when he was paired with McDavid on the right side. He put up 29 goals and 48 assists for 77 points in 82 games, nearly having himself a point-per-game season. Leon also registered just 20 penalty minutes and a plus seven rating.

During the 2015-16 campaign, Draisaitl had 51 points in 72 games and the year before putting up nine points in 37 games. So it’s clear that Draisaitl is only going to continue moving up statistically, especially if he is paired with McDavid again this season which is very likely since the team acquired Ryan Strome from the New York Islanders for Jordan Eberle.

Draisaitl was selected in the first round third overall in 2014 by the Oilers and was already pegged as one of the teams future stars at the time. And at 6’2” and 215 pounds at only 21 years of age it’s not hard to see why. He was tremendous in the WHL for the Prince Albert Raiders and Kelowna Rockets where in 160 career games he put up 78 goals and 138 assists for 216 points he also had 71 career penalty minutes in the WHL as well as a career plus 43 rating.

Oilers fans should be extremely excited this season to watch these two superstars of the game mesh together even more after last years display. And since the Oilers made it quite deep in the playoffs for their lack of experience, they could very well go further this season since they know what to expect.

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Edmonton Oilers Sign First Rounder Yamamoto

The Edmonton Oilers locked down rookie Kailer Yamamoto to a three-year, entry-level contract, the club announced Thursday.

Yamamoto, at 18-years-old, was selected with the 22nd overall selection in this year’s draft. The diminutive winger (5-foot-8, 153 pounds) registered impressive offensive numbers for the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs last season, tallying 42 goals and 57 assists in only 65 games. And so far in 190 career WHL games, Kailer has put up 84 goals and 143 assists for 277 points putting him well above the point-per-game average at 1.19.

Now the Oilers have ten games with Kailer before they burn a year on his entry level contract. So they could always test the waters with him in the NHL to see if he can play. If he can’t handle the pro game right away it’s likely he will be sent back down to Spokane.

This summer, Yamamoto played for Team USA at the 2017 World Junior summer showcase in Plymouth, Michigan earning even more experience. This means he could potentially play for the U.S again at this year’s World Junior Tournament.