Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid signed an eight year, $100 million contract extension on Wednesday. Once the contract officially starts at the beginning of the upcoming season, it will be the biggest cap hit in the NHL at $12.5 million a year.
McDavid is only 20 years old.
After taking the Oilers to their first postseason appearance since 2006, where they defeated the San Jose Sharks in the first round, but were bounced by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round, it's easy to say that McDavid is the centerpiece of the Oilers team. He lead the league in points with 100, earning his way to both the Ted Lindsey Award and the Hart Trophy for Most Valuable Player. So it is very easy to understand why the Oilers are given this kid both the cash and the years to his contract.
But get this, McDavid was supposedly supposed to get around $13.25 a year. That was the estimate on the value of the contract. And it would've been no surprise has the Oilers given him that money. But, plot twist, McDavid says NO! He turns around and asks for the number to be lowered. This is exactly why he wears the C.
See, in the NHL, the players get that this is a team sport. You may be able to win games and even get to the postseason with one star player, but if a Stanley Cup is on your mind, no way. Sure, in the NBA you can win a championship with one star player. And that's exactly why ateam will pay a ridiculous amount of money to one individual, and try and surround him with players that he can work with. Which is also why you never, ever would hear of a player taking less money than offered. You actually think LeBron would lower the offered dollar amount he receives? No chance.
McDavid realizes that the Oilers need more assets. The team has finally gotten rid of Jordan Eberle, adding to the list of first rounder's Edmonton has taken that haven't quite panned out for them, (talking about you, Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov). Their defense stills need some work on it, as you can't fully rely on veterans like Andrej Sekera and Kris Russell, yet their young players don't seem to be quite ready for the big minutes, like Darnell Nurse, Oscar Klefbom, and Adam Larsson. However, they have what I consider to be a solid, reliable goalie in Cam Talbot and some promising offensive players.
One of those players is Leon Draisaitl. Draisaitl finished the year with 29 goals and 48 assists, good for 77 points which put him eighth in the NHL in points. Playing alongside McDavid certainly helped, but there clearly was very good chemistry between the two. The questions now is, how long will Draisaitl be an Oiler?
It is evident that Oilers' GM Peter Chiarelli wants to lock up Draisaitl, as he has made it clear that Draisaitl will not be traded. But after seeing Draisaitl play for three years now in the NHL, and having last year be his clear breakout year, it puts the Oilers in a tough spot. Draisaitl is estimated to get between $7-$9 million a year, but the Oilers have a lot of other young talent they will need to pay. However, the $0.75 million that McDavid gave up might just be enough.
McDavid has now given the Oilers management a gift. While Chiarelli expected to get a hit of $13.25 from McDavid, he now gets to save some money that can be used towards other players' contracts. Such as Draisaitl. This can hopefully be used to bring back Draisaitl to place along McDavid next season, as the Oilers look to continue to becoming a threatening franchise out of the west.