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Insider Believes Oilers Could Lose Leon Draisaitl


While the current focus for the Edmonton Oilers isn’t on a contract extension for Leon Draisaitl, it won’t be long until the organization is in a position where a big decision will be looming. And, as the regular season winds down, the playoffs take place, and the Oilers try to make a deep run toward the Stanley Cup, every point Draisaitl gets will factor into his next deal. Darren Dreger, speaking on TSN OverDrive, believes the numbers could get so high, that Draisaitl might price himself right out of what the Oilers can afford.

During a conversation about the salary cap, Draisaitl’s production, and his pending free-agency status at the end of next season, Dreger casts doubt on the immediate likelihood of a contract extension between the forward and the Oilers. Despite being eligible to ink a new deal as early as July 1, 2024, the NHL insider predicts a prolonged negotiation process and suggests there’s no reason for Draisaitl to make a quick decision.

Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Thinking he’ll wait to see how the market plays out and that Draisaitl will want to know what the cap will be in 2025-26, his delay in extending will raise concerns over the Oilers’ financial capacity to retain the dynamic star, his interest in moving on, and the potential interest from other NHL teams.

Draisaitl Can Name His Price, Suggests The Panel

Jeff O’Neill suggested Draisaitl could write a number on a piece of paper and the Oilers will have little choice but to accept that the number will be something someone will pay. Dreger concurs, suggesting that Draisaitl could command a salary of around 14% of the cap, a significant increase from his current $8.5 million.

Related: Connor McDavid Making Strong Case to Win 4th Hart Trophy

Securing the additional funds within the salary cap presents a formidable challenge for the Oilers, especially as Connor McDavid will command even more the next year and a deal for Evan Bouchard needs to get signed. The team will be making sacrifices, and where they cut costs to fit in superstar contracts will be a fascinating storyline over the next few seasons.

The other issue is that the Oilers won’t be the only team with interest. Dreger points out the allure of no-tax state teams and their potential appeal to Draisaitl. Bryan Hayes suggested that Draisaitl not being Canadian might play into his decision. Teams like Florida, Vegas, or Tampa could emerge as viable alternatives, especially if offering similar financial terms.

This Draisaitl Situation Shouldn’t, But Could Drag Out

The best-case scenario is that the Oilers make it clear they want Draisaitl to stay and he tells them he’d like to stay too. The hope is that he and McDavid have a conversation and decide they intend to stick together. If so, that’s easier to do in Edmonton than anywhere else. However, things might not be that simple. Money, winning, living factors and more will play into Draisaitls’ decision. In fact, it’s in his best interest to wait and see what the market looks like in his contract year before he commits.

Essentially, the longer this drags out, the more it will grow to be a contentious subject in Edmonton. Fans won’t love Draisaitl “holding out” even though it’s well within his right to wait. The media will ask constantly, which will lead to familiar exchanges that have become a part of Draisaitl’s ornery personality, and the organization may have to concern themselves with the fact he could leave for nothing if they aren’t careful.


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