Could the Oilers be at Risk Signing Draisaitl Long-Term?

Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Four
Dallas Stars v Edmonton Oilers - Game Four / Leila Devlin/GettyImages

The Edmonton Oilers are in the midst of trying to capture another Stanley Cup. The roster is coming together and contributing in many ways. They look unstoppable but may have met their match against the Florida Panthers. Forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl have been tremendous and look to continue their dominance inside the offensive zone. There is also something Oilers management msay need to focus on and that is a possible extension for Draisaitl.

Oilers' Draisaitl has earned a big payday

Over the years, Draisaitl has been as dominant as McDavid with less hype and attention. That could be a factor in the organizations handling of a contract extension for him. He is eligible for an extension on July 1 but does Edmonton have the frame of mind to deal with this?

The Oilers projected cap space for the 2024-25 season is $12.46 million and that is not a lot of money. They have two restricted free agents (Dylan Holloway and Philip Broberg) and an extended list of unrestricted free agents (Connor Brown, Sam Carrick, Warren Foegle, Sam Gagner, Adam Henrique, Mattias Janmark, Corey Perry, Vincent Desharnais, Troy Stecher, and Calvin Pickard). While some of these players will not re-sign, players like Desharnais and Janmark may want more money based on their play this season.

Draisaitl's cap hit for this season is $8.5 million and he is expected to want more than that in his extension request. However, how much can the Oilers spend? They certainly will not pay him more than McDavid, whose annual average value is $12.5 million. Does the number start with a 10? In order for Edmonton to afford an extension for Draisaitl, they may need to make moves to clear out cap space. Again, some free agents will not be back but some are critical in the success of the Oilers going forward.

Edmonton General Manager Ken Holland has not had the greatest history of signing players to extensions. He often pays players too much and it cost the team down the road in free agency and causes roster issues. If they sign Draisaitl to a new contract and that number begins with a 10, they have no cap space left to sign players left on their list of free agents. That would leave a lot of holes to fill from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. There is also potential for a trade if the parties cannot come to an agreement. Draisaitl has a contract until the 2025-26 season but if they are far apart they might let him go if his price is too high. If it sounds unrealistic just remember that Wayne Gretzky was traded and he is the greatest player of all-time.