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Is Oilers’ Draisaitl the Malkin to Penguins’ Crosby?

If the Edmonton Oilers are hoping to keep Leon Draisaitl around, they might be counting on the fact he doesn’t want to leave McDavid.

Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal made an intriguing player comparison this week when talking about Leon Draisaitl of the Edmonton Oilers. As the journalist tried to describe the contract situation between the German star and the Oilers, Matheson noted that an extension in Edmonton won’t be a simple thing to finalize. That said, the organization does have something working in their favor, in that Draisaitl wants to stay with Connor McDavid, just like Evgeni Malkin wants to stay with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Matheson suggests the Oilers need to ensure Draisaitl is signed before the start of the 2024-25 season and that they can’t let him enter the season as a pending UFA. To get this done, the team will have to pay more than $13 million per season — a huge bump from his current bargain rate of $8.5 million per season — and they’ll need to pull on his heartstrings.

Matheson writes:

I think Leon sees himself as Malkin to Crosby and those two have been coupled for almost 20 years with the Penguins. He wants to win, here. But, the Oilers will want that commitment, and fairly quickly, because we all know he could get more in free-agency somewhere else.

Many believe Draisaitl is open to leaving. He wants to win in Edmonton, but some think he’s open to going to the highest bidder and that maybe he believes he’s better off being the lead guy on another team. Other scribes have suggested the Boston Bruins would be open to going all in on Draisaitl and making him their No. 1 center.

What Might the Draisaitl Contract Extension Look Like?

If the Oilers can convince Draisaitl to stay, Matheson suggests the Oilers and the forward might be looking at two options.

Leon Draisaitl Edmonton Oilers NHL

He could opt for a four-year contract akin to Auston Matthews‘ deal in Toronto. This approach allows flexibility with uncertain future cap projections, leaving room for another contract negotiation at age 32. Matthews commands a cap hit of $13.25 million, and Draisaitl would likely seek a similar figure, perhaps slightly higher.

Alternatively, Draisaitl could pursue an eight-year deal akin to Nathan MacKinnon‘s contract with the Colorado Avalanche. Despite MacKinnon’s hometown discount, with an average annual value (AAV) of $12.6 million, it was predicated on a cap ceiling of $82.5 million. It remains uncertain if a similar deal could be struck for Draisaitl.

Next: Mattias Ekholm’s Impact: A Defensive Force for the Oilers

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