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Ryan McLeod Hearing Can Push Oilers to Over $2 Million Extension

McLeod’s offensive prowess compared to Philipp Kurashev means the Oilers might have to pay more than $2 million to keep the forward.

Ryan McLeod’s upcoming arbitration hearing with the Edmonton Oilers, scheduled for August 4th, has raised questions about his contract negotiations. After seeing Philipp Kurashev awarded a contract with a $2.25 million average annual value (AAV) following his hearing with the Chicago Blackhawks, McLeod’s camp might be considering the arbitration process. Without a doubt, McLeod stands out as the superior offensive player and likely is a step above in all aspects of the game. Although injuries hampered his performance last season, preventing him from completing a full 82-game season, he was on track to surpass an impressive 35 points. That plays into his favor.

Ryan McLeod Edmonton Oilers center

In his previous extension negotiations, McLeod demonstrated loyalty to the team by accepting a team-friendly deal. However, now he seeks fair compensation based on proper comparables. Despite this desire, the Oilers are hoping the allure of being part of a legitimate Cup-contending team might lead him to accept a lower AAV, such as $1.8 million, in order to free up more cash for other players.

Last season, McLeod signed for $798,000 as the Oilers faced cap constraints. However, he should be rewarded for his progress and contributions on the ice. The question arises whether McLeod should push for arbitration to determine his market value or continue negotiations with the Oilers to facilitate the team’s roster-building efforts, particularly for Evan Bouchard’s contract.

Ryan McLeod Has Earned His Raise

Throughout the season, McLeod recorded 23 points in 57 games, averaging 14:11 minutes per game with significant time on even-strength, power-play, and penalty-kill situations. He showcased his ability to outscore opponents at 5×5, contributing 20 points in those scenarios. He’s not yet exploded or showcased the potential some believe he has, but his speed is obvious and at times, he looks like he could be a legitimate top-six threat.

One factor to consider is how the arbitration process could affect McLeod’s relationship with the team. Reports suggest it could strain the player’s bond with the organization, potentially impacting his desire to continue with the team. Both sides would likely want to avoid such consequences. The question remains whether a difference of $200,000 per year in salary is worth taking that risk.

As McLeod faces the arbitration hearing, the decision he makes will have implications not only on his contract but also on his future with the Oilers. Balancing the desire for fair compensation with the opportunity to play for a championship-contending team presents a challenging dilemma for the young forward.

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