Hints of Leon Draisaitl pulling a Matthew Tkachuk exposed!

Hints of Leon Draisaitl pulling a Matthew Tkachuk exposed!

This can’t happen again in Alberta… right?

Chris Gosselin

Leon Draisaitl did not reject questions on his future in Edmonton last month when asked about it during the Oilers’ exit interviews. He said all the right things, how he hasn’t really thought about his contract all that much and how he loves being an Oiler. In that moment, no one had any fears or reasons for Draisaitl considering leaving.

The superstar enters the last year of his current deal, on an $8.5-million annual salary, and is likely to command a substantial increase, potentially in the range of $13.5 million to $14.5 million per year. The Oilers are not going to fight him on value, but other factors are expected to pop into Draisaitl’s mind. Like, are the Oilers going back to the Finals to win the Stanley Cup? What will his buddy Connor McDavid choose to do next with his own contract?

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman recently wrote that the Oilers seem prepared to slow-play any contract extension talks with Draisaitl, but there are huge risks here as Jim Parsons of the Hockey News explained: “waiting carries risks, particularly if Draisaitl ultimately chooses not to sign an extension. He could walk away with no assets coming back. If that happens, how likely is McDavid to stay knowing all the Oilers got in exchange was considerable cap space?”

He explained how Draisaitl could pull a Matthew Tkachuk, like the now Cup champion did a few seasons ago in Calgary:

“This situation mirrors that of Matthew Tkachuk from two years ago. The Calgary Flames thought they were doing well by trading Tkachuk for MacKenize Weegar and Jonathan Huberdeau . They immediately signed both to long-term extensions. The trade and the signings proved to be a huge mistake. Two years later, the Flames are rebuilding and the Panthers are the Stanley Cup champions.”

Some many things are in play and while I get that the Oilers want to be patient with Draisaitl, but the risk is so high. We’ve seen it happen before in Alberta.

“At the same time, it will be tough for Edmonton to convince itself to take the risk that Draisaitl could simply leave at the end of next season. A strategic trade could bring in assets that align with the team’s current needs. Getting nothing would be a tough pill to swallow, even if keeping Draisaitl ups the odds of a Stanley Cup in 2025.”

Everyone will have to be patient. And careful. Let’s hope for the best.