Many publications discuss Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel in the same sentence. That’s because the two have been linked together for years as they went No. 1 and No. 2 overall in the 2015 draft. They both were considered franchise changing centers and neither has disappointed. However four days into the offseason, the Edmonton Oilers locked up their franchise center, agreeing to an eight-year, $100MM contract, giving him an AAV of $12.5MM. Is Eichel next and how much will he command?
While both players have been talked about together and both have performed admirally, McDavid’s exorbitant contact makes sense. The two-year veteran has scored 46 goals and 102 assists in that span and he actually missed almost half of his rookie season. His 100-point season is a rarity in hockey, but it was a season that captured him the Hart Memorial Trophy as the MVP of the league, the Art Ross Trophy for having the most points in a season, the Ted Lindsay Award, voted on by players and given to the most outstanding player during the regular season. He made his first all-star appearance and was named to the NHL First All-Star Team all in this past year. And at age 20, there is plenty of optimism that he could take his game to new levels.
After awarding that contract to McDavid, Eichel’s turn to sign on the dotted line should be approaching. The question is what is he going to ask for. The 20-year-old, who was the second-overall pick in 2015, might be a nudge ahead of McDavid on goals scored with 48, but Eichel has also played 15 more games than McDavid. Eichel has put up great numbers, scoring 24 goals in both his first two seasons, but his playmaking skills haven’t been as impressive as McDavid. He finished with 56 points in his rookie season and 57 points in his sophomore campaign, although he played 20 games less this past year. He could be holding out for a bigger contract, assuming he will have a breakout year that might garner a similar contract to McDavids.
However, it’s unlikely Eichel will ever garner a contract in the same realm as McDavid. So far, he has proven to be a solid 25-goal scorer and while those numbers could improve quite a bit, he’s hardly accomplished anything that compares to McDavid. His numbers would suggest something in the range of $7MM to $10MM if he holds out to the last moment, but hopefully the young center will not hold out for McDavid money. Buffalo continues to negotiate, but it far more likely that an extension is still a year away.
What do you think he deserves?