Oilers center Leon Draisaitl is the most prominent of the 19 remaining restricted free agents. While some have suggested that he and Bruins RFA winger David Pastrnak could be looking for similar contracts (and could be waiting for the other to sign before finalizing their agreements), David Staples of the Edmonton Journal suggests that Buffalo’s pursuit of an eight-year extension for center Jack Eichel is worth keeping an eye on, especially if he signs his deal before Draisaitl puts pen to paper on his.
Eichel hasn’t had as productive of a year like Draisaitl did in 2016-17 (77 points in 82 games) but he is younger and has the higher draft pedigree which will be factors in negotiations with Buffalo. Staples asserts that it will be hard for Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli to argue that Draisaitl should be paid less than Eichel and given what the 2015 second overall pick has done in his two years with Buffalo plus his draft status, he should be heading for a second contract north of $7MM, if not more.
Staples projects that Draisaitl should be in line for a contract between $7.2MM and $8MM but that the young German’s agent, Mike Liut, may want to wait to see if Eichel signs first in the hopes of strengthening Draisaitl’s bargaining leverage. While anything in or around that range is certainly a big ticket contract, the Oilers have more than enough cap space to fit him in this year as they currently have just shy of $17MM in cap space per CapFriendly.
More from around the hockey world:
- Although he has yet to land a new contract this summer, unrestricted free agent defenseman Roman Polak isn’t dealing with any setbacks in his injury rehab, TSN’s Kristen Shilton reports (Twitter link). The 31-year-old underwent surgery on his leg in mid-April after being injured in the second game of Toronto’s first round series against Washington. Polak is coming off a $2.25MM contract and between the injury and his status as a third pairing player, he will likely be taking a sizable pay cut on his next contract. He is not eligible to sign a contract with performance bonuses as he’s under 35 and didn’t spend more than 100 days on injured reserve in 2016-17.
- While Chicago is capable of placing winger Marian Hossa on summer long-term injury reserve now to free up cap space to make another offseason addition (like Toronto has already done), NHL.com’s Dan Rosen suspects that the Blackhawks will wait until the regular season to do so. While that will stop them from adding anyone else of note for a couple of months, waiting until the puck drops on 2017-18 will give them the most amount of in-season flexibility. It was announced back in June that Hossa will miss all of 2017-18 at the very least due to a progressive skin disorder.