CONNOR CASHES IN
OILERS EXTEND MCDAVID,
EDMONTON — The Edmonton Oilers paid a huge price to lock up superstar captain Connor McDavid, 20, but it could have been even higher.
The Oilers announced Wednesday that the team and McDavid have agreed to an eight-year extension with an average annual value of $12.5 million US. That makes the 20-year-old league MVP the highest-paid player in the National Hockey League on an annual basis, but it’s about $750,000 a year less than what reports last week figured he would be getting.
“It easily could have been a lot higher in value and shorter in term,” Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said.
McDavid’s extension kicks in after he finishes the final year of his entry-level deal next season. If the NHL’s salary cap stays at its current level of $75 million, McDavid’s salary alone would take up 16.6 per cent of the Oilers’ allowed salary.
But any cap relief would be welcome to Edmonton. The Oilers are also working to re-sign rising star Leon Draisaitl, who is a restricted free agent after finishing his entrylevel deal and due a big raise.
“Part of this partnership was talking about building a team, and Connor was emphatic as was I about keeping this team competitive,” Chiarelli said. “There are challenges at every juncture when you are building a winning team in the salary cap era. Connor recognizes that, Jeff Jackson (McDavid’s agent) recognizes that and we’re confident we’ll be able to ice a winning team, one that can contend and win the Cup.”
McDavid led the NHL in scoring with 100 points last season, en route to winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP. In just his second season he helped the Oilers transition form league doormat to a potential rising power in the Western Conference. Edmonton made the playoffs for the first time in a decade last season ad advanced to the conference semifinal, where they took the veteran-laden Anaheim Ducks to seven games.
“I’m so excited to be able to wear the Oilers jersey for the next nine years of my life and play with some of the greatest guys that I know,” McDavid said. “I can’t wait to get back at it.
“I wanted to show that I’m in it for the long haul, and I want to win here.”
Drafted first overall by the Oilers in 2015, McDavid became the youngest captain in NHL history last season. Barely out of his teens, he proved his leadership qualities in the playoffs by helping the young Oilers overcome potentially crushing losses.