With the offseason upon us, the Expansion draft & Entry draft in the rearview mirror and Free agency on the horizon I thought it would be a good time to take a peak into the future to try and predict what McDavid’s next contract would look like. Obviously, that has and will be a major factor into how Chiarelli does business (as will Draisaitl’s) moving forward so let’s take a look.
There’s been a lot of talk that McDavid should be the highest paid player in the league while others have suggested he take a “hometown discount” to help his team build a winning roster. Could he command $14 Million? Absolutely and it would be hard to criticize him for it. Why shouldn’t he be the highest paid player in the league? He won the scoring title in his 2nd year with 100 points. At age 20 he is already the face of the franchise in Edmonton and is the future face of the NHL. The question is, if he and the Oilers can keep the Cap hit at a manageable number while still giving him his well deserved raise. Also something to consider is that the current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires in 2022 so that will definitely affect how his extension is drawn up. They could go several ways with this but to take a best guess at which route they may go let’s look at Sidney Crosby’s first contract:*
(*all figures are according to spotrac.com)
In 2008, Crosby’s contract extension kicked in. He signed for 5 yrs, $43,5000 with a Cap hit of $8.7M. The 5th year he decided to take a lower base salary $7.5M in order to keep the overall cap hit down as it is spread out evenly over each year of the contract (His $7.5M was adjusted to $4.39M that year due to labour strike). The cap was around $56.9M that year meaning he took much less than the maximum 20% he could have got. By not breaking the bank it allowed the Penguins to sign Malkin for a similar amount the following year. The CBA at that time was set to expire before the 2012-2013 season meaning the lower salary Crosby agreed to in his final year of the contract was Post-CBA renegotiations.
After a frustrating labour strike and new CBA Crosby then signed a new contract for 12 years worth $104.4M:
(*all figures are according to spotrac.com)
Notice once again he took a higher base salary the first few years in the contract and took significantly less at the end to help keep the cap hit manageable. His base salary initially was much closer to the 20% cap but his overall cap hit did not change from the previous 5 years. The Penguins were able to maintain a competitive roster without having to dump big salaries despite having Two of the top players in the league. Adding impact players on entry level contracts through the draft certainly has helped too.
Although the roles are reversed somewhat for the Oilers with Draisaitl being due first, I think both contracts are done around the same time and we will see something similar with McDavid as we did with Sid. This current CBA is set to expire September 15th, 2022 or before the 2022-2023 season. Now I do realize both the league and union have options to opt out early but for argument’s sake let’s assume neither exercise that option. What could we realistically expect a McDavid contract to look like? Here’s my pure guess:
5 years, $55 Million with an annual Cap hit of $11 Million
2018-19 $11.5M base
2022-23 $9.0M base
Some have suggested he follows Sid’s lead and goes for a Cap hit that matches his number ($9.7M). That does make some sense as we all know how highly he respects and admires “Mr.Crosby.” However, while that would be cute and would do the Oilers a huge favour I just think that number is a bit low. Sid’s first contract extension was 10 years ago. I do think McDavid cares about building a team around him so he doesn’t go for the full $14M. Plus with Draisaitl also due a big raise I think he certainly takes that into consideration. Also, as we mentioned the CBA is up in 2022 so I would fully expect him to get the maximum base salary at that time. Something like 12 years $170 Million. But for now, I don’t think McDavid is looking to break the bank. I truly think he wants to help his team maintain competitiveness so he settles for $11 Million cap hit for 5 years. Again, it’s just a guess but if he can come in at around $11M a year and Draisaitl somewhere around $7-$8M per, the Oilers should consider themselves very fortunate.
Whichever route he goes he deserves it in my opinion. I would hate for any fans to turn on him if he did take the maximum he is entitled to. From a competitive standpoint it would sting a bit but would just increase the need to keep our draft picks and continue to draft well in the future. We will need as many guys on entry level contracts as possible to offset he and Draisaitl’s cap hits either way. I highly doubt he does go for $14 Mill a year but you never know. Either way I’m just happy he plays for our team.
UPDATE: Multiple Sources report McDavid will sign for 8 years, $106 Million.
OFFICIAL: McDavid gives the Oilers a discount and signs for 8 years, $100 Million.
To discuss or feel free to hit me up on Twitter @TheOilKnight