The biggest of all the free agents has finally settled down and signed his new deal on Wednesday. The Edmonton Oilers and forward Leon Draisaitl have finally put pen to paper on an 8-year, $68 million deal, giving him an $8.5 million cap hit in each of those seasons, starting with this one, the 2018 season coming up.
The 21-year old broke out in a big way in the 2017 season, finishing the year with 29 goals and 77 points, playing in all 82 games with the Oilers. That was good enough for 14th overall in pool scoring, 8th among all forwards and all things being equal, there's a fine chance that he should be up there again.
The signing, which may have taken a little longer to get done than most Oilers fans would have liked, gives the team a 1-2 punch with Connor McDavid, which rivals those of the Pittsburgh Penguins or Chicago Blackhawks, if not surpasses both currently. Along with goaltender Cam Talbot, these three are going to be very hot commodities at the hockey pool draft next month, as you can see with the updated projections table below.
The initial projections pretty well included Draisaitl's numbers, so there were no major changes to the overall table above. The Oilers are going to be a formidable force in the Pacific Division this season and their playoff loss should only drive them a little bit harder to the overall successes. Nevertheless, the Oilers will be a popular team, come draft day and I would imagine that some players may get over-valued or taken too high, so do be careful about some of these guys, especially past the top three.
The Oilers cap number isn't very concerning for the 2018 season, as I'm still showing $8.7 million in unused cap space after the Draisaitl signing yesterday. The 2019 season, however, it gets to be awfully dicey, when McDavid's contract kicks in and they start have to tinkering with their depth, much like the Blackhawks or the Penguins do right now. Next summer's free agents include Patrick Maroon and Darnell Nurse and the Oilers won't have a lot of extra dough for those two, when it all boils down.