Oilers ink star centre Leon Draisaitl to huge eight-year contract


Oilers ink star centre Leon Draisaitl to huge eight-year contract

A month after locking up Connor McDavid with a record extension, the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday signed center Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year extension that will pay him an average of $8.5 million annually through 2024-25, the team announced. In 2015-16, Draisaitl upped the ante by appearing in 72 regular-season games in addition to registering 51 points alongside 19 goals and 32 assists.

The 21-year-old Draisaitl completed his third National Hockey League season in 2016-17, setting career highs with 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games, and finishing with 20 penalty minutes. Appearing in all 82 regular-season games for the playoff-bound Oilers last season, Draisaitl dished out 48 assists while scoring 29 goals. The Oilers lost in seven games to the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Second Round.

In 151 career games with Minnesota Duluth, Toninato accumulated 91 points (54 goals, 37 assists) and finished with a plus-43 rating.

In question now and moving forward is whether the Oilers keep the two franchise stars together and have them skate as a duo, or split them apart for increased depth.

Draisaitl also provides the Oilers with lineup flexibility.

With the new contract, the Oilers have 28% of their salary cap next season tied into Draisaitl and McDavid.

Draisaitl, 21, was a restricted free agent.

"Any time you can lock up one of your top players for a lengthy period of time, it's a good day", said Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli on the team Twitter account.