This could probably be summed up in about five tweets or so but it’s Friday and boredom has set in.
On July 1st the NHL Free Agency window opens for the year and a certain RFA, Leon Draisaitl, will be available. There have been plenty of arguments for and against signing him to an offer sheet and this would be the former. The old Oilers’ regime foolishly burnt a year of Draisaitl’s entry level deal after playing him 37 games in 2014/15 and then sending him back to junior where he came within a goal of winning the Memorial Cup (sigh).
Had they held him back this process would have been delayed by one year and most certainly the Oilers would have set themselves up by the 2018 trade deadline to clear enough space for him to fit comfortably. As it sits, this is not the case.
The reason tendering an offer sheet to Draisaitl is somewhat clever for so many teams including the Canucks, is that if a team WERE to sign him they automatically have a proven top pivot that doesn’t need to develop in the system or raise any concerns about character and the like.
Draisaitl is a horse and as we all saw in the playoffs this past spring, he’s a proven performer at the most important time of the year. Realistically, issuing an offer sheet to the LD camp most likely means max cash and four first round picks. A steep price for any team but in the case of the Canucks, there is no waiting around for him to be ready.
He makes the team better on day one and probably challenges for the 1C job… ok, he gets the job. That, in turn, pushes Henrik Sedin to the second line, Bo Horvat to line three and Sutter, well, they could probably trade him at that point. Could it work? Sure. Just imagine seeing 30-35 more goals next year, crazy to think right?
Everyone has seen the compensation the Oilers would receive, the cap hit that is attached to LD and the potential to take him straight to free agency as a UFA once this deal concludes but it can be argued that for a team somewhat as desperate as the Canucks, he’s a player worth the risk.
Bringing in a player that hasn’t come through the system and is making that kind of money could be looked at as a slight to the current team but if a player that good comes into the fold, they get it’s for the betterment of the team’s future.
There isn’t any further compensation required by the Canucks once the offer sheet is signed so the recent draft success by Jim Benning (yep, I said it) can calm Canucks fans as they know the future gets that much brighter as Draisaitl nears his next deal. It would definitely be one of the boldest moves by a Canucks GM since Brian Burke’s deal at the Draft in 1999 or even more recently when Cory Schneider was traded for New Jersey’s first round pick which turned into Bo Horvat.
The only other reason to offer sheet LD would be to flip a big middle finger to Peter Chiarelli after he crushed the Canucks in 2011 with the Bruins. Jim Benning was there too but it would solidify Benning as “one of us” and a statue would eventually be erected or maybe like a full page ad from a fan in The Province if this all panned out.
Adding LD helps the Canucks focus on other needs, most likely defense and maybe another winger in the next year. It keeps the rabid fanbase at bay and players like Brock Boeser and Nikolay Goldobin get a chance to eventually shine with him.
Leon Draisaitl will always be in Connor McDavid’s shadow and this is his chance to become the star himself. Plus, who really wants to live in Edmonton longer than they have to?
It’s just money, right?
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photo – youtube