Down the road in Calgary, plenty of players are being watched extremely closely as their contracts are coming due and uncertainty suround their futures. Elias Lindholm, Noah Hanifin, and Mikael Backlund are three of the Flames more important pieces and what they decide to do could ultimately change the course of the franchise.
The Oilers are in a similar, yet different position. There are no immediate concerns other than trying to win, but in a couple of years, Leon Draisaitl will be eligible for an extension and one year after Connor McDavid can re-up with the team. If either or both were to drag their feet on a new deal, there’d be concern in Edmonton about how good the Oilers would be moving forward.
So, it makes some sense that media members would start asking questions of Draisaitl (whose contract is due first) if he’s given any though to his future. While speaking on the 32 Thoughts podcast, he was asked and responded, “I knew that question was coming.” He then said, “Of course, I do. But I’m gonna give you the most cliché answer right now. I’m in Edmonton right now. I want to win a Stanley Cup in Edmonton. We’ll see what happens.”
So, in one breath, he gave the most direct and obvious answer one could give… “of course I do.” In the next breath he committed to nothing while giving no sense that he was contemplating a move. He’s not about to give the media something they can run with as the Oilers try to keep focused and capture a Stanley Cup. He’s also not about to send the fan base into panic mode, which can easily happen in a hockey-crazed market like Edmonton.
And, even his fairly neutral response is likely to stir up a few fans. That he used the words “right now” will have some of Oilers Nation reading into the meaning of that phrasing, which will likely, ultimately, lead to more questions.
Next: Toronto Maple Leafs: The Battle for the Top-Line Left-Wing Spot