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Draisaitl: Oilers future will take a 'bit of time'

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Leon Draisaitl tried to keep his answers to a minimum when asked about his future with the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

Fresh off an oh-so-close Stanley Cup Final loss in Game 7, the Edmonton Oilers star told media at Rogers Place "it's going to take a little bit of time to figure out" his future with the team.

It'll hinge on conversations between his camp and the team. The Oilers are eligible to sign Draisaitl to a contract extension starting Monday.

"I'm going to sit down with my agent, talk to the Oilers and see what their plan is, see what our plan is and just go from there."

The 28-year-old centreman, who was drafted by the Oilers in 2014 with the third overall draft pick, has one year left on a contract he signed in 2017 for $8.5 million a season.

Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl speaks during a press conference on June 26, 2024, at Edmonton's Rogers Place. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)Essentially, the Oilers are faced with one of three scenarios when it comes to Draisaitl before training camp opens in September:

  • sign him to an extension that will likely see the German-born star -- a former NHL scoring champion and most-valuable player -- get a significant raise;
  • if he says he wants to move on, trade him;
  • let the contract run its course and allow him to leave as an unrestricted free agent.

Time is arguably of the essence for the second scenario as summer is usually the best time to put together a trade of the magnitude one involving Draisaitl would be.

Also complicating matters is the status of Oilers general manager Ken Holland, whose own contract expires Monday.

Draisaitl said he "loves being an Oiler more than anything" but that he needs to mull the situation.

"I'm well aware of what's going on, but I haven't spent much time thinking about what really are the facts and what I want to do, so I'll just leave it at that," he said.

"We'll figure it out when we get there."

10 Oilers set to become unrestricted free agents

Several Oilers players scheduled to become unrestricted free agents this summer didn't tip their hands to media, although some spoke more glowingly and provided more detail than others in terms of why they would consider signing back on if the Oilers want them.

Forward Adam Henrique, who the Oilers acquired a few days before this year's NHL trade deadline along with Sam Carrick from the Anaheim Ducks, said "there's a price for winning, being on a team like Edmonton."

"Year after year now, the Stanley Cup is the goal," said Henrique, who proved effective in the Cup Final against the Florida Panthers centring a line with Connor Brown and Mattias Janmark.

"For me coming in, it renews the passion in the game a bit. I haven't had the opportunity to be in the playoffs for a long time and have that opportunity to win. For me, I think that as far as dollars goes, it's there's an understanding of it might cost a bit, but whatever that is, it could be worth it in the end."

Brown, who signed a one-year deal last summer worth $4 million — $3.225-million of it applied to next season's salary cap — said Edmonton "is where I want to be."

Edmonton Oilers winger Connor Brown (28) controls the puck as Florida Panthers centre Anton Lundell (15) defends during Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final on June 18, 2024, in Sunrise, Fla. (Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press)"I think my heart's here (after) everything that we kind of went through together," said the 30-year-old winger.

"On top of that, just the fans and the kind of patience they showed me, the way they treated me when I scored. It's a special place to play ...

"It feels like a team just getting better and better and so many committed, motivated, determined guys, the kind of guys you want to be around."

Other Oilers who are due to become unrestricted free agents this summer include forwards Janmark, Carrick, Warren Foegele, Sam Gagner and Corey Perry, defencemen Vincent Desharnais and Troy Stecher, and goalie Calvin Pickard.

Defenceman Philip Broberg and winger Dylan Holloway are restricted free agents.

Janmark, 31, said that at this point in his career, he "really only cares about winning."

"Thinking about leaving here, it's incredibly tough because you know that you're so close, so that's for sure part of it," said Janmark, who signed a one-year deal worth $1 million last year after playing for the Oilers the season before on another one-year contract.

"You have to take that into consideration and then make your decision from there."