The Edmonton Oilers are building a very solid stable of top young players, and they are making sure that their top talents are not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. After already announcing that Taylor Hall has signed a seven year contract extension worth $42 million, the Oilers have now re-signed Jordan Eberle to a six year extension worth $36 million.
Clearly, the Oilers want to make sure that they have a group of well rounded players for years to come. Considering that Eberle is 22-years-old, and Hall is still just 20 years of age, Edmonton has accomplished that goal.
Throw in the fact that the Oilers have drafted young stars such as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov the past couple of years, and this team could contend for a playoff berth sooner than later.
If only they had a goalie.
Edmonton continues the trend of giving players new deals who have one year remaining on their entry level contracts. It is also in the best interest of all of the players involved, as a new collective bargaining agreement could limit how much players can earn in their second contracts going forward. But the top players on the Oilers do not have to worry about that happening.
And Eberle, for one, is quite pleased with that fact.
“Obviously me and Taylor want to be a part of this team for a while,” Eberle said. “That’s why we signed this way. I think it signifies the young core of the group wanted to be here.
“We see the direction the team is going and that’s in a forward direction. I think this year is definitely going to be a big year for us as far as developing our name as a team. Our success in the past couple of years hasn’t been nearly where we want it to be and next year is going to be a huge stepping stone for us.”
So while getting the No. 1 pick in the NHL Drafts is nice, eventually, you would like to put it all together and have that group of top draftees put it together and help lead the team back to the postseason.
Unfortunately, I’m still not sure if Nikolai Khabibulin can lead a team in net at this point in his career. If he can put together one more season, than the Oilers could get back into the playoff race.
If not, they will still be staring at yet another extremely early first round draft pick.