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Edmonton Oilers taking risky approach to negotiating stars next contract


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Josh Tupper
July 6, 2024  (11:24)
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Evan Bouchard
Photo credit: NHL

The Edmonton Oilers are taking the risk of seeing their cap situation get difficult after not signing Evan Bouchard to an extension.

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard is unlikely to sign a contract extension this summer, according to Daniel Nugent-Brown of The Athletic. Bouchard became eligible to sign a new deal on July 1, but the Oilers are currently focused on finding a new general manager and signing Leon Draisaitl to an extension.
Bouchard had a breakout season in 2023-24, doubling his previous career-high in points and playing a key role in the Oilers' Stanley Cup run. He finished the regular season with 82 points in 81 games and added 32 points in 25 playoff games.
Despite his impressive performance, the Oilers seem content to wait until next summer to discuss an extension with Bouchard, who will become a restricted free agent with arbitration rights in 2025. This may be a risky move, as Bouchard's value could increase significantly if he repeats his success next season.
"I'm told it's unlikely the Oilers & Evan Bouchard (RFA: 2025 w/ arb rights; UFA: 2027) will discuss an extension this summer.

EDM — More pressing things to address (GM, Draisaitl, McDavid).

Bouchard — High likelihood of building off Norris 5th place & starring in the playoffs." Nugent-Brown said.

The Oilers' decision to prioritize other contracts, such as Draisaitl's and potentially Connor McDavid's, may be a strategic move to manage their salary cap situation. However, it's clear that Bouchard is a top-pairing defenseman who will command a significant raise if he continues to perform at an elite level.
Only time will tell if the Oilers' decision to wait on extending Bouchard will pay off, but one thing is certain - he has established himself as a key player in Edmonton and will be a crucial part of their future success.
Source: Blade of Steel
Bouchard contract extension reportedly not a priority for the Oilers this summer
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Edmonton Oilers taking risky approach to negotiating stars next contract

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