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Posted on 06-29-17, 03:40 am

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This summer, Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel have a chance to change the marketplace for young restricted free agents.

Though their entry-level contracts won't expire until after the 2017-18 season, they can agree to extensions starting on Saturday. By all indications both players -- McDavid especially -- will be offered massive raises off their ELCs to a level that hasn't been seen in the current collective bargaining agreement.

you'd have to say (McDavid) should be slotted with the highest paid players in the game,"If you're just doing a pure marketplace analysis," a player agent said. "McDavid and Eichel and (Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews) are generational players. It's not hype."

The fact that both McDavid and Eichel will make a lot of money in their next deals isn't up for much debate. But how they go about those contracts and how they could influence potential future RFAs is a major storyline going into this offseason -- provided both players opt to sign extensions this summer.

it was reported by Sportsnet that McDavid had agreed to an eight-year contract around $13.25 million per year,adidas Braden Holtby jersey,Wednesday,adidas Blake Wheeler jersey, though nothing official can be announced until Saturday.

According to the agent,adidas Travis Konecny jersey, the only "comparables" coming off entry-level deals are for St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko and Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad.

$60 million contract off his ELC from St. Louis after he scored 37 goals and notched 73 points in 77 games in 2014-15. Ekblad's eight-year,adidas Claude Giroux jersey,Tarasenko received an eight-year, $60 million contract extension from Florida came on July 1 of last year and won't kick in until next season. He had 15 goals and 36 points while averaging 21:41 minutes per game in 2015-16 before he signed his extension. This past year was the last of his entry-level deal.

but it would cut into their unrestricted free-agent years. The 20-year-old McDavid led the NHL in scoring last season with 100 points and won the Hart Trophy. The 20-year-old Eichel missed 21 games with an ankle injury,Such contract length is team friendly and would give each player security, but still finished with 24 goals and 57 points in 61 games.

A wrinkle in how both get paid could involve the next collective bargaining agreement. The current CBA is scheduled to end after the 2021-22 season, and it's unclear if there will be certain levers introduced in the next CBA that could knock down both players' earning potential if/when they sign a deal under that structure.

but if he signs for three years he could then get another contract in this CBA that would take him further into the next one,It's unlikely that the Sabres would walk Eichel to unrestricted free agency with a four-year deal,adidas Alex Ovechkin jersey,adidas T. J. Oshie jersey,adidas Patrik Laine jersey, giving him a possible 11 extra years total under the current system.

because it probably won't be eight-year deals under the next CBA.",adidas Dustin Byfuglien jersey, you're not locking in a tremendous amount of money and you're only getting a limited amount of money,adidas Wayne Simmonds jersey,"The (potential) lockout is so soon that if you sign a really short deal,adidas Shayne Gostisbehere jersey," the agent said. "But it's a possibility to sign a short-term deal going into the lockout and re-sign right before the lockout starts so that you sign an eight-year deal

Both players are certainly worth a lot, but such contracts won't help the competitiveness of Buffalo or Edmonton if the cap continues to rise marginally. This offseason it only went up a total of $2 million to $75 million for next season. The Oilers also need to re-sign forward Leon Draisaitl -- another star player who will command a large amount of money this summer. The 21-year-old Draisaitl notched 77 points last season and led the Oilers with 16 points in the postseason.
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