Oilers News & Rumors: Draisaitl, McDavid, Smith, Neal, More

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there is a lot to digest coming out of the announcement made by NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Tuesday, many items of which affect the Oilers specifically.

Draisaitl appears to have won a major award, the Oilers potentially got a massive consolation prize, and some players may get shafted when it comes to personal stats and potential bonuses.

Leon Draisaitl Wins The Art Ross Trophy

For all intents and purposes, those the keep the NHL records and statistics have closed the book on the current season. That means, with 110 points, Leon Draisaitl is the Art Ross Trophy winner for the 2019-20 season.

If qualification games don’t end up counting, he’s the first-ever German to win the NHL’s scoring title, he and Connor McDavid are the first teammates to finish first and second in scoring since 2013 — he finished 13 points up on McDavid —, and Draisaitl is the 9th European player to win the award.

Congratulations on one heck of a season. He kept up an incredible pace over 71 games and there were few points throughout the season that it appeared anyone was going to catch him. No one did.

The Conditional Draft Pick in the Lucic Trade?

According to Oilers general manager Ken Holland, with the end of the season now officially announced and with the task of keeping stats likely coming to a dead stop, the Oilers are probably keeping their conditional draft pick that could have gone to the Calgary Flames had James Neal scored 21 goals and Milan Lucic finished with at least 10 fewer goals.

James Neal Edmonton Oilers Jonathan Quick Los Angeles Kings
James Neal of the Edmonton Oilers screens goaltender Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

“That is my understanding that the (regular) season is over,” said Oilers general manager Ken Holland. He added:

“My understanding in the deal we made was the numbers were black and white, they were firm (21 goals for Neal). And you’re to look at the final stats. But because it’s a unique year, I’m not sure how everybody else is looking at it. I haven’t officially been told that.”

source -‘It appears Oilers don’t have to give Flames third-round pick for James Neal’ – Jim Matheson – Edmonton Sun – 05/26/2020

If Holland’s assumption is right that all stats are what they are with Tuesday’s announcement, this is actually fairly huge for the Oilers who don’t have a second-round pick or fourth-round pick in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. Holland said it was important he stocks the cupboards more with draft picks. This will be one less key trade he’ll need to make.

Related: Wayne Gretzky – The Great One’s 10 Most Unbreakable Records

McDavid Falls Short of 100 Points

Unfortunately, good news for Draisaitl is bad news personally for Connor McDavid who will fall short of 100 points. As Brian Burke said on Tim and Sid Tuesday, the NHL really needs an award for “Most Exciting Player”. It doesn’t feel right that he might not win anything.

Let’s not forget, McDavid made an incredible comeback after offseason surgery and an injury that potentially threatened his career.

What Happens With Player Bonuses?

In all of this, what happens for players who won’t get the last nine games to hit personal bonuses? If the stats aren’t added, does that mean the bonuses aren’t paid either?

Mike Smith Edmonton Oilers
Mike Smith, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Edmonton had five players with potential performance bonuses up for grabs. Most of them were entry-level type bonuses, but Mike Smith needed one more game to get another $250K. Will he get that now? Might the NHL decide he gets a portion of it? I can’t imagine how that would work since there’s no telling if the Oilers would have played him again this season. You can’t say to one player, no you don’t get your 50 goals, but say to another, we assumed you’ll have played that one more game.

If not, will the Oilers potentially try to find a way to work that lost bonus into his next contract offer? Throwing out that bone could go a long way.

Related: Best & Worst Oilers of the Decade

Oilers Will Meet the Blackhawks If Season Resumes

Despite the announcement from Bettman on Tuesday, it’s important to remember that none of what was said is a guarantee the NHL will hold this year’s playoffs. This is simply a plan that can be put into place should the NHL get the go-ahead.

With that in mind, the Oilers will face the twelve-seed Chicago Blackhawks. If they lose, Edmonton will join 15 teams in the draft lottery. If one of the seven teams not included in the 24-team play-in doesn’t win one of the top three draft picks, the Oilers could theoretically get a top-three overall pick, maybe even No. 1.

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