The Edmonton Oilers' Stanley Cup hopes just improved as of Wednesday. The Oilers finally signed Leon Draisaitl after a whole bunch of hoopla and debate. The signing simplifies matters for the Oilers heading into training camp. Had they not signed Draisaitl, there would have been a vacant spot in the roster that Peter Chiarelli would have had to deal with. had the press release

The homepage for the Edmonton Oilers issued a press release on the matter. The site claimed on Wednesday morning to "have signed centre Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year contract extension, through the 2024-25 season, with an average annual value (AAV) of $8.5 million" (no author listed).

The signing was largely expected by a lot of parties and both the term and the average annual value are about what was expected as well. It does have to make one wonder what all the commotion was about as the contract is about what everyone was expecting.

Connor McDavid also signed an eight-year deal earlier this offseason. However McDavid has one year ahead of him in his current contract, meaning he will be in Edmonton for nine more years. McDavid and Draisaitl are both in their early 20s. As such, they promise to form a dynamic duo that could redefine the NHL, especially the Pacific Division, in the years ahead.

"I'm really excited to be back for eight years," Draisaitl said (qtd. by Paul Gazzola at Edmonton

The German national added: "I never really thought about going anywhere else. We have something really special. We have a great group of guys. It's something I wanted to be a part of as long as possible."

Remembering last season

The Edmonton Oilers will certainly be looking to improve upon their results from the 2017 NHL playoffs.

They enjoyed a first-round series win against the San Jose Sharks. However, in the second round they lost in seven games to the Anaheim Ducks. Many in Edmonton, including some in the mainstream press, felt that the series was on the questionable side. David Staples, writing for the Edmonton Journal, headlined on May 4th "Referees ruin the game as Ducks beat Oilers 4-3 in overtime."

The notion that the Oilers had something taken away from them in the 2017 playoffs is fairly widely-held among hockey fans in Alberta.

Some see Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the NHL, as favoring the California-based teams while taking the Canadian hockey fan base for granted. The Oilers do have an amazing lineup heading into the 2017/18 season, and it will be interesting to see how that lineup does in a league where no Canadian team has won the championship in what will be 25 years come next spring.