Leon Draisaitl is back skating with the Edmonton Oilers as the NHL's preseason is quickly approaching. Draisaitl was central to a lot of NHL conjecture during the offseason. He was a restricted free agent, he didn't sign too quickly after free agency began, and that leads to speculation on what would happen with him. It was just a few weeks ago that he signed with Edmonton long term. In a recent interview published to OilersTV's Youtube account, Draisaitl answered questions from unnamed reporters, including one about his contract.

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No extra pressure due to big contract

According to Draisaitl signing a new contract that's as substantial as the one he got doesn't really change much for him.

That may be a surprising answer to some, but it does make sense from some points of view. If you're already trying your hardest at all points in your early career than getting a larger contract can't actually cause you to improve your efforts. Certainly, Draisaitl would have had to have given everything to get the nearly point-per-game average he had during the regular season last year. Oiler fans will be looking for more of the same in the upcoming season.

"It dragged on a little bit," Draisaitl said, referring to the length of time that it took to sign his contract. He also mentioned that he spent just under two months' time in the Czech Republic [VIDEO] before speaking about the pressure of the big contract again. "There's always pressure...really it doesn't matter," Draisaitl said of signing a big contract.

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"Last year I had the pressure of it being my contract year...for me it's not really the matter of the pressure too much. I want to live up to that contract."

At one comedic point in the interview, Draisaitl was asked whether he knew what position he would start at, presumably among the forward skaters. He joked "I might start on defense" to mild chuckles around the crowd of reporters. He added that he would not request a specific playing position from coach Todd McLellan.

Draisaitl seems to sense a good vibe

At other points in the interview, he spoke positively about the Oilers' sentiments entering the season. In speaking about the summer he said that it seemed to go by quickly, but he communicated a desire for the hockey season to start. Draisaitl also said that over the summer he kept the same workout regiment as before.

The Edmonton Oilers enter the 2017/18 season in a position that they haven't really been in for decades during the preseason: they are among the Stanley Cup favorites. Popular sportsbook bet365 makes the Oilers the 2nd favorites to win the Stanley Cup, just behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. However, the odds are so close that it is difficult to discern much difference in opinion between the two teams among the odds setters.