By Frank Pingue
(Reuters) – The Edmonton Oilers have signed captain Connor McDavid to a $100 million, eight-year contract extension that will make the 20-year-old phenom the highest valued player in the National Hockey League.
McDavid, who has one year left on his entry-level contract, agreed to an extension that will pay him an average of $12.5 million per season, the highest salary cap charge in the NHL, starting with the 2018-19 campaign, the team announced on Wednesday.
After being made the youngest captain in NHL history last October at the age of 19, McDavid went on to win the scoring title with 100 points as he led Edmonton to their first playoff berth since 2006.
The campaign earned McDavid his first Hart Memorial Trophy as the league’s Most Valuable Player and the Ted Lindsay Award as the most “outstanding” player as voted by his peers.
McDavid, whose skills have been compared to Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky’s, said he was honored to know he will remain long-term with the Oilers and wants nothing more than to deliver the franchise their sixth Stanley Cup and first since 1990.
“I’m in it for the long haul and I want to win here,” McDavid told a news conference.
“This is a city that I think has such a rich history. It’s important that we bring that back. We got a taste of that last year and we certainly have some unfinished business.”
McDavid was the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft where he was by far the most coveted prospect for years given his hockey sense, skating wizardry, deft passing and vision on the ice.
The Canadian center had 48 points in 45 games during a rookie campaign cut short by a broken collerbone. McDavid showed no drop in form in his second season, playing in all of his team’s 82 games, registering 30 goals and 70 assists.
The Oilers reached the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs where they lost a decisive seventh game to Anaheim.
(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Larry Fine)