Vincent Desharnais with the Oilers
Photo credit: The Athletic

Oilers fan favourite pricing himself off the team with massive contract ask

Published January 26, 2024 at 12:05
Drafted 7th overall by the Oilers way back in 2016, Vincent Desharnais was always a long shot to make the NHL, but after making his debut at age 26, he's established himself as a physical presence and shutdown defenceman, earning the love of Oilers fans. Unfortunately, one Oilers insider is now saying he could be pricing himself off the team after this season.

According to Allan Mitchell of the Athletic, Vinny Desharnais could be seeking up to $3.5M, likely for a contract of at least 4 years or more. Mitchell came to that number and term by comparing Desharnais to other similar players signing their Unrestricted Free Agent contracts. Most recently, Justin Holl signed with the Detroit Red Wings for $3.4M for 3 years after strong seasons with the Leafs and a long road to the NHL.

There might be an expectation from fans that Desharnais will sign at less than market value. It would be unwise for Desharnais to consider it, as this will be his first (and possibly last) opportunity to cash in on free agency. Can the Oilers afford Desharnais? How much can Edmonton pay a third-pairing right-handed defender?

Being a homegrown talent and fitting the now-rare stereotype of a massive right handed shutdown defenceman, the Oilers and their fans might expect Desharnais to take a hometown discount - but Mitchell thinks that's unlikely. Debuting relatively late in the NHL and hitting free agency at 28 years old with less than 100 games under his belt, Desharnais needs to cash in on this contract. He'll need to seek the most money on the market, and it's likely the Oilers won't be able to give it to him.

The one solution for the Oilers could be to perhaps offer extra term to Desharnais to keep the annual salary low, but that would be a significant risk to pay a third pair defenceman for over four years. At this moment, it looks like Desharnais is likely to test free agency at the end of this season, and set himself and his family up for life with a larger contract outside Edmonton.
January 26   |   813 answers
Oilers fan favourite pricing himself off the team with massive contract ask

Should the Oilers sign Desharnais this year?

Yes, even if it's an overpay19323.7 %
Yes, only to a discount36845.3 %
No, let him walk18122.3 %
See Results718.7 %
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