As he should.....this was another reason for the Eberle trade. If any team wants to try an offer sheet, this is the type of player you do it for.

CHICAGO – Offer sheets may not be a tool used by NHL general managers too often these days, but the possibility of one was certainly in the back of Peter Chiarelli’s mind when he dealt away Jordan Eberle and his $6-million salary.

With pending restricted free agent Leon Draisaitl coming off a 77-point season at age 21, the Edmonton Oilers GM didn’t want to leave anything to chance.

The Eberle-for-Ryan Strome deal with the New York Islanders immediately frees up $3.5-million in cap space for next season. It also puts Edmonton almost $24-million under the upper limit, according to, which leaves it in no danger of losing Draisaitl even if a rival team comes calling on July 1.

"There’s always the chatter and I want to be firm and clear that we have a significant amount of space and will match anything," Chiarelli said Thursday.

Only five players have signed offer sheets in the last decade and in each case the contract was matched. No one has attempted one since Calgary inked Ryan O’Reilly to a $10-million, two-year deal in February 2013 that Colorado ended up assuming.

Draisaitl is in line for a huge raise on his second NHL contract after finishing eighth in league scoring. He and Connor McDavid, who is almost certain to sign an extension this summer as well, look poised to be a dangerous 1-2 punch down the middle for years to come.