20-year-old Connor McDavid asked for less money in his new $100 million contract so the Oilers could build a better team around him

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid signed one of the richest contracts in NHL history and helped his team at the same time.

On Wednesday, the Oilers signed the 20-year-old McDavid to an eight-year, $US100 million contract, coming to an average of $US12.5 million per year, the highest-salaried player in NHL history.

However, Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli said on Wednesday that McDavid, the reigning league MVP, had the option for more money on fewer years, but opted to lower his annual salary to help the team.

From ESPN:

“Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli said that the dollars could have been higher and the term shorter but that McDavid wanted the Oilers to be able to construct a winner.

“‘Building a team to win the Stanley Cup was a constant point of discussion,'” Chiarelli said.”

TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported a similar anecdote of the negotiations:

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Original deal was expected to be $US13.25M but hearing McDavid wasn’t comfortable with the number and may have insisted on lowering it…

McDavid’s $US12.5 million annual salary is still $US2 million more than the closest players, Chicago’s Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews and Montreal’s Carey Price at $US10.5 million per year. While other players have signed longer deals for more money, the NHL’s CBA caps deals at eight years.

McDavid said of signing the contract, “I want to win here. This is a city that has such a rich history. It’s important we bring that back. We got a taste of that last season … We’ve built a good team her. Sure, it was just one year, but we’re on the right track.”

With an MVP who’s not old enough to drink in the U.S. locked up long term to a relatively team-friendly deal, the Oilers do seem to be on the right track.

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