Salary cap: how it may affect the final cut

Jason Gregor
September 26 2009 02:45PM

mo-money-mo-problems

How much impact will the salary cap have on the final cuts for the Oilers? The Oilers have some financial restraints that could ultimately impact the final decisions. Let’s break down how much salary the Oilers have invested right now using each player’s cap hit from the numbers I received from the NHLPA.

Goaltending

Nikolai Khabibulin: $3.75 million Jeff Deslauriers: $625,000 Total: $4.375 million

Defence

Lubomir Visnovksy: $5.6 million Sheldon Souray: $5.4 million Tom Gilbert: $4.0 million Denis Grebeshkov: $3.15 million Steve Staios: $2.7 million Ladislav Smid: $1.2 million (not the 1.3 million that has been reported). Jason Strudwick: $700,000 Total: $21.45 million

I didn’t include Taylor Chorney, because I don’t see him sticking.

Forwards

These are the guys I think are locks to start the season here.

Shawn Horcoff: $5.5 million Dustin Penner: $4.25 million Ales Hemsky: $4.1 million Patrick O’Sullivan: $2.925 million Ethan Moreau: $2 million Sam Gagner: $1.625 million (this includes his potential bonuses). Andrew Cogliano: $1.33 million (this includes his potential bonuses). Mike Comrie: $1.25 million (This is the correct figure, not $1.125). Gilbert Brule: $800,000 Zack Stortini: $700,000 J.F Jacques: $525,000 Total: $25.005 million

These 20 players are a combined $50.83 million towards the cap, meaning they have $5.97 million to spend on three players before they reach the ceiling of $56.8 million. The Oilers could keep 22 players if they wanted to, but considering that would force them to expose another player to waivers, I find that highly unlikely.

So here are the five candidates who I think are in the running to fill out the final three spots.

Fernando Pisani: $2.5 million Robert Nilsson: $2 million Marc Pouliot: $825,000 Ryan Stone: $600,000 Steve MacIntyre: $537,000

Even if the Oilers keep Pisani, Nilsson and Pouliot – combined $5.3 million – they are still under the cap. So technically, the Oilers can keep any combination of players and they will still be under the cap. Clearly, Steve Tambellini doesn’t want to have only a miniscule $670,000 of cap space all season long, because that would handcuff him from making any sort of significant moves.

PISANI COULD PLAY

Pisani skated today and at times he was on a line with Brule and Nilsson, but he will be a game-time decision tomorrow. He wants to play, but it’s up to the medical staff, so we’ll have to wait until the morning skate tomorrow to find out if he is in.

Moreau and Pouliot did not skate and both are out for tomorrow, and you can expect to see Khabibulin play the entire game. Well, they are hoping he tops up his fluids and is able to play the full 60 minutes.

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One of Canada's most versatile sports personalities. Jason hosts The Jason Gregor Show, weekdays from 2 to 6 p.m., on TSN 1260, and he writes a column every Monday in the Edmonton Journal. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JasonGregor
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#1 Joey Moss
September 26 2009, 03:04PM
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way better value for the SMac and Stone than Pisani and Nilsson.

as with most things in life, the answer is obvious to everyone but the person making the actual decisions.

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#2 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 03:06PM
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Best Value - Pisani, Pouliot, Stone

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#3 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 03:07PM
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Joey Moss wrote:

way better value for the SMac and Stone than Pisani and Nilsson. as with most things in life, the answer is obvious to everyone but the person making the actual decisions.

The idea isn't to ice the best value players, it's to ice the best team under 56 million.

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#4 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 03:09PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Best Value – Pisani, Pouliot, Stone

Granted I've only seen 3 pre-season games, but I really don't get this Stone talk.

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#5 Joey Moss
September 26 2009, 03:16PM
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@ Ogden Brother: by taking the 2 guys that barely total 1mil over the two guys that add up to almost 5mil is a bonus because you get that much flexibility in the cap for future transactions (you know like deadline deals, absorbing salary for high picks, etc.)

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#6 Word
September 26 2009, 03:18PM
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I hope I'm not missing something obvious, but why not start the year with the miniscule $670,000 of cap space, then if the opportunity to make a move arises, waive who you need to waive and recall someone in order to create the cap space later?

I suppose the most significant risk is that by not waiving a player with the main NHL waiver herd, it becomes more likely that a player won't clear, but I doubt that's a risk management would shy away from.

Why would they care about "Best Value" now if they can swap (for example) Nilsson for Stone mid-season when the cap space becomes necessary.

I don't understand the love-affair with cap space unless it's being utilized. As long as management is capable of creating the exact same cap space later, I'd much rather have a better, albeit overpayed, player on the roster to start the season.

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#7 Word
September 26 2009, 03:21PM
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All this "Best Value" talk is like we're trying to create a "wins per $" stat akin to "points per game".

If Phoenix has a higher wins/$ than Detroit but still misses the playoffs it's nothing to brag about.

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#8 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 03:25PM
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Joey Moss wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: by taking the 2 guys that barely total 1mil over the two guys that add up to almost 5mil is a bonus because you get that much flexibility in the cap for future transactions (you know like deadline deals, absorbing salary for high picks, etc.)

And if we miss the PO by one point?

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#9 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 03:26PM
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Word wrote:

All this “Best Value” talk is like we’re trying to create a “wins per $” stat akin to “points per game”. If Phoenix has a higher wins/$ than Detroit but still misses the playoffs it’s nothing to brag about.

Finally some common sense!!

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#10 jake
September 26 2009, 03:28PM
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How long is a player on waivers before he clears?

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#11 Joey Moss
September 26 2009, 03:31PM
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@ Ogden Brother: it would be an improvement on last year.

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#12 David S
September 26 2009, 03:32PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Granted I’ve only seen 3 pre-season games, but I really don’t get this Stone talk.

Seconded. And another guy suggesting Stone for Nilsson. Only an idiot subs in a borderline prospect for a proven sniper.

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#13 Joey Moss
September 26 2009, 03:34PM
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@ David S: what is your definition of a proven sniper?

10 goals in 71 games?

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#14 Word
September 26 2009, 03:35PM
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@ jake:

I haven't researched the exact answer, but I thought someone a while ago said 24-48 hours?

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#15 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 03:35PM
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Joey Moss wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: it would be an improvement on last year.

And a colossal disapointment if it's because we intentionally iced an inferior roster to save a couple million bucks for "maybes".

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#16 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 03:36PM
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David S wrote:

Only an idiot subs in a borderline prospect for a proven sniper.

Robin Brownlee wrote:

Jason, if I’m reading things correctly, you can add Nilsson and MacIntyre to that (cut) list (leaving Pouliot & Stone as the 13/14 forwards).

So what are you saying, David S?

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#17 Joey Moss
September 26 2009, 03:38PM
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@ Ogden Brother: the way i look at is those 2 players didnt help us at all in making a push last year, so why bank on them to do it this year?

id rather have the opportunity to acquire someone better during the season then get stuck with them from start to finish because some chump on ON decided that team success is directly related to how close teams are to the cap. get real.

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#18 Word
September 26 2009, 03:40PM
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@ Joey Moss:

But why can't we just shuffle later to make that cap space? If it's true that a guys is expendable, why not make him expendable when it's actually of value.

That's what I was trying to get at in #6.

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#19 ebi
September 26 2009, 03:43PM
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We seriously need to find a taker for Steve Staios. Or he needs to pull a Jason Smith.

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#20 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 03:46PM
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Joey Moss wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: the way i look at is those 2 players didnt help us at all in making a push last year, so why bank on them to do it this year? id rather have the opportunity to acquire someone better during the season then get stuck with them from start to finish because some chump on ON decided that team success is directly related to how close teams are to the cap. get real.

Your trying to blur to different conversations, if the talent evaluators feel the team has a better chance for success with cheap young player Y over expensive vetran player X, then fine. However if they feel expensive vet X is superior they should keep him regardless of the extra million on the cap.

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#21 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 03:46PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

Joey Moss wrote: @ Ogden Brother: the way i look at is those 2 players didnt help us at all in making a push last year, so why bank on them to do it this year? id rather have the opportunity to acquire someone better during the season then get stuck with them from start to finish because some chump on ON decided that team success is directly related to how close teams are to the cap. get real. Your trying to blur to different conversations, if the talent evaluators feel the team has a better chance for success with cheap young player Y over expensive vetran player X, then fine. However if they feel expensive vet X is superior they should keep him regardless of the extra million on the cap.

Wow that's a mess:

"You're trying to blur two different"

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#22 Joey Moss
September 26 2009, 03:47PM
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@ Word: you may have a point, but i am of the mind that these players should be cut not only based on salary but on their poor performance. send a message that this team isn't f-ing around and you better play well or you'll be in the AHL or on another squad.

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#23 Word
September 26 2009, 03:51PM
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@ Joey Moss:

Very possible.

And if that were the intention I would absolutely defer to the coaches/management who know the team dynamic and feel that it's necessary. There has been a pervasive non-effort for some years now, and if bringing in the Quinn Dynasty isn't enough to inject a revitalized attitude, then it could well be that shotgun style housecleaning is needed to send a message.

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#24 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 03:51PM
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Word wrote:

@ Joey Moss: But why can’t we just shuffle later to make that cap space? If it’s true that a guys is expendable, why not make him expendable when it’s actually of value. That’s what I was trying to get at in #6.

Money saved at the start of the season grows as the season progresses. Example - 1mil saved now is worth 2mil at mid-season.

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#25 Word
September 26 2009, 03:55PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Money saved at the start of the season grows as the season progresses. Example – 1mil saved now is worth 2mil at mid-season.

But the converse is true as well. Are you saying that it's worthwhile to ice an inferior squad for half a season and hope that the $4 million player(who is now only a $2 million player for rest of season):

a) becomes available; and b) will create enough wins in the latter 41 games to offset the losses from the former 41 games?

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#26 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 04:05PM
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Word wrote:

@ Joey Moss: Very possible. And if that were the intention I would absolutely defer to the coaches/management who know the team dynamic and feel that it’s necessary. There has been a pervasive non-effort for some years now, and if bringing in the Quinn Dynasty isn’t enough to inject a revitalized attitude, then it could well be that shotgun style housecleaning is needed to send a message.

Here's what I find interesting though, the guys everyone wants cut (Staios/Moreau/Pisani) are "lots of effort" guys... so it seems kind of wierd to cut them to send a message that "we need more effort.... dont you think?

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#27 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 04:05PM
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Word wrote:

Are you saying that it’s worthwhile to ice an inferior squad for half a season

No. I guess thats where I disagree with you. I don't think losing Nilsson makes you inferior.

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#28 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 04:07PM
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Word wrote:

will create enough wins in the latter 41 games to offset the losses from the former 41 games?

Do you really think losing Nilsson means more losses? I don't. Especially when he's likely slotted in as the 13th forward.

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#29 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 04:08PM
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Word wrote:

RossCreek wrote: Money saved at the start of the season grows as the season progresses. Example – 1mil saved now is worth 2mil at mid-season. But the converse is true as well. Are you saying that it’s worthwhile to ice an inferior squad for half a season and hope that the $4 million player(who is now only a $2 million player for rest of season): a) becomes available; and b) will create enough wins in the latter 41 games to offset the losses from the former 41 games?

Bingo....also, 95% of the trades are done within a week or so of TDD day meaning:

- That four million dollar player only needs 1 million in cap spce

- You've iced an inferior team for 60 games

- You're leaivng yourself 20 games to pick up the slack

- Also, lots of rentals don't fit in right away.

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#30 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 04:09PM
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RossCreek wrote:

Word wrote: Are you saying that it’s worthwhile to ice an inferior squad for half a season No. I guess thats where I disagree with you. I don’t think losing Nilsson makes you inferior.

Depends which Nilsson - 07/08 yes, 08/09 no.

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#31 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 04:10PM
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@ Ogden Brother: RossCreek wrote:

Do you really think losing Nilsson means more losses? I don’t. Especially when he’s likely slotted in as the 13th forward.

?? I'm not talkin Pisani/Moreau

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#32 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 04:11PM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: RossCreek wrote: Do you really think losing Nilsson means more losses? I don’t. Especially when he’s likely slotted in as the 13th forward. ?? I’m not talkin Pisani/Moreau

I know, everyone else is though.

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#33 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 04:17PM
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@ Ogden Brother: So then, would you agree with me in Nilsson's case - that the 1.4 mil in cap savings (for Stone) is of more value than Nilsson himself, given the benefits of now having room for a 4 mil player at the deadline?

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#34 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 04:27PM
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RossCreek wrote:

@ Ogden Brother: So then, would you agree with me in Nilsson’s case – that the 1.4 mil in cap savings (for Stone) is of more value than Nilsson himself, given the benefits of now having room for a 4 mil player at the deadline?

In theory ya, I don't really think we need Nilsson (though as mentioned their is still a decent risk that we could give a competitor a 20 goal/50 point sencond line playmaker). I don't think I'd lose him in order to make room for Stone though, I don't see Stone having a career much longer then 100 games in the NHL. If Nilsson was being waived to make room for JFJ (or for Eberle next year) with the added bonus of banking 1 milly or so in cap space.... then I'd be on board for that.

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#35 David S
September 26 2009, 05:10PM
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RossCreek wrote:

So what are you saying, David S?

OK. That didn't come off very well.

That was a thoroughly bad choice of words. I didn't mean to call Robin Brownlee an idiot. Obviously it came off that way and I apologize for that. On the contrary, I consider him to be the premier sports writer in town. So, sorry about that Robin.

Maybe its the amount of attention for second raters and bubble boys lately that's got me miffed. Pouliot, Stone, JF... holy crap - who cares?. To me, the team doesn't live or die on the next debate about the dubious abilities of guys like Pouliot or Schremp. What about Gagner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Souray and Visnovsky? The only decent player that's rated any press time here lately is Comrie. That's just bizarre.

What I'm trying to say is that I think we have a superior player in Nilsson who is facing his last chance to play in the NHL. With that sort of motivation and the tools he brings to the table, you'd think that his past year's record would be wiped.

Let the kid prove it or lose it. All I'm trying to figure out is why a player with so much obvious upside is being pushed aside for players that will never be anywhere near his level.

Bottom line for me is is that on a team with desperately few difference makers, why would you give up someone who could (in theory) fill that gaping hole? Seriously, if he put in 25 this year playing with Sam and Cogs we'd be farther ahead than winning a few more faceoffs and crunching a few more bodies on the boards. And he'd be well worth the $2 Million, given that the other guys who scored on that level get paid twice as much. If that's the case, Robert Nilsson makes this team better this year than Marc Pouliot.

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#36 RossCreek
September 26 2009, 05:33PM
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@ David S: I was just havin fun with you. I don't think Robin took it too seriously.

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#37 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 06:30PM
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David S wrote:

RossCreek wrote: So what are you saying, David S? OK. That didn’t come off very well. That was a thoroughly bad choice of words. I didn’t mean to call Robin Brownlee an idiot. Obviously it came off that way and I apologize for that. On the contrary, I consider him to be the premier sports writer in town. So, sorry about that Robin. Maybe its the amount of attention for second raters and bubble boys lately that’s got me miffed. Pouliot, Stone, JF… holy crap – who cares?. To me, the team doesn’t live or die on the next debate about the dubious abilities of guys like Pouliot or Schremp. What about Gagner, Horcoff, Hemsky, Souray and Visnovsky? The only decent player that’s rated any press time here lately is Comrie. That’s just bizarre. What I’m trying to say is that I think we have a superior player in Nilsson who is facing his last chance to play in the NHL. With that sort of motivation and the tools he brings to the table, you’d think that his past year’s record would be wiped. Let the kid prove it or lose it. All I’m trying to figure out is why a player with so much obvious upside is being pushed aside for players that will never be anywhere near his level. Bottom line for me is is that on a team with desperately few difference makers, why would you give up someone who could (in theory) fill that gaping hole? Seriously, if he put in 25 this year playing with Sam and Cogs we’d be farther ahead than winning a few more faceoffs and crunching a few more bodies on the boards. And he’d be well worth the $2 Million, given that the other guys who scored on that level get paid twice as much. If that’s the case, Robert Nilsson makes this team better this year than Marc Pouliot.

You actually make a compelling case for Nilsson. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

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#38 David S
September 26 2009, 06:57PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

You actually make a compelling case for Nilsson. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

Thanks. But at the end of the day Brownlee's experience and access gives him the edge. I wouldn't bet against him.

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#39 Fiveandagame
September 26 2009, 07:30PM
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@ David S: David S wrote:

Thanks. But at the end of the day Brownlee’s experience and access gives him the edge. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Why not? He'd be the first to say he's been wrong before (Comrie?) Sure give him the benefit of the doubt, but stranger things have happened.

I also think he likes an intelligent debate about opinions, and you offer one hell of a good argument.

Your argument for Nilsson is a good one.

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#40 Lofty
September 26 2009, 07:39PM
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Ogden Brother wrote:

And a colossal disapointment if it’s because we intentionally iced an inferior roster to save a couple million bucks for “maybes”.

Consider that Philly is looking hard at the Peter Forsberg again... i would like to leave as much room as possible to get some new talent

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#41 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 08:20PM
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David S wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: You actually make a compelling case for Nilsson. It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Thanks. But at the end of the day Brownlee’s experience and access gives him the edge. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Either would I, it's just a tough choice IMO.

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#42 Ogden Brother
September 26 2009, 08:20PM
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Lofty wrote:

Ogden Brother wrote: And a colossal disapointment if it’s because we intentionally iced an inferior roster to save a couple million bucks for “maybes”. Consider that Philly is looking hard at the Peter Forsberg again… i would like to leave as much room as possible to get some new talent

What?

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#43 jdrevenge
September 26 2009, 08:45PM
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@ Ogden Brother: LOL. Thats what I was thinking. Forsberg?

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#44 jdrevenge
September 26 2009, 08:50PM
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I think the Oilers would be making a big mistake if Nilsson wasn't given a chance to show he belongs in the tops six. I think the Comrie O'Sullivan line might suprise in the DZone and end up being a third line with whoever to play the LW/RW. If Penner or Pisani flank those two theres some defensive responsibility there. Leaving the kid line a chance to get something going again and Moreau ends up on the fourth line with whoever.,,,

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#45 Racki
September 26 2009, 10:42PM
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I've always felt like the lone supporter of Steve Staios, but I'll throw out an idea here... Staios is of course a 2.7M d-man. Just a couple of days ago, you were talking about Nashville and how they have supposedly been in talks with the Oil about a potential trade. They currently have 6 d-men signed, however they really have an experienced defence... one that probably makes ours look pretty veteran. They just signed Bouillon not long ago, so I think the Oil dropped the ball on that opportunity. But I wouldn't really say he brings that strong of a defensive game either. Perhaps they still could use a vet d-man?? Do you think there is potential here?

Even if the Oilers don't make a trade like that, they still will be able to fit everyone under the cap, but as you pointed out.. that makes things pretty tight. I'm thinking that they should jump on any opportunity to move one (or more) of: Moreau, Pisani, Staios, Nilsson, Pouliot.

I would also suggest that they move Staios in that deal, and look for a more reliable hard-nosed, stay-at-home d-man. They need another dirty son-of-a-bitch on the blueline.

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#46 Racki
September 26 2009, 10:43PM
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sorry that should say that nashville has an "inexperienced" defence (aside from the phenom, Weber).

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#47 GraveDigger
September 26 2009, 10:59PM
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@ David S:

LMFAO.... Proven sniper?? are you serious?? If you looking for an idiot just look in the mirror

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#48 Benhur
September 27 2009, 01:43AM
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Nilsson over Pouliot any day. Nilsson has shown he has more talent than Poo over the last two years. Poo has had his chances and has failed to impress and guess what he has size!!!!

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#49 David S
September 27 2009, 03:23AM
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GraveDigger wrote:

@ David S: LMFAO…. Proven sniper?? are you serious?? If you looking for an idiot just look in the mirror

Dude. Check Nilsson's goal the other night. That has "sniper" written all over it. No way you'll see Pouliot pulling that off.

As far as "idiot" goes, read the thread. I recanted it.

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#50 Darth Oiler
September 27 2009, 07:23AM
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I think Staios needs to get cut Peckham is just as affective on the blue line and for a fraction of the money Pisini needs to go as well he is a UFA at seasons end and i think Stone is just as good or better, also i would keep schremp ahead of nilsson

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