July 22 2014 07:00AM
Rumours and reports
Am told Oilers had interest in Ribiero on short deal, as did Rangers. No state tax in Nashville helps.— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) July 15, 2014
Edmonton landed two of its top targets in free agency -- Mark Fayne and Benoit Pouliot. (Someone was willing to go a sixth year on Pouliot, so the Oilers went to five to get him.) They also took a run at Olli Jokinen, who took slightly less in salary elsewhere (but in a tax-free state). They're going to look for a centre, because they don't want to rush Leon Draisaitl for no reason.
State tax and short-term overpays
Both Friedman and Rishaug mentioned that Tennessee’s favourable tax situation gave the Predators an edge in their pursuit of Jokinen and Ribeiro. It’s worth remembering that edge Nashville gets over Alberta is awfully small, as both Edmonton and Calgary have fairly good tax situations for professional athletes:
Here’s the other thing: Friedman specifically mentions the Oilers going to five years on Pouliot to get a deal done. Both Jokinen and Ribeiro signed one-year deals – Jokinen for $2.5 million, Ribeiro for just a hair over $1.0 million.
The Oilers aren’t in a bad cap situation, so what’s the problem with going to, say, $2.75 million for Jokinen on a one-season contract? Why not hand Ribeiro $1.25 million?
I’ll admit that Jokinen isn’t a player I’d have had much interest in if I were running the Oilers, but if he’s the player the team targeted there really isn’t any reason not to cough up the tiny bit of extra money necessary to secure his services. As for Ribeiro, the off-ice stuff is a little scary but this is a guy who was valued at $5.5 million per year on a long-term deal not all that long ago; even $1.5 million would be an incredibly low stakes bet with a significant chance of a big payout.
Nashville has a slightly better tax situation than Edmonton. That doesn’t mean the Oilers should have lost out on a centre they legitimately wanted.