Eberle Signs – Oilers Surpass Contract Limit?

Eberle

Jordan Eberle signed an entry-level deal today, clearing the way for him to join Springfield for the remainder of the season. It’s a signing that may have some ramifications for players on the bubble.

The NHL imposes a 50-contract limit on NHL teams, meaning that any team can have no more than 50 players signed to contracts with an NHL component in any given year. The official website of the Nashville Predators did a very good breakdown of the rules governing rosters and contracts, and it’s well worth a read for anyone interested.

In any case, this issue has come up a couple of times with the Oilers; as an example, last summer Grant Potulny was allowed to leave for Europe because he wanted a contract with an NHL component and the team was too close to the 50-man limit.

As far as I can tell, this is the list of players currently under contract to the Oilers (much of the information courtesy of nhlscap.com). Contracts that expire this summer are in bold, and players are ranked by position and then NHL cap hit (the exception being Jordan Eberle, who signed for an undisclosed amount):

Forwards

Dustin Penner
Ales Hemsky
Shawn Horcoff
Patrick O’Sullivan
Fernando Pisani
Ales Kotalik
Ethan Moreau
Robert Nilsson
Sam Gagner
Gilbert Brule
Ryan O’Marra
Andrew Cogliano
Bryan Lerg
Marc Pouliot
Rob Schremp
Zack Stortini
Colin McDonald
Slava Trukhno
David Rohlfs
Ryan Potulny
Geoff Paukovich
Ryan Stone
Stephane Goulet
Steve MacIntyre
J-F Jacques
Liam Reddox
Tyler Spurgeon
Carl Corazzini
Kyle Brodziak
Tim Sestito
*Jordan Eberle

Total: 30

Defensemen

Lubomir Visnovsky
Sheldon Souray
Tom Gilbert
Steve Staios
Denis Grebeshkov
Taylor Chorney
Ladislav Smid
Cody Wild
Josef Hrabal
Jason Strudwick
Theo Peckham
Bryan Young
Jordan Bendfeld
Sebastien Bisaillon
Mathieu Roy

Total: 15

Goaltenders

Dwayne Roloson
Devan Dubnyk
Jeff Deslauriers
Bryan Pitton
Dany Sabourin

Total: 5

Total Players Under Contract: 51

The Oilers now have fifty-one players under contract, but because Jordan Eberle’s entry-level deal doesn’t kick in until next season, they have not surpassed the 50-man limit for this year. One would suspect that some of the deadwood is going to be cleared out of the system; David Rohlfs, Carl Corazzini and Stephane Goulet will certainly be let go while some of the other names in bold (McDonald, Roy, Young, Bisaillon, Sabourin in particular, but others as well) are on the edge.

The Oilers could stand to be a little more discriminating when they offer contracts; Bryan Pitton, who is signed for three more years has been eclipsed by the undrafted Andrew Perugini this season. Perugini was signed to an AHL-ECHL deal out of training camp because there was no room for him in the NHL system. Names like Tim Sestito and Geoff Paukovich stand out in a similar manner.

  • Hippy

    Jason Gregor wrote:

    Eberle is a RW not a center. He will play with Potulny and the left winger will either be Stone, Schremp or Willis. I spoke with Rob Daum 20 minutes ago. He is a RW boys, so I’m not sure you would expect him to play centre.

    As for his contract status. He signed a three-year entry level deal that kicks in next year if he makes the team.

    He is playing the remainder of this season on a “Futures” contract. It allows a player to play a maximum of 25 games. These types of contracts are common in the AHL and ECHL. They don’t count under the 50 team contracts. Rick Olczyk filled me in on the exacts a few moments ago.

    While the Oilers didn’t confirm this, I would suspect that Eberle’s agent wanted a three-year deal in place before his client played on the “futures” contract in the AHL.

    Thanks, Jason. I don't know why I was thinking Eberle would play centre; a real brain cramp on my part, but the lines you suggest make a ton of sense.

    As for the contract, that's more or less what I figured, and fits with what's been filtering out through the print media over the last couple of days.

    I appreciate the insights.

  • Hippy

    OilW30 wrote:

    Is Roy just done as far as an NHL career goes? It seemed like they expected him to make the jump a year or two ago.

    I think so. He fell down an elevator shaft this year; I don't know what happened but my best guess would be that his injuries have finally caught up with him.

    He's taken a lot of abuse for such a young player.

  • Hippy

    Jonathan Willis wrote:

    That said, I’d imagine that Eberle gets slotted on a soft-minutes line to start with, probably centering Schremp and either Trukhno or Willis. Based on how Daum has rolled his lines the last few games (the Springfield website has game recaps which show the combinations), I’d guess that Eberle will step into Ryan O’Marra’s spot in the lineup.

    Eberle is a RW not a center. He will play with Potulny and the left winger will either be Stone, Schremp or Willis. I spoke with Rob Daum 20 minutes ago. He is a RW boys, so I'm not sure you would expect him to play centre.

    As for his contract status. He signed a three-year entry level deal that kicks in next year if he makes the team.

    He is playing the remainder of this season on a "Futures" contract. It allows a player to play a maximum of 25 games. These types of contracts are common in the AHL and ECHL. They don't count under the 50 team contracts. Rick Olczyk filled me in on the exacts a few moments ago.

    While the Oilers didn't confirm this, I would suspect that Eberle's agent wanted a three-year deal in place before his client played on the "futures" contract in the AHL.

  • Hippy

    @ Chris:

    Honestly Chris I haven't kept as close an eye on them as I should have over the last month or two (normally I at least read every game report). Between them dropping out of contention and the activity here in Edmonton they've sort of dropped off my radar.

    That said, I'd imagine that Eberle gets slotted on a soft-minutes line to start with, probably centering Schremp and either Trukhno or Willis. Based on how Daum has rolled his lines the last few games (the Springfield website has game recaps which show the combinations), I'd guess that Eberle will step into Ryan O'Marra's spot in the lineup.

    Of course, Daum's lines rotate far more frequently than even MacTavish's, so that's by no means certain.

  • Hippy

    @ MJ:

    Please, feel free to "waste" board space whenever you like. The CBA and NHL rulebook are not terribly easy to navigate, and I'm a long ways from infallible.

    I do tend to think that your explanation is a better one than mine, on further review. Thanks for sharing it. Your one paragraph (His contract is not post-dated for July 1, 2009. He has a valid SPC with the Oilers today. We just know that it is impossible for him to earn an Accrued Season. I think his RFA years / status and the knowledge of this being pushed up a year because of the 40-game rule is not dependent on his placement within the 50 Contract rule.) helps clear things up, although since Eberle can't play in the NHL this year I still wonder if he'd fall on the 50-contract limit without the exemption to junior players (my educated but not completely reliable guess: no).

    Regardless, these are semantics, since he clearly doesn't count against the limit for this season.

  • Hippy

    He was still part of the 90 player active roster by being an unsigned draft pick.

    As far as the semantics go, I'm a bit confused as to which rule we should observe first here.

    Is he on the Reserve List because of the "this year/next year" paradigm explained by the Predators site (I cannot find this citation in the CBA but may be looking in the wrong places)

    or

    Does he continue to be on the reserve list because he was 18 and returned to Junior back in October?

    His contract is not post-dated for July 1, 2009. He has a valid SPC with the Oilers today. We just know that it is impossible for him to earn an Accrued Season. I think his RFA years / status and the knowledge of this being pushed up a year because of the 40-game rule is not dependent on his placement within the 50 Contract rule.

    But, I've wasted enough board space with my ideas this morning. Any further clarification is welcomed 🙂

  • Hippy

    Once we send him back to junior next season, he still won't be part of the 50 player limit either. He will be part of the 90 player Active Roster as an exemption by being 19 years old.

    If you have the PDF, just search for a phrase I pasted. It is word for word.

  • Hippy

    @ MJ:

    Although before Eberle signed his contract, my understanding was that he was still on the 90-player list by virtue of the Oilers owning his draft rights, yes?

  • Hippy

    @ MJ:

    From the Predators web site:

    The 50-contract limit has an interesting distinction in that the limit pertains to the season(s) for which a contract is valid. All NHL player contracts expire on June 30. The year varies from contract to contract, but the day remains the same (as we’ll discuss more when we look at player contracts in later editions of the feature). Knowing it has expiring contracts coming off its 50-contract maximum, a team can sign players to contracts for the following season. By doing so a team may have more than 50 different players signed to valid SPCs, as long as 50 or fewer are signed to valid SPCs for that current season AND fewer than 50 SPCs on tap for the upcoming season.

    In other words, since Eberle's contract doesn't kick in until next season, that explanation works equally well – especially since we can't guarantee that Eberle will be sent back to junior next year.

    Still, thanks for the insight – where is that paragraph, exactly?

  • Hippy

    Kinda missed an item — where's that edit function

    "A Club may have on its Reserve List, at any one time, not more than 90 Players"

    And when the question arises as it did over at OilFans, will this year count as a year of RFA?

    Answer: Absolutely not.

    This year doesn't count as an Accrued Season.

    "Accrued Season" means any League Year which a Player was on a Club's Active Roster for 40 (30 if the Player is a goalie) or more Regular Season Games.

    Active Roster shall include all Players on a Club's Reserve List who are signed to an approved and registered SPC.

  • Hippy

    We're over the limit, but the explanation is incorrect. There's nothing in the CBA about this year / next year with 50 contracts. 50 contracts is 50 contracts and has no time-frame as you imply.

    Straight from the good book:
    A) Not more than 50 Players signed to an SPC and not less than 24 Players and 3 goalkeepers under an SPC. Age 18 and age 19 Players who were returned to Juniors, and have not played 11 NHL games in one season, shall be exempt from inclusion to the 50 Player limit.