Fans are becoming more and more interested in the inner workings of the CBA, specifically the salary cap. I know not everyone loves it, but Scott Howson came on my show before the season started for some CBA 101.

Here is the conversation. If you have any other questions you’d like answered email them to me gregor@tsn1260.ca and I will try to get you the answer. 

Jason Gregor: October 1st is officially day one of the salary cap, and does it work on a day to day basis Scott? 

Scott Howson: It does work on a day to day basis. It starts Tuesday October 1st.

 The league will have all of the information, they’ll make sure that everyone is compliant with the salary cap because there is no grey area, you can’t be over the salary cap based on how they calculate it. If your roster is offside, then they are going to talk to you. So everyone will be under the 64.3 number starting today with some exceptions, like long term injury and what not. 

Gregor:Do you have to be compliant to the $64.3 million every day or how does that work? 

Howson: Yes, they watch every move and they are calculating it on a daily basis. It can get really complicated with long term injury, with performance bonus and what not. The Oilers, we are in a really unique position because no one had the number one over all picks that carry the heavy performance bonuses that we have. This year we have [Nail] Yakupov, [Ryan] Nugent-Hopkins, [Justin] Schultz, who is like a number one pick, with these heavy performance bonuses. So we are in a really unique position. They [the NHL] have someone watching the rosters every day, and if you make a move that is going to take you over the cap, then they are not going to allow it. 

Gregor: There is now a performance bonus cushion; can you explain how it works? 

Howson: Well they give you a cushion and it’s 7.5% of the cap, so it’s almost, not quite $5 million. So the Oilers, because we have almost $9 million in potential performance bonuses, they would give us a cushion of $5 million to go over the cap. The problem with that is that if you do in fact go over the cap and all of these players hit their bonuses, then you get punished next year. That amount that you exceed the $64.3 million will come off of your cap next year. It’s something that we are cognisant of and we are monitoring on a daily basis. 

Gregor: Let’s say you went over, by one million, and next year’s cap was $70 million, you guys technically would only be able to spend $69 million because of the $1 million penalty from this season? 

Howson: That’s right, and that’s exactly what happened to Chicago. And it’s happened to some teams, not to that extent. I think that Chicago has been the team that has been punished the most; of course they won the cup the year before. But it happened to Chicago and it could happen to anyone. If you go over the cap, you’re going to get punished next year.

Gregor: So you said you won’t have anyone on LTIR (Long term injury reserve). What’s the benefit of putting a player on LTIR and how does it count against you cap wise? 

Howson: Well it’s a complicated procedure, but the benefit is that if we were at the cap, which we are not, we are going to start $1.2 or $1.3 million under the cap, if the roster stays as it is, as I expect it will, but if you are at the cap and we put Sam Gagner on then we would get his salary relief for as long as he was on LTI. So you could bring in another player and if you think about it, it makes sense. If you have a player that’s out long term you should be able to replace him even if you are at the cap. So you could use the money that you would save where you would otherwise pay Sam in cap dollars and bring in another player. 

It’s a complicated procedure, it’s a very strategic procedure that you could pick, but because we are not at the cap yet, we don’t need to do it. If we have another run of injuries and we have to start recalling players and we get close to the cap, then it’s something that we can do retroactively and it’s something that we can consider at that point but hopefully we don’t have to go there.

 Gregor: Today (Monday) you had 21 healthy players on the ice, Denis Grebeshkov was skating afterwards. Do you expect to have 21 healthy guys on the roster, and the rest of the players on IR to start the season? How does that work?

Howson: You have to declare it. We’ll start with 22 active players, Grebeshkov will not be on IR. We could put him on if we wanted to but we don’t need to because we are well under the 23 man limit. We’ll start with Nugent-Hopkins, [Corey] Potter, Gagner, and [Steve] MacIntyre on either injured reserve or injured non roster which is another technicality which just means that they didn’t pass their physical in training camp or they were a minor league player basically last year and they got hurt during camp which is what happened to Steve MacIntyre. But for all intents and purposes we will have 4 players on the injured list tomorrow and 22 active players. 


Gregor: Did Corey Potter fail his medical and if he is put on the unable to perform IR, does it count differently against the cap at all? 

Howson: No, I thought he had failed his physical too, but he did not, he passed his physical but even if he had failed his money would count, he was an NHL player all of last year even though he was on injured reserve.  

Gregor: Has the new CBA made it more difficult with the changes to the LTIR and the bonus structure for the players, or has it made it easier from your vantage point? 

Howson: No it really hasn’t affected too much. The biggest change now that you have, I think, which doesn’t factor into Ricky Olczyk’s or my job much, but now you can’t bury players in the minors. So in the old system once Wade Reddon was down, he was never going to be called up again because someone would take him for half of the money and half of his contract would stay on the Rangers cap for the length of the contract. So he was sitting there in year three of his six year deal or whatever it was, he was never going to get called back up.  

They’ve gotten  rid of that re-entry waivers now so a player like Philip Larsen who has been assigned to Oklahoma City he’s on a one-way deal, so now that he’s cleared waivers, he can come back now without re-entry waivers.

The new system now dictates that the first $925,000 from any deal is exempt from being counted on the cap and the rest of it counts. In the case of Philip Larsen who makes $1,025,000, we count $100, 000 of his salary against the cap. Ryan Jones is down in OKC, he makes $1.5 million, and we count $575, 000 of his $1.5 million on the cap. So we’ve got $625,000 from players not here counting against the cap. 

Gregor: The CBA is spread out over 187 days. Do you and Rick Olczyk sit down on a daily basis and calculate this, do you guys just have a formula that spits it out to you guys every morning that says you have this much in cap space? 

Howson: We’re calculating it daily, we do have someone that sends us a daily update of where we stand but we are doing it ourselves too. Ricky is doing it every day, probably every minute. Every time that there is a call-up he is looking at it and making sure that we’re OK because you really have to plan for the future here. You can’t put yourself into a box where you’re not going to be able to make moves, or at least you try not to. Sometimes as we’ve seen in the past some teams have had to ice rosters that were under the 20 player limit because they couldn’t bring anybody up.  

So you never want to get there but sometimes you run into the string of injuries, and we’ve run into them here in pre-season, and we’re hoping that they’re going to stop, but sometimes you can’t control that. 

Gregor: If you were to run into anymore serious injuries, would you look for relief on the LTIR? 

Howson: Probably, yes. 


Gregor: What was your scouting report on Luke Gadzic?  

Howson: He’s a young emerging player, he’s put in his time; he spent 3 years in the Dallas system. He’s big, he’s 6’3, 6’4”, he’s well over 200lbs, we think that he moves well enough to play at the NHL level and I think that that is probably the biggest question mark on him.  

But our scouting staff and particularity our AHL staff with Todd Nelson, Rocky Thompson, Bill Scott, Gerry Fleming were very strong on him, they’ve played him a lot because they play Texas a lot which is the Dallas Star’s farm team. We were going over all of the names all summer and in sitting down and talking to them they said that we should really take a look at Luke and we did. We did during the pre-season, we looked at some film on him, and we decided that this is a player that we had some interest in him. When he went on [waivers] we of course made the claim.

Gregor: You’ve been covering the league for a long time, analyzing players, scouting them, how do you feel that Taylor Hall has done with the transition to centre?  

Howson: I’m really optimistic and pleased with what he’s done. I was one of the more sceptical ones during the summer. I’ve seen too many players try to do this, and it’s a really, really difficult transition. I think that he’s made it very, very well and I’m sure that there are still some bumps in the road here but especially with Sam going down and out our 2 top centres, I don’t know where we’d be if he hadn’t done this so well and he’s really picked up on what he needs to do and I think that the transition has been better than I had expected and certainly than what could have been expected.


  • Ryan Nugent-Hopkins took part in contact drills today, and it looks very likely that he could return next Thursday vs. the Habs. There is a slim chance we’ll see him sooner, but unless he suffers a setback, I think we will see him no later than next Thursday. His return will be a huge boost for the Oilers.
  • When RNH returns, Eakins as two options: slot him in for Marc Arcobello, or keep move Hall to the wing and slide Ryan Smyth down to the 4th line. Strength down the middle is more important for me, so I’d move him in for Arcobello.
  • Henrik Sedin will play his 630th consecutive game tonight, tying him for 6th all-time with Andy Hebenton. Contrast that to the Oilers, they don’t have one player who played all 130 games the past two seasons in Edmonton. (N.Schultz did play 130, but the first 62 were with Minnesota). Having your best player in the lineup every game is a huge advantage, and if the Oilers could ever dress RNH or Hall every game we’d have a much better idea of how good this team might be.
  • Jay Bouwmeester is the active leader in consecutive games played, 637, which puts him 5th all-time. He plays over 25 minutes a night. That is incredible. The Oilers would be ecstatic if they could find a guy who is an automatic in their top defence pairing.

    1. Doug Jarvis…964
    2. Garry Unger…914
    3. Steve Larmer…884
    4. Craig Ramsey.. 776
    5. Bouwmeester… 637

  • Patrick Roy is emotional and his players will like playing for him, but he needs to stop yelling at opposing players. Coaches coach, they don’t play and he’ll need to learn that. Nothing worse than a coach yelling at the other team. 


  • BRHLBryce

    These are the lines I would like to see when Nuge returns-

    Hall Nuge Yakupov
    Perron Arco Eberle
    Joennsu Gordon Hemsky
    Smyth Acton Gazdic

    The reason I would put Hemsky on the third line is because I believe, at this point, that he is more capable than Yakupov of creating offense with lesser line mates. This gives you three solid lines. And I think I would rather have Arco in the top 9 over Smyth. But that’s just me.

  • BRHLBryce

    Actually Gregor, Perry had been beaking Roy’s way most of the night. He’d broken 2-3 sticks throwing tantrums during the game, and seemed to hurt his hand once when Landeskog hit him.

    From where I was sitting it sure looked like he started the beaking when Bordeleau etc. came over the board for the final faceoff….which happened AFTER the Ducks sent their 4th line out.

    I know the media loves to blow things up, but Perry & the Ducks instigated the whole thing, and then add in the knee on MacKinnon, and it’s no doubt Roy was fired up.

    That was the loudest the Pepsi Center has been in 3 years since I moved down here.

    • Jason Gregor

      Please stop with the “blowing things out of proportion.” He was chirping players throughout the game and did it in the preseason.

      Show me where I referenced the end of the game.I wasn’t talking about the end of the game. If he wants to rip into the opposing coach, great, but coaches should not be chirping opposing players during the game, which he was doing and did in preseason. He did it in junior as well.

      It’s bush league and chicken s*&t cause he never has to face them.

      • Spydyr

        Sure looked like he was willing last night. Roy always loved a good challenge. I loved the way he looked at the Ducks players when he broke the partition. ” Don’t mess around ladies. You gotta own this. “

      • pssh, when the puck hits the ice, there’s so much “bush league” going on in the NHL. Brother’s in solidarity when they’re fighting for their millions, then head hunting and cheap shots as soon as the t’s are crossed, and the i’s are dotted. stuff like that puts butts in the seats and keeps everyone happy. including me, go roy!

  • Ducey

    Once Nuge returns they should keep Arcobello and move Hall back the the wing. Keeping Arcobello means Smyth can move back down to the 4th line.

    They could go:

    Perron – Nuge – Ebs

    Hall – Arcobello – Hemsky

    Yak – Gordon – Joensuu

    Gazdic – Acton – Smyth

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    “Gregor: Did Corey Potter fail his medical and if he is put on the unable to perform IR, does it count differently against the cap at all?

    Howson: No, I thought he had failed his physical too, but he did not, he passed his physical but even if he had failed his money would count, he was an NHL player all of last year even though he was on injured reserve.”

    I hadn’t heard this. It is interesting to hear the assistant GM think one of his players failed a physical when the player did not. Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

    Just curious though, I can’t recall if he was injured before or during camp. Does anyone remember? I’m just wondering if it would be normal for an injured player to take a physical (obviously if he wasn’t injured at the time, the question is moot)?

    Speaking of Potter does anyone know if there is a timetable for his return and what the team’s plans for him are?

    “We were going over all of the names all summer and in sitting down and talking to them they said that we should really take a look at Luke and we did.”

    That’s pretty interesting too! I wonder if they considered spending a pick or something on him. At any rate, it’s too bad he didn’t become available before Smac. No need for both of them (injured or not).

    When RNH returns, Eakins as two options: slot him in for Marc Arcobello, or keep move Hall to the wing and slide Ryan Smyth down to the 4th line. Strength down the middle is more important for me, so I’d move him in for Arcobello.

    Regardless of where Hall plays, I’d rather have Arco on the nightly roster than both of Brown and Gazdic. I think you keep Arco up regardless as the 13th F.

    Also, they might want to give RNH some soft minutes for his first few games.

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    I’d like to see

    Perron. Nuge Ebbs

    Joensuu. Hall. Yak

    Smyth. Gordon Hemsky

    Brown Acton. Gazdic

    Perron and Joeensu are interchangeable if Nuge and Ebbs need more size/grit on their line.

    Arcobello steps in if there’s an injury.

    *i know that Eakins wants three scoring lines ….but he should wait until Gagner’s back to implement that idea

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I am pumped to hear that the Nuge is close to returning. I see Arco as the likely guy to get bumped out of the lineup. I still want to see if Hall can make this centre thing work long time.

  • Mantastic

    i like having Hall move back to wing while Arco stays, when RNH comes back. i know Arco’s not the greatest C but i really don’t like Smyth on the top line at all. i’m fine with him on the #1 PP just not on even strenght 5v5.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis


        As Eakins mentioned 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. don’t matter as much if you are trying to balance scoring across 3 lines (i.e., inverting the “top 6”)

        if your pairs are




        which, I think, is reasonable and may be in line with Eakins’ thinking… the job is to find someone to play with each pair. But ultimately you aren’t married to the 3rd player in this situation.

        Omark, I think, is a better bet to play with Hall and Hemsky than Smyth. I’d seriously consider putting Joensuu there as well.

        Out of the players available to us at the dregs of the roster (Omark, Jones, Hamilton, Eager, Gazdic, Brown, Acton, Lander, etc.) I’d bet on Omark as being the most productive.

        *those the projected pairs once Gagner returns. My lines above are for the intervening period after RNH returns but before Gagner.

  • Craig1981

    Just thinking about the line ups when Nuge comes back is like a ray of morning light creeps in between the blinds……. with Hall moves back to his natural position…. Then a month or so later, Wow!! Gagner fills the other center position…. provided no one else goes on the IR in the mean time, God forbid, I think we’ll have something that resembles a playoff bound team!!!!

  • Retsinnab5

    Boumeaster and sedin are also in contention for the longest consecutive streak of games played without delivering a bodycheck that was noticed by the player hit. (Mats sundin holds the record).

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate


    • Dan 1919

      I agree Hall has to go back to LW, there isn’t enough depth there without him.

      Pre-season and one game in Joensuu has been an AWESOME third liner and that is how he should be used, if they strap him on the 2nd/1st line with high minutes like some are suggesting, I think he may loose some of his flare, ultimately the Oilers would not be using a talent correctly.

      I liked Hemsky and Hall’s chemistry, I would keep them together and give Yak a bit more time with Joensuu. Joensuu seemed to be able to surprise Yak a few times by getting him the puck, they may be able to develop something.

      • Hair bag

        You are right Joensuu has been an awesome third liner BUT you’ll never know if he can be more and play on one of the top two lines unless you try it. I think he deserves a shot on one of the top two – you can always move him back to the third line if it doesn’t work after a few games…

  • Craig1981

    thank you, finally the real reason that none of our 1st overalls won the Calder. Throttled playing time and opportunities a part of the culture?

    “The problem with that is that if you do in fact go over the cap and all of these players hit their bonuses, then you get punished next year”

  • I don’t think Roy can control himself period. His ‘look at me ‘ antics have only judst begun. His candle will burn brightly for a time and then it will get old real fast, in my opinion. He frankly acts half nuts and it appears to have family history behind it.

  • You’ll never get an honest answer from Oilers staff about how Hall is doing at C. But after I saw him literally revert back to being a winger halfway through the last game game I’m fairly positive he won’t be a C one minute longer than he has to.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    That competitive attitude we seen from Patrick Roy last evening is probably what put him in the hall of fame as a goaltender. To every player seated on that Avalanche bench witnessing Roys display. They’re thinking there’s our competitive coach going to bat for us players not willing to give an inch. There is no substitute for competitiveness. Eakins is desperately trying to do the same thing here. Maybe he should go off the deep end and show his players how competitive he can be.

    It matters little how the MSM media interprets Patrick Roy actions last evening. All his players last night fully support his public display. Who better to display this than their mentor/coach.

    Bob Stauffers opinion was laughable. Just reinforces how far removed from that competitive environment he is and has never been close to. Bob only embarrassed himself today by branding Roy a fool. Earning his players respect is far better than demanding it.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Sorry. Could not disagree more. Biggest a-hole in the league, now that Avery is gone. This is the same guy who trash talked a 17 year old goalie who idolized him during the Memorial Cup. This is the guy who sent his kid over to kick the crap of a much smaller goalie during a Q game. This is the same guy who trotted out the “Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears” gem that is the hockey equivalent of Costanza’s jerk store “zinger” on Seinfeld.

      You call it competitive. I call it narcissistic and idiotic. Potato / potatoe.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        I’ve never been a Roy fan either, but the guy has earned the right to give coaching a shot if he wants to. He’s done his time, and there was more than one team willing to clean house and let him take control.

        Not sure if we’ve ever witnessed an NHL coach get suspended for getting involved in a physical altercation, but it is only a matter of time before Patrick throws down with another player/coach. For all we know this may occur within his own dressing room.

        No news is bad news for this league. Passion is something that’s certainly missing most of the 82 game pre-season. Let Patty bring it, he’s more than earned this right. Let the media types all get on their soapboxes and do what they do best (tear a strip off someone). They should be sending him a thank you card. Just the thought of Gregor or Stauffer having superior wisdom to offer Patrick Roy is laughable.

        • The Soup Fascist

          Unofficial coaching protocol is you don’t get into it with players from the other team. Viewed as chicken crap because there is no accountability. Players from Roy’s own team may be publicly supporting him but trust me, they are cringing as Roy chirps the other teams players. Coach vs coach. No problem. Player vs player – happens all the time. Roy telling Perry to STFU. Verboten.

          Roy believes the rules – written or otherwise – don’t apply to him. The guy could stop pucks, no question. But that does not make him a good person. Here is hoping he beaks the “wrong guy”. Sorry Q. I may have blinders on but you will never convince me his anything but a narcissistic jerk, who happened to be good at stopping pucks, who is always playing the ” look at me” game.

          • Quicksilver ballet

            I can respect that Soupy.

            Rules/protocol are like door locks though, they only keep honest people out of your home. The NHL was built on the many players/coaches crossing that line.

            Patrick is just setting some ground rules. Chicken ship moves like Lovejoy tried to pull won’t be tolerated by the Avalanche. I find it refreshing Patrick is raising the bar in this regard. There’s still plenty O competitor left in ole Patty Roy. Good on him. I hope we see a similar passion out of Eakins at times this year as well.

  • TayLordBalls

    Then explain why the vast majority of greatest coaches in history, in all sports, don’t lose their cool like Roy did.

    If he continues this behaviour, he will become the Bobby Knight of hockey, regardless of whatever success his team has.

  • oilerjed

    I really like the idea of Nuge feeding Yak all year and Eberle and Hall together.

    Hall Acro/Gags Eberle
    Jonesu Nuge Yak
    Perron Gordon Hemsky
    Smyth Acton/Acro Gadzig/Brown

  • TayLordBalls


    quickly loosing faith in the Oil!

    I am at a loss why a rookie coach is allowed to take the #9 scoring leader in the entire NHL and try him at center (as his own personal experiment).

    Its poor asset management at its best.

  • #ThereGoesTheOilers

    Three thoughts on the aforementioned:

    1. Yay Nuge!

    2. Omark on your top line? Give it a rest already.

    3. Perhaps Roy missed his calling as a colour commentator for HNIC. Too bad they already have their resident tantrum goalie all locked up.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Roy is a Champion, multi connsmythe and Vezina trophies with multi teams. I think he knows a thing, or two about winning.

    *Klowe is smiling somewhere.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    In his first NHL game he pulls this circus sh*t?!? Really?

    Is that the first time someone was run when getting blown out? Hells no. The very fact that he is chirping other players shows you his intelligence level. It’s not like he’s some tough SOB either. Mike Vernon at half his size beat him up.

    The fat f*ck wore a parachute for a jersey and had pads that took up half the net. He looked like a lacrosse goalie on ice. Then when he got lit-up by Detroit in Montreal he whined his way out of town to join the Colorado All-Star team.

    The guy was an average goalie on wicked teams. He stole Joe Sakic’s Conn Smythe award and was an egotistical pr*ck his whole career, and in one regular season game he shows that he still is. I would love to have Filthy Bruce Boudreau unleash some overhand rights to that arrogant assh*le’s head. Unprofessional and a joke. Still.