WWYDW: Buyouts


The Oilers have a few different players who could theoretically be bought out this summer. In Craig MacTavish’s shoes, which ones would you rid the team of?

The Candidates


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  • Nikita Nikitin, one year at $4.5 million. Nikitin clearly struggled with injury early in the year, so the question is whether he’s going to be better next season and if he’s worth the money even if he does recover. It’s a fairly easy buyout; Nikitin’s single year at $4.5 million would instantly transform into two years at $1.5 million.
  • Teddy Purcell, one year at $4.5 million. Another popular candidate, Purcell has 24 points in 58 games. The math on him is exactly the same as it was on Nikitin, so I’ll settle for pointing out that he was a minus-one player over his NHL career and is minus-25 this season. The next time someone points out Nail Yakupov’s plus/minus, that’s a good thing to remember – players who are even elsewhere can be contenders for the green jacket in Edmonton.
  • Andrew Ference, two years at $3.25 million. This one’s a little more complicated, because Ference’s salary in 2015-16 is $3.75 million and then falls to $3.25 million in 2016-17, for a total of $7.0 million in salary and $6.5 million in cap hit. The math is a little complex, but if I’m doing it correctly the cap hit to the Oilers for a buyout would be $0.67 million in 2015-16 and then $1.17 million in each of the three seasons following that.

The Decision


In each case, the Year 1 decision is pretty easy; the Oilers would need to decide if they could replace Nikita Nikitin and Teddy Purcell with a superior player at $3.0 million per spot and Andrew Ference with $2.58 million.

The second question to ask in each case is whether it’s worth adding an extra year at $1.5 million (in the case of Nikitin and Purcell) or an extra three years at $1.17 million (in the case of Ference) to do so.

If the Oilers opted for all three buyouts, the year-by-year impact would be as follows:

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  • Savings of $8.58 million in 2015-16.
  • Extra cost of $0.92 million in 2016-17.
  • Extra cost of $1.17 million in 2017-18.
  • Extra cost of $1.17 million in 2018-19.

Should the Oilers pull the trigger on one, two, three or zero buyouts?


  • nuge2drai

    I’d buy out ALL 3 of them!
    and MacT. Buy them all out and send them to another team that is desperately in need of sucking for a decade.

    They are the ones that got this team into this mess. They are the ones that signed all these crappy contracts. So what does it matter if they buy out the 3 players mentioned?? They are only gonna be replaced with more poor choices from these bumbling idiots.

  • toprightcorner

    My fear is if they buy out Nikitin or Ference that may force or encourage them to keep Nurse in the NHL where he would benefit from a season in the AHL first. You definitely cannot buy out 2 defencemen. Only way one should be bought out is if they know they already added someone to take their place.

    also remember they have to replace Petry as well so with one buyout they would have to add 2 dmen just to break even. If they cant do that then don’t buy them out.

    Purcell is a guy that doesnt do much in my opinion, most of his points are second assists. Has no aggression, plays soft and registers a hit every 5-6 games. If you need salary to sign a guy, thats the first place I go, wingers are much easier to find then dmen.

  • OilLeak

    Buyout Nikitin- (Might recover next season if healthy, but even when healthy he’s a 3rd pairing guy)

    Trade Ference (Nick Schultz just got extended! Anything can happen. Even bad vets still have value around the league)

    Keep Purcell – Nice player with good possession numbers and some offense. You’re not going to replace him for less than 3 million

  • Rusty Patenaude

    I would say buy out Nikitin and live with the rest, except MacTavish might have been the only person connected with hockey on the planet who thought Nikitin at $4.5 million was money well spent. (I know Howson must have recommended him but I am assuming that even he would have said “What $4.5 mil, no I was talking $2.0 tops!”) My point is who will Bold Move MacTavish find to replace Nikitin? This afterall is the guy who decided to hire a head coach (fire a head coach) based on a really good feeling in an interview for a different job.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    Purcell for certain. Its a no brainer to buy him out. Softttttttttt.

    Ference is your 6-7 guy. But he has to give up that Captaincy imo. It has to pass on next season to either Hall or RNH or MH.

    NN is a tough descision and after listening to Gregors show today and hearing the pros and cons I lean toward buyout. The buyout though for e is based on what my coach decides.Whoever that is. L

    Lets say MacT has an epiphany and hires Ken Hitchcock after he is fired after yet another 1st round failure.Lets just say NN would not be high ob Hitch’s list of defenders he would have in his lineup night after night.Just saying that NN has not earned a single iota of cache with MacT with his “play” this season. He may get a mulligan as have a few other players have had since Nelson arrived. But what happens if next season NN is still below average?

    Jan Hejda’s name was mentioned as free agent. I would be comfortable with him at 2.0 million for 1 season. Even at 36. Solid defender and has some jam to his game.

  • Rusty Patenaude

    I think Purcell and Ference should be bought out. I’d rather see someone from OKC make the jump FT next year for Teddy’s spot and buying out Ference allows the team to put the C on Hall or RNH. Nikitin on the 3rd pairing next year is probably more suited to his skill set.

  • I would buy out Ference and Nikitin. Marincin can cover Ference’s spot and number six. Klefbom can cover Nikitin at number four. That would leave them some $5M to $6M to go hunting for a top pairing left defender and avoid the temptation to rush Nurse.

  • The Oilers are not in cap hell so why buyout anyone? having depth on the roster has its obvious benefits. Ideally Nikitin plays with Fayne in a third pairing next year and Ference becomes the 7th d-man. Purcell is a depth forward regardless of where he is penciled in.

    Lets face it unless the Oilers become a good team UFA’s do not want to come here they are usually looking for a contender and who can blame them. Overpaid will be the norm to get players to play in Edmonton.

    MacT needs to hang on to anyone he can until the core matures and that includes Roy and Klinkhammer.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    I would bury Nik in the miners and keep Teddy just so they don’t get that extra cap hit. I’m good with our captain but i would see if I can get something for him at the deadline this year.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I would KEEP Andrew Ference – the cap hit for 4? years! on him when the Oilers might be (read: BETTER BE) competitive would be much better spent then. In the short term I also feel Andrew Ference brings something to the Oilers’ defence it is lacking, toughness and accountabilty on the ice for the other team.
    He’s the only Oilers defender that can, and will fight at the drop of a hat when needed, that the other team still has to respect. We NEED guys like that! I know Darnell Nurse is like that, but who is going to show him WHEN/WHO/HOW to use his toughness in the NHL? Perfect guy in my mind is Ference, even though he could play number 5/6 only by that point. Now, it may be a different decision next off-season with him, when his cap hit is lower, and you would be saving substantial money one year to pay only a small amount the next.

    N.N. – get rid of! No brainer. If we can’t find someone better at the savings cost of Nikitin for 2 years we have bigger problems! Besides we should have Klefbom graduating to NHL regular, Marincin hopefully ready to assume his role having played a lot of hockey and a full season of experience in the NHL already. That only leaves Nurse as a fresh rookie – IF he makes the squad out of t.c. So I think we have the bodies. Therefore, even if there are no quality defenders (Petry would be great!) we can sign in the off-season, save it for cap room for the next season. So I think Nikitin’s role can be eaten next season by Marincin or Nurse, even without a free agent.

    Mr. Purcell, is a tough one. Do I think I can find a better winger? If Drew Stafford is out there I would reunite him with his father, Oilers’ trainer Barry Stafford, and I think he would be a good chance he may want to come here and fulfill a lifelong dream from growing up under the Oilers’ noses. He would be a very good fit, and play an improved physical and defensive game. If we DON’T find a better winger come offseason, I wouldn’t get rid of him arbitrarily. Come injuries he does have the ability to play up on our top 2 lines and produce some offence, and there is value in that, especially for just the one year!