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?
- 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.
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:
- 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?