$71.4 Million

Peter Chiarelli3

It’s a busy time in NHL circles, with the league awards, entry draft and the opening of free agency all shoved together into the span of a week. On Tuesday we got an important piece of news that relates to teams’ summer planning: the salary cap for the 2015-16 season is expected to come in at $71.4 million. This makes it a good time to look at Edmonton’s salary situation.

We’ve talked at length about the Oilers’ cap space and what they might do to increase it, but it’s worth looking again because now we know what the actual number is going to be and we’ve seen Edmonton’s new general manager ignore the start of the league buyout period. Here’s the cap chart:

Left Wing Centre Right Wing L. Defence/Goal R. Defence/Goal
Taylor Hall R. Nugent-Hopkins Jordan Eberle Oscar Klefbom Justin Schultz
$6,000,000 $6,000,000 $6,000,000 $1,244,000 $3,675,000
Benoit Pouliot Connor McDavid Teddy Purcell Nikita Nikitin Mark Fayne
$4,000,000 $3,775,000 $4,500,000 $4,500,000 $3,625,000
Leon Draisaitl Anton Lander Nail Yakupov Darnell Nurse Andrew Ference
$925,000 $988,000 $2,500,000 $1,744,000 $3,250,000
Matt Hendricks Boyd Gordon Rob Klinkhammer Martin Marincin  
$1,850,000 $3,000,000 $725,000 $891,000  
Luke Gazdic   Tyler Pitlick Ben Scrivens
$800,000   $798,000 $2,300,000

Total salary cap commitment: $63.1 million

Cap space remaining: $8.3 million

I’ve made two changes to the chart since we last saw it. I’ve assumed that Leon Draisaitl will not make his bonuses this season, which seems like a reasonable bet. I’ve also opted to leave the No. 1 goalie slot open, since we know barely short of a certainty that Edmonton will add a new player there and bump Ben Scrivens into the backup position. As before, I’ve taken the luxury of penciling in RFA players at their qualifying offer levels (highlighted in red).

In order of importance, I’d imagine the Oilers’ summer wish list looks something like this:

  • A top-pairing defenceman
  • A No. 1 goaltender
  • A second-pairing defenceman
  • A middle-six forward

There isn’t enough money for all of those things, but it’s far from a given that Edmonton’s roster will remain static, either.

Eddie Lack2

Going with a cheap starter would help immensely. Cam Talbot and Eddie Lack come with a cap hit under $1.5 million, while Robin Lehner or any number of free agent options could probably be had for less than $2.5 million.

Going with one of those options would leave Edmonton with something in the $6.0-$8.0 million range to address the rest of the roster (keep in mind that adding a player at forward or defence necessitates dropping at least a small contract like Pitlick or Marincin from the books). That number increases if the Oilers send somebody out in trade; if we assume that the team moves somebody like Nail Yakupov or Justin Schultz in a deal there’s probably enough room to add two decent defencemen and a bargain-bin third-liner.

It probably doesn’t leave enough money to add luxury items – someone like Justin Williams or Carl Soderberg up front – but it’s enough money for Peter Chiarelli to make necessary upgrades in Year 1 of his tenure. If he continues to ignore the buyout route, Year 2 looks spectacular, with the Oilers clearing more than $14 million in cap space in just four contracts for supporting players (Teddy Purcell, Boyd Gordon, Nikita Nikitin and Ben Scrivens).

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • D

    All three (rnh, Eberle and hall, especially hall) contracts are starting to look like bargains..

    If Yakupov plays the way he did the last 30 games of last season then you can add him to that group as well.

    Now offer-sheet Hamilton to 7.8 per season already!

  • ubermiguel

    Everyone is talking about spending at the top end. I agree we need to spend on a couple of D men and a 1A / 1B G.

    Would there be takers for NN or T Purcell just to get to the floor number?
    NN might be a stretch but TP put up good possession numbers.

    Does PC hold his cards close to the chest, make all the draft picks and out wait the cap crunch teams as the tension mounts in September? For example Ottawa has three goalies under contract plus the wunderkind from college all trying get NHL ice time in October.

    Best Friday ever coming soon to the Oilers.

  • Spydyr

    If Gordon is not part of the team’s long-term future, and given he’s in the last year of his contract, trading him to a contender partway through the season seems like the thing to do. Since they’re trying to free up cap space for next season, getting back picks and prospects is the way to go. Y/N?

    #FreeGordon

    • ubermiguel

      At the deadline perhaps. But think about the ages of the centres were currently have under contact (and one we will grab on Friday): 24, 22, 19, 18. They need someone to teach them how to be NHL centres.

      • ubermiguel

        They are bringing some high-quality coaches, so maybe that’s enough help. But keeping him closer to the deadline does make sense too. Be fun to find out.

      • hagar

        I assume Baby Nuge can teach them. He has played over 250 games with ever increasing icetime. He is already a very good to excellent two-way centre on his way to being elite. He may not post huge offensive numbers, but I think most understand the importance of two way play – think Toews.

  • paul wodehouse

    …when one looks at the number 3,775,000 under the name Connor McDavid one can only imagine that a simple digit in front of the three as being the price of ONE Stanley Cup with his name on it…as of Friday the hockey world sees ONE new player…ONE new team…ONE new building…ONE new dynasty…just imagine and start to collect the memories people…

  • paul wodehouse

    …JW you’d think Soderberg would be a little trump card up Chiarellis’ sleeve…great competition for Landers 4th line centre position…to start with…IMO he’s a keeper that would be the career anchor for the bottom six…5 year contract to be sure

      • paul wodehouse

        …I understand but I DID say “to start with” meaning if Draisaitl doesn’t cut it Soderberg COULD be in line … as for top six money?

        Isn’t Mr Chiarelli Frugal ? Wise? and Prudent?

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Everything is falling nicely into place to take a run at Seabrook next summer. Should be interesting to see what else Peter can accomplished between now and then.

    He’s very aware of the minimum due to him this weekend. I think we could all be in for a surprise when he pulls a rabbit/something extra above and beyond that minimum as a bonus. PLIBP.

  • Jaxon

    I’d be shopping Hendricks, Gordon, Purcell, Nikitin & Schultz. Sign Blake Comeau for $1.25M for 3 years to replace Hendricks. Hope like hell that Slepyshev can move into 3L soon. Trade Gordon to an eastern contender that was weak on faceoffs like NYR, NYI or TBL (to NYI for Ryan Pulock?). Trade Schultz to WSH for Madison Bowey or to BOS. Trade Purcell to NJD, FLO, BUF teams in need of scoring and possibly contracts to get to cap floor (to BUF for 1 of Fasching, Baptiste, or Bailey?). Trade Hendricks to MIN for one of Tuch, Gilmour or Lucia. Trade Nikitin to BUF for Mark Pysyk, or to FLO for Alex Petrovic. Trade Gazdic & Ryan Hamilton to TOR to 6th & 7th round picks. Make the Talbot trade (2nd this draft and a 2nd in 2017 if he re-signs). Sign Hamilton to a huge offer sheet 7.5M x 5 or more. Sign Cody Franson to 5.5M x 5. Sign Ehrhoff to 3M x 2 (can you do a 1M bonus for 60+GP?).

    • crackerjack14

      I am amazed at how easy you must think it is to put deals together in the NHL. The deals you have suggested are similar to those put forward by Leaf fans for the past twenty five years.

      Recommend decaf coffee or a ginseng tea, these may help.

      • Jaxon

        I started the post with “I’d be shopping”… they’re ideas. I didn’t say any of them were easy. They’d be lucky to get 2 of them done. I’d like to see Edmonton get some money off the books just so they could take a run at Hamilton. If 1 or 2 of those works they can give him an offer sheet of 7.5M. Plus, most of the ideas I’ve put forth are NHLers on final years going to a team that may need help reaching the cap floor for a prospect in an area they have multiple similar prospects at the same position. Not sure any of them are that unrealistic. But it allowed you, HarryB & BigMcD to make very easy/lazy jokes about Xbox, meth and caffeine. Congrats & thanks for contributing to the conversation. How long have you had that joke teed up, ready to cut and paste into the comments?

  • crackerjack14

    Absolutely no buyouts. Ride out the year with Gordon, Purcell, Scrivens and NIkitin. Trade some of them at the deadline for picks and prepare for the 2016 UFA market which could include: Seabrook, Byfuglien, Lucic and Hamhuis, among others. In the meantime trade for one cheap goalie (Lack) and sign at least a #2 defenceman (Green or Martin) and someone like Soderberg.

    In a couple of years, the line up could be:

    Hall-McDavid-Yak

    Pouliot-Nuge-Eberle

    UFA-Draisaitl-UFA

    Soderberg-Lander-Pitlick

    Nurse-Byfuglien

    Klefbom-Green

    Martin-Fayne

    Lack-Brossoit

    Nice.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      I wonder that myself, I also thought an entry level contract was around 1 million, so why is McDavid showing over 3 million. Perhaps you can clarify Jonathan.

      • sportsjunkie007

        ELCs vary in value depending on how high a player is drafted. First overall’s end up getting league maximum, $925,000 plus bonuses which can bring it up to $3,775,000.

        Actual cap hit is calculated at the end of the season, but most teams assume players will hit most (if not all of) their bonuses.

        • ubermiguel

          Isn’t there a provision for ELC bonuses that if they result in the team exceeding the current year’s CAP then the overage is charged against the following year’s CAP ?
          If so, that would give the Oilers flexibility for 2015/16 and wouldn’t be so bad next year with $14 million coming off the payroll (more if the Schultz hit goes away).

  • Zarny

    @Oilll @Max

    Mr. Willis has accounted for the dollars required to qualify Schultz, Marincin and Pitlick and includes Nurse and Draisaitl. All 5 are currently excluded from the NHL Numbers tally.

    Base salary for rookies is $925K but with rookie bonuses the max is $3.775M and there is a good bet McDavid will hit all his bonuses. Mr. Willis has also accounted for this while NHL Numbers does not.

  • Randaman

    Nice chart Jonathon.

    I can’t them doing much.

    The ones you want to trade aren’t trade-able. Maybe Gordon can get moved.

    I can’t see them buying anyone out.

    Unless there is a blockbuster trade, I’m thinking free agents.

    Lots of bucks coming off next year.

    There are some pretty good contracts there right now. It’s be interesting to see how the team looks two years from now. A lot of changes coming.

  • ubermiguel

    Seabrook could be an Oiler yet ! Seabrook will cost Chicago a hefty sum to resign him , or he will go UFA at end of next season . making only 5m now that should go up over 8m . He is their only player that will need a hefty increase ,thus he is the logical one to trade . Therefore what would get him here ? Klefbom and perhaps pick #16 0r #33 I would say . I choose Klefbom as his contract expires the same year as Seabrook and will cost us maybe big dollars , where as Nurse will be cheap for another 3 years .

  • STR8 SHOOTER

    $63 million @ Cap., and in 28th place.Whats wrong with that picture?

    The bad contracts are Nitkitan, Ference, Purcel, even Gordon, and Schultz. Limited return on investment here.

  • hagar

    In my opinion the Oil need a big winger that’s experienced and still young so make an offer for ufa stewart. Put him on the right side on the 3rd line move Yak to the left side. Leon starts down in the minors as the top centre. As far as the d goes that’s where it really hurts coz nobody wants nikitin! at 4.5 mil so they just eat that for a year (BUM!) Try and land Green or Hamilton and grab one of those goalies out there for cheap like talbot or lenher. Next year got more cap room after nikitin,percell,gordon and scrivens are gone so they can do a bit more. So in my world next year starters…1st line-hall-nuge-ebs…2nd line pouliot-mcdavid-percell…3rd line yaks-lander-stewart…4th line hendricks-gordon- klinkhammer and on D klefbom-Green or hamiton…2nd ference-shultzie…3rd nurse-fayne. I’d even try to grab a big centre for the 3rd line like Shawn Mathias but probably don’t have the cap room. So who needs a GM out there! lol GO OIL GO

  • camdog

    8.3 in remaining cap minus Talbot/Lack at 1.5 = 6.8 maybe enough leftover to offer sheet Hamilton

    8.3 in remaining cap minus FA goalie signing @ 2.5 = 5.8 not enough to offer sheet Hamilton and likely anyone else worth offer sheeting

    and this would put us at the cap limit, not bad for a team that finish 28 last year.

  • Fireball

    This situation is very easy fellas. Call up Don Maloney in Glendale and tell what he already knows!!! He team is a god awful mess. But he has some pieces that would really help Edmonton. One in particular OEL

    Draisaitl, Schultz( I don’t like him anyway), the 16th and one of the second rounders, 2016 first and second round picks. Try and get him to take Purcell and Nikitin at 2/3 of their contract trade or buy out otherwise

    For OEL and Samuelsson.

    6 to 2 an over payment put that what takes to get a #1 d-man

    Give Pakarinen, Pitlick, Samuelsson and Davidson a chance to become NHL players.

    Leaving 12 mil in cap space and whatever picks left this year to get a goalie Talbot, Anderson or Lack or free agent route.

    Hell Dubnyk is a UFA in 7 days now that the old guard is gone I would go that route at 5 mil.

    Chris Stewart and Adam Mcquaid are good back plans if you fell the need to go that way

  • camdog

    Since we know the cap, I’m wondering how the rule changes to OT might impact free agency this year.

    Imagine an OT lineup of Hall, McDavid and Green followed by RNH, Eberle and Klefbom.

    Or maybe the rule changes help make Jultz more interesting.

  • camdog

    Chiarelli I know you’re reading this. Allow me to be of some help here brother:

    1. Offer sheet Dougie Hamilton

    2. Nikita Nikitin needs to go. Buyout the dude or trade him for scraps.

    3. Call up Glen Sather, tell him he could have our 33rd overall for Cam Talbot and we may send him osterole just so his fan base doesn’t think he got swindled.

    4. Call up Arizona and tell them well give them Yak City for 3rd overall. Then we draft Ryan Strome.

    5. Call up Mayor Iveson and start planning the 2016 Stanley Cup Parade either on whyte avenue or Jasper ave.

  • camdog

    Glad the confusion over the Oilers supposed extra cap space has finally ben clarified I know people have been in denial about this, but the Oilers dont have long term cap space available. In 3 years McDavid could be making 10 million per season, Klefbomb is getting ready for his 4 million per year deal and on and on. The Oilers could very easily in cap hell before they even make the playoffs.

  • hagar

    It sure gets tiring talking about what ifs for this long.. what a relief, we will have real life things to talk about in a couple of days.

    Let’s get this ball rolling, and get the season going to see how it all turns out asap in my books.

    • paul wodehouse

      I’m starting to hate the nice weather. Bring the snow, bring the -20 BRING THE HOCKEY SEASON!!! Can’t get into the Jays this year, Goodell’s NFL is dead to me, ‘Go ‘skimos’? BRING THE HOCKEY SEASON!!!

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Peter is set up for next year. An extra 14 million plus whatever the cap goes up by plus what we already have in cap space. He’s also not Mactarded which helps.

  • hagar

    Everybody hates Jultz and want him gone. Not me. I think Jultz stays-which will be unpopular. There are a number of others to fix before him (Nikitin or Ference).

    I believe he is extremely talented – too talented in that he does not put in the effort. He is young at 24 and not small at 6’2 and 200 lbs but I think all his hockey life he has depended on his talent and not physicality and grit. Now at the NHL level talent is not enough. I think Chia gives him one year under Todd M to get it going in the right direction. If Todd M can’t fix his issue – then move him. He is an RFA and overpaid at $3.675. Interesting conundrum for Chia.

  • paul wodehouse

    Whats with u guys and soderburg! If we grab a centre on free agent day it should a guy with size and some skill! and yes soderburg is that but Mattius at 6’4 220 would be cheaper and more what the Oil need down the middle for a couple years til leon matured. Yeah there’s plenty of guys i would move eg: Nikitin, Percell…just to name a couple but try moving those contracts with those price tags! They won’t get anything for Nikitin! (I’d take a bag of used pucks for that guy!) and who do you put in if Percell place if he’s traded coz u won’t get a replacement with his value or I should say lack of. Try and get a right handed top 4 D man like UFA Green or trade for Hamilton with a player(s)or picks and maybe trade for another top 6 six D man or potential top 6 with picks or prospects something! And I would be going hard for a tough big skilled centre and winger for the 3rd line like Chris Stewart and Shawn Mattius big and strong! I know the cap space and all that so I get it but we need guys with size and been in the league for a few years to support our stars