Edmonton Oilers pass on buyout window

86-Nikitin-3

Tuesday was the last day to place players on unconditional waivers prior to a buyout, and the Oilers passed on the opportunity, meaning that the obvious candidates for severance will either have to be moved in some other manner or will be around next season.

And that’s just fine.

Edmonton has some middling contracts, some poorer contracts and some flat-out bad deals. They didn’t dump any of them, and there are some good reasons for that.

The first is that the team has plenty of cap space. With every roster spot filled the Oilers are looking at roughly $7.5 million in spending money:

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
Griffin Reinhart Eric Gryba
$925,000 $988,000
$2,500,000
$833,000 $1,250,000
Matt Hendricks Boyd
Gordon
Rob
Klinkhammer
Andrew
Ference
$1,850,000 $3,000,000
$725,000
$3,250,000
Luke Gazdic Tyler
Pitlick
Cam Talbot Ben
Scrivens
$800,000 $798,000 $1,450,000 $2,300,000   

So there was no pressing financial argument to buyout players. Given the choice between taking a bad cap hit for one year and taking a slightly less-bad cap hit for two years, there’s no question as to the correct approach. It makes sense to take the hit this coming season and be clear of it in the future.

The second is that some of the potential buyouts might have some value at the trade deadline. It’s a cinch that somebody will be willing to take on Teddy Purcell come February, particularly if the Oilers are willing to retain salary (and why wouldn’t they?). There’s at least some chance that Nikita Nikitin will be tradeable too; if we ignore contract there’s no reason he can’t be a No. 6 defenceman and as Chicago demonstrated this past year there’s value in having one of those guys around.

So there were good reasons not to go the buyout route. But that still leaves the Oilers with a crowded roster, particularly on defence, that was demonstrably not good enough last year.

There are ways around that.

21-Ference-6

The first, obviously, is trade. The Oilers were evidently in trade talks with the Los Angeles Kings about Mike Richards before the Richards’ contract was terminated, which suggests that Edmonton is willing to take on a bad deal under the right circumstances. Part of taking on a deal like that would probably be sending a shorter-term bad deal the other way, which might afford the opportunity to unload a contract.

Alternately, if Edmonton were to add a rearguard via trade rather than free agency, such a trade might include sending a defenceman the other way.

In the worst case scenario, there’s also the option of dumping somebody to the AHL, though it likely won’t come to that. Moving a player to the minors doesn’t bury his whole contract (in the case of a player like Nikitin, it would only be a fraction of the contract) but it does open up a roster spot and that’s the only real concern here.

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I’d take Richards but not Horcoff. I’d prefer to win the key draws.

    And yes Poile probably wouldn’t trade Seth Jones for Hall….but worth an ask

  • Cowbell_Feva

    Korpi can flat out wheel.

    Deal would make sense if it was saving cap going into tomorrow, but it only saves .5 mil.

    I think we got 3 years on a reasonable hit, but what is the point to trading Gordon. He is needed more then Korpi. So why make a sideways move for a player you don’t need, and creating a hole for a veteran center. Gordon was a Chia player to boot, heavy on his stick.

    Something else is brewing….

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    Whose bonehead brilliant idea was to waste Round 7 pick (208) on 20 year old Goalie Miroslav Svoboda ? We could have signed him for nothing and not bothered to use that pick on him . Complete wasted pick because of it .

  • mithaman

    Not buying out Nikita and French is a massive blunder.
    Do none of you remember how atrocious these men were last year
    It is another insult to the long suffering Oiler fan to have to see these two playing next year.
    flushing them now is a statement that this defence cannot get any more chamces.
    More and more Chiarelli looks as stupid as MacTavish. Holding on to defensive garbage and failing to fundamentally address the defence.
    Oilers fans can expect another season done before October is over.
    At this point given the loss of Hamilton and the non action on buy-outs, the only salvage of the season and maybe the entire MacDavid Era is to quickly trade Hall and/or Eberle for actual first pairing defense men. Focus on OEL.
    If Chiarelli doesn’t do this the season is doomed.
    We can all enjoy two washed up bums, a ringette player in Schultz and a collection of boots end defenseman fail night after night to perform, while forwards go on being wasted.
    Sad.

  • Not buying out Nikita and French is a massive blunder.
    Do none of you remember how atrocious these men were last year
    It is another insult to the long suffering Oiler fan to have to see these two playing next year.
    flushing them now is a statement that this defence cannot get any more chamces.
    More and more Chiarelli looks as stupid as MacTavish. Holding on to defensive garbage and failing to fundamentally address the defence.
    Oilers fans can expect another season done before October is over.
    At this point given the loss of Hamilton and the non action on buy-outs, the only salvage of the season and maybe the entire MacDavid Era is to quickly trade Hall and/or Eberle for actual first pairing defense men. Focus on OEL.
    If Chiarelli doesn’t do this the season is doomed.
    We can all enjoy two washed up bums, a ringette player in Schultz and a collection of boots end defenseman fail night after night to perform, while forwards go on being wasted.
    Sad.

  • Chet.

    Not buying out Nikita and French is a massive blunder.
    Do none of you remember how atrocious these men were last year
    It is another insult to the long suffering Oiler fan to have to see these two playing next year.
    flushing them now is a statement that this defence cannot get any more chamces.
    More and more Chiarelli looks as stupid as MacTavish. Holding on to defensive garbage and failing to fundamentally address the defence.
    Oilers fans can expect another season done before October is over.
    At this point given the loss of Hamilton and the non action on buy-outs, the only salvage of the season and maybe the entire MacDavid Era is to quickly trade Hall and/or Eberle for actual first pairing defense men. Focus on OEL.
    If Chiarelli doesn’t do this the season is doomed.
    We can all enjoy two washed up bums, a ringette player in Schultz and a collection of boots end defenseman fail night after night to perform, while forwards go on being wasted.
    Sad.