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.

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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.

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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.

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RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS


  • Puck JammeR!

    WOULD EVERYONE GET THEIR PANTIES OUT OF A BUNCH???

    Mike Green is available. Period.

    Why wouldn’t he want to come to Edmonton and play first pairing minutes and play on PP1?

    $5m x 4yr should do it with the promise of playing time.

    MIKE GREEN IS THE ANSWER!

    If the dude wants like $6.5m or 7.0m then we move on.

    I WONDER IF YAK CITY AND OUR 1st rounder next year would be enough to pry SHEA WEBER out of Nashville.

    • Chet.

      havent we all learned with Ference and Schultz? Just because they would be a first pairing defender in Edmonton does not make them a first pairing defender. Green is a 3rd pairing defender. has been for quite some time.

    • I’d love to be a fly on the wall for that phone call.

      • CHIARELLI: Hello, is this Mike Green’s agent? This is Peter Chiarelli.
      • AGENT: Yes it is, hello Mr. Chiarelli.
      • CHIARELLI: I’ve got a wicked deal for your client! We’ll pay him $5 million per year!
      • AGENT: You realize that’s a pay cut, right?
      • CHIARELLI: Yeah, but we’ll also give him term! Four years!
      • AGENT: You realize my client is 29 and everyone we talk to is offering a minimum of five seasons?
      • CHIARELLI: …
      • AGENT: Wait a minute. You don’t really sound like Peter Chiarelli.
      • CHIARELLI: …
      • AGENT: Is this Josh again?
      • (sound of phone hanging up, followed by dial tone)
    • fran huckzky

      I am getting tired of the no brainers with nothing more to add than fire Lowe or fire McTavish. It takes a lot of insight to make those deep thoughtful ccomments

  • O.C.

    Look here people,

    At some point in every GM career, you’re going to have to overpay for talent. I know it hard for a lot of you novices to understand that, but that’s just the way it is.

    You guys think just like you do when you’re trading or signing players of PS3 NHL game.

    It doesn’t work that way in real life. Every single winning team has Overpayed at some point… PERIOD!

    LAWS OF : supply and demand

    Do we want a puck moving, minute munching top pairing defensemen??? Just go to Kevin lowes backyard. I heard they grow on trees there??? (Sarcasm)

  • MacT's Neglected Helmet

    They have $7.5M in space, but they need a top pairing defender or two. If buying out Nikitin allows them to get a top four defender along with a top pairing defender, they should have done it. I suppose the other option is trading Schultz, which isn’t so bad really.

    But if the Oilers go into next season without bringing in two quality defenders, its going to be a tire fire again, and that, my friend, is unacceptable.

  • 916oiler

    Yup. The right move is to hold these guys. Best case you move Purcell, Nikitin, Ference, Gordon, maybe even Gryba, Klink, Scrivens and Hendricks at the deadline for whatever assets you can get. Worst case is they all suck next year, none of them have deadline value, you walk away from Purcell, Nikitin, Gordon, Klink, Gryba and Scrivens, buy out Ference a year from now, and enjoy almost $20 million in cap space.

  • 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

  • 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 .

  • 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.