UPDATE: Draisaitl to AHL

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The next 24 hours will be hectic for some NHL teams. They need to be down to their 23-man roster tomorrow, so any player requiring waivers will need to be waived today.

We’ve already seen a few NHL veterans on waivers. Look for more to appear on the wire today.

The Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers yesterday after Nikita Nikitin was placed there on Saturday. Those two will be paid $6.8 million to play in the AHL. Combined they will count $4.9 million towards the Oilers salary cap.

Edmonton still has to make at least one more cut by tomorrow.

They currently have 15 forwards, nine D-men and two goalies on their roster.

Jordan Eberle and Dillon Simpson will start the season on the IR, so they have to release one forward or one D-man.

Griffin Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl, Anton Slepyshev, Connor McDavid and Oscar Klefbom don’t require waivers, but Reinhart, Slepyshev and Draisaitl are the only three among those five who might be sent down.

Head coach Todd McLellan will decide whether he wants both Draisaitl and Slepyshev in his top-nine, or if he wants another veteran like Lauri Korpikoski. If he feels he needs a veteran, then I could see Slepyshev or Draisaitl starting the season in the AHL. If McLellan feels he’s earned a spot, then Rob Klinkhammer could be on the move to the AHL.

Klinkhammer and Brandon Davidson are the other two on the bubble. Davidson has played very well, and the Oilers could use his mobility on the backend. Klinkhammer is a fourth liner who hasn’t played on the PK regularly, and for me that makes him expendable.

***UPDATE…Draisaitl sent down***

The Oilers choose to send Draisaitl to Bakersfield. Slepyshev will start the season with Hall and McDavid most likely, while Korpikoski will play with Lander and Yakupov.

Draisaitl played well, but the Oilers had to decide between him or Slepyshev. I don’t think they wanted three rookies in their top-nine. Draisaitl will play centre in the AHL, and like Darnell Nurse, I’m sure we will see him in Edmonton at some point this season.

Some will suggest this was salary cap/bonus related. I’m not so sure. Draisaitl’s “A” bonuses are as follows. A maximum of up to $850,000. Meaning he could hit four of them. Each is worth $212,500.

  • Goals: 20
  • Assists: 35
  • Points: 60
  • Top-6 in TOI among forwards (Minimum 42 games played)
  • .73 points per game (Min of 42 games played)
  • Top-3 in +/- among forwards (min 42 games played)
  • All rookie team.
  • Named to All star team.
  • Named All star MVP.

How many of those were realistic? I’d say assists and possibly all rookie team. He wasn’t going to score 58 points (.73PPG) and I doubt he would’ve reached 20 goals. If people assume Hall and McDavid score 60 points, how many others will? Nugent-Hopkins would be my guess.

His other bonuses are “B” Bonuses. He would earn $1.625 for each one, but can only earn a maximum of $1.625 million. So basically one of the next four.

  • Top-five vote getter for Hart trophy.
  • NHL 1st or 2nd All star team.
  • Conn Smythe
  • Top-ten scorer in league (minimum of 42 games including PPG)

I didn’t see him reaching any of these either, so I don’t buy the theory his demotion is salary cap/bonus related for next year.

What are your thoughts on Draisaitl being sent down?

OTHER NOTES…

  • In the summer of 2014 the Philadelphia Flyers signed Andrew MacDonald to a six-year, $30 million contract. They put him on waivers this morning. Ouch. The Flyers will carry $4.05 million in dead cap space with him in the AHL, which is more money than the combined salary of their entire AHL team.
  • The Habs placed goalie Dustin Tokarski on waivers. Mike Condon, who hasn’t played an NHL game, will be Carey Price’s backup. Condon was in the ECHL in 2013, and played 48 games in the AHL last year posting a 2.44 GAA and .921sv% in 48 games.
  • Another young goalie, J.F. Berube, will likely be placed on waivers by the LA Kings. Berube has been their AHL starter the past two seasons. He posted a .913sv% both years with a 2.37 GAA in 2014 and a 2.18 GAA last year. Teams like him, but will they claim him or wait and see what the Wild and Flames do?
  • The Flames have three goalies, and I don’t see any way Joni Ortio would get through waivers. The Flames might start the season with three goalies, and hope a team suffers and injury so they can find a trading partner. They put Mason Raymond on waivers today, which could suggest they start with three goalies.
  • The Wild have Dubnyk, Backstrom and Kuemper. Kuemper has played 63 NHL games, but he’s struggled with consistency. He only had a .905 sv% last year behind a very stingy defence. Backstrom only has one year remaining on his contract, but he has a NMC and can’t be sent to the minors.
  • Former Camrose Kodiak and first round pick of the Blackhawks, Dylan Olsen, was waived today by the Florida Panthers.
  • Unless the Oilers and Nikitin mutually agree to terminate his contract, it is not coming off the books. Nikitin won’t get paid $4.5 million in the KHL, so even if they agree to let him go play in Europe instead of the AHL, he will still count against their salary cap.
  • My playoff predictions in the west…
    St. Louis, Nashville, Dallas and Chicago in the central. Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Jose in the Pacific. Winnipeg will cross over and be the fourth team in the Pacific. The Oilers will finish 5th in the Pacific ahead of the Flames and Coyotes. The Flames lack of offence will cost them a playoff berth.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays enter the playoffs as the hottest team in baseball. They finished the season 43-18. Their reward for a great finish is to play the second best team the past two months, the Texas Rangers. They went 41-22 since July 29th. It should be a hell of a series. Let’s hope the Jays play an afternoon game on Thursday, so we can watch it live and then watch the Oilers/Blues season opener Thursday evening.

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    • Johnnydapunk

      I’m still under the belief that this season is meant to just change the course of the ship, the ship was going in the wrong direction, don’t even know if they knew where it was supposed to go, and has been carrying a lot of dead weight, and weight in the wrong places. Changing all lf that will take this season and miracles won’t happen twice as one already happened (hello McDavid) and another one would be comedic. So putting Nurse and Drai into the AHL for development is great as they are important parts and have the potential to be serious stars for the Oil. They don’t need to be a big part in this season as its not going to be amazing I think. If they are in a playoff race by Feb, I will be impressed, if they are in the playoffs, I will be shocked, my expectations are pretty low. I just don’t want them to be in a lottery race for number one, unless they get another fluke which would be quite fun as seeing Bettman’s annoyed face always brings me joy.

      They have proven that no one is too big to go down, and aren’t afraid to put bigger contracts in the AHL to have the best players here, I don’t think that was the case before and it needs to be that way.

      A few bad contracts will be gone by season end, the goalie situation is wide open as no one is signed past this season (NHL goalie wise) so they are in a good spot for not this season but next season. The foundations have been reset and I like what I see so far.

      • CMG30

        Don’t know why you’re accumulating trashes for this comment. It’s very reasonable for the situation the Oil find themselves in.

        Rome wasn’t built in a day and anybody would be hard pressed to take a 27th place team and turn them into cup contenders in one off season. With the moves Chirelli has made, it’s clear he knows this and is not blowing his brains out this year so that he doesn’t box himself in when he can make moves that will really count next year.

        I know it’s tough for fans to hear (2006 was a loooong time ago) but if anyone is expecting a deep playoff run this year, they’re going to have a bad time.

        • Johnnydapunk

          Cheers for that, I have moments of brilliance here and moments of being the goat so a few trashes are all good.

          It’s just I always was thinking that the Old management had until the arena was built to ice a respectable team as the last thing Katz wants is to have a fancy new building and no one going so if the management changes didn’t happen now, it was going to be the end of this season. Nicholson and winning the lottery changed the plan and now the pieces are there to go into the building with a bit of hope as well as higher ticket prices which are more palatable with McDavid and decent coaching.

          I’ve waited 9 years to care about playoffs, I can handle another season of watching the WC, as I see that progress is made. I’m old enough to have a childhood of Oiler domination so maybe I’m not gagging for it like others. Could be that I’m easy to please, the football (soccer) team (FC St Pauli) I’ve supported for many years has always been crap, so if they are not relegated, I’m happy as long as they put an effort in. The same with the Oil, if they play with pride and play hard, thats all I want.

    • HECTOR

      I dont have a problem with any of the players sent down, GM and coach are pretty smart hockey guys. I think Scrivens will improve his game and NN will get back into rel good shape. Talbot was traded for to be the starter, its his spot to lose. If he doesnt pan out, play th e next guy then the next until you get a goalie that wants the spot. Remember Oilers wont be contending for 3 or 4 years, need a good goalie then.

    • Quicksilver ballet

      So does this demotion mean S.Bennett was the better draft choice after all , seeing as he made the playoff Flames roster and Leon did not make ours ?

        • mcjesus take the wheel

          I am an Oiler fan as well , but the Flames outscored our team 237 goals to 193 last year without Bennett in lineup . How do you figure we are deeper up front ? We have some talent , but a lot of it seems still untapped .

          • MattyFranchise

            35% of those goals came from one line last year. Plus there was a lot of offense from defense including 11% from just Gio and Wideman. Five players accounting for 46% of a team’s goal scoring is not depth.

            • Johnnydapunk

              We has a grand total of 7 players with 10 or more goals last year including our defence . Flames had 8 forward players with 10 or more goals , plus 3 defensemen that were over that total as well (Gio , Brodie and Wideman ) = 11 players . Offence is offence and that includes defensemen . Show me where we had more depth as a club . We got Mcdavid this year , but Flames will have Hamilton, Frolic and Bennett to add to their totals .

        • MorningOwl

          when we all watched Drai play last year, you could see he wasn’t ready for the NHL. this is not a knock on him – both players are still years from their prime. Bennett on the other hand, after shoulder surgery, came in at the end of the year and not only did he NOT look out of place but looked dominant much of the time. Will he repeat this year? nobody knows at this stage.

          I am not knocking Drai – just giving credit to Bennett where it’s due.

          If people want to think they Flames aren’t as deep – no worries, but thinking it and saying it doesn’t change whether it’s true or not. After having one of the most productive top lines in the league, they have added Bennett and Frolik to the second line, and already having the most productive defense, have added Hamilton.

          When the Flames can send guys like Byron and Granlund down for ripening on the farm, it is hard to say they aren’t as deep.

          What everyone outside of Edmonton is waiting to see is whether the new coach can change the bad habits that have become ingrained in the young Oiler stars after such a long stretch of tanking. This and the defense are the real question marks in Edmonton.

          In Calgary, the questions center around the statistical potential for regression.

          Both teams have lots of great tools, and if Edmonton’s defense is actually better and both teams get at least league average goal-tending, then it’s going to be a real fun year!

    • JackB

      The way I see it, is if we had waived Davidson he would absolutely have been claimed. Plus he’s a promising defence prospect, a good skater, and his salary is only .500M. Someone would have definitely claimed him!

      If we had waived Gadzic, he would most likely have been picked up by someone. And one of the criticisms of the Oilers (for several years) is we were “soft” to play against. Why give up one of our “hard” players?

      If we had waived Klinkhammer, he may or may not have been claimed, but he really played with a lot of heart and determination (knowing he was competing with Gadzic and Hendricks for a spot this year) durng this pre-season. I think he opened a lot of eyes this year, shoed more than he did last year, and I think he earned a spot this year.

      Therefore we had to waive someone who was waver-exempt. If we sent Reinhart down (the jury is still out on him) it may have weakened he defence AND THAT IS THE ONE AREA WE NEED ALL THE HELP WE CAN !!!

      That left Draisaitl or Slepyshev to be sent down. Draisaitl is 19, Sklepyshev is 21 (with 2 yrs experience playing professional hockey, albeit in Russia, which is a different brand of pro hockey, but he has had 2yrs of playing against professionals. Also, he showed really well playing with McDavid (maybe slightly better than Draisaitl?)

      Plus Draisaittl can improve his defensive zone play, which might be easier in the AHL. And no player has suffered from additional development in the AHL.

      So, all in all, I think management made the best decision. But I can hardly wait until both Draisaitl and Nurse make the club !!!!

    • mcjesus take the wheel

      Yak would have gone 6-10 in this years draft..his draft year was not a good one and he is highly overated. Drai will be fine with a year in the AHL and so will Nurse. You guys that think Nurse will be up by xmas are dreaming unless there are 3 significant injuries on the blueline.

    • Johnnydapunk

      I was gone with a dead phone all weekend, and now come back to Nikitin, Draisaitl, and Scrivens are all on waivers?

      What is happening?

      So Slepyshev beat out Draisaitl for a spot on the team?

      Holy crap that 2013 draft is looking up!

    • Johnnydapunk

      So Drai got sent down because he needs to learn to play a 200 foot game….hmmm..same could be said for the other prima donnas on the team (wingers)….although I agree more important for the Centre position.