Because It’s The Cap: Edmonton Oilers

Over the next month, we at NHLnumbers are going to be taking a look at where each team in the league currently stands based on what we learned from them last season, and where they realistically can and should go this summer with the resources and cap space they have.

It’s pretty easy to look at the Edmonton Oilers’ 2015-16 season and say it was a complete disaster. I mean, you wouldn’t be wrong to view it that way, considering the fact they finished second last in the league standings and allowed their playoff drought to reach a decade in length. Their 31 wins are barely an improvement from all the way back in the 2009-10 season when they had 27, which is when they officially started tanking and their oil change began. 

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If you told Oilers fans after they drafted Taylor Hall first overall that summer that the team would be fooling around in the league’s basement with a 31-43-8 record six seasons later, they most certainly wouldn’t have believed you. If they did believe you, they probably wouldn’t have assumed the rebuild was a total dud, but instead, the season’s failure was the result of unfortunate circumstances. And that wouldn’t be entirely wrong. 

I’m not going to make excuses for this organization — because let’s be honest, they’re nowhere near where they should be considering they’re six (official) years deep into a rebuild with four first overall picks in their cupboard — but a big reason why last year’s group did as poorly as it did ultimately comes down to injuries. Their top two centres, Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, each missed significant time with two different serious injuries, Oscar Klefbom, their best defenceman, missed more than half of the season, and solid depth players Beniot Pouliot and Brandon Davidson also each missed nearly 30 games. 

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Would they have been a playoff team with better injury luck? I really doubt it. But if McDavid, RNH, and Klefbom all play somewhere near a full season, the Oilers aren’t finishing with the second worst record in the league. 

Roster Analysis 

Despite the frustrating and difficult-to-watch season that transpired this year in Edmonton, there are quite a few things to like about this team. 

Obviously Connor McDavid had a phenomenal rookie season, leading the team in points-per-game and corsi for percentage in the 45 games he suited up for. Taylor Hall was excellent and will most certainly continue to be as such, while Leon Draisaitl showed flashes of brilliance after a disappointing rookie season. Patrick Maroon and Zack Kassian, both mid-season acquisitions, provided some necessary strength up front. When they were healthy, Jordan Eberle and Beniot Pouliot were producing at a solid level, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, also when healthy, established himself pretty easily as the team’s the best two-way forward. They have a reasonable start to a good defensive group with Andrej Sekera, Oscar Klefbom, and Brandon Davison, plus a couple of interesting prospects in Darnell Nurse and Griffin Reinhart, who all thrive in more of a shut down, defensive zone role. Also, Cam Talbot had the first good season by an Oiler goalie in, geez, I don’t even know how long despite playing behind a pretty thin blue line. 

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It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise at all, but the biggest issue this team has moving forward is their blue line. Specifically, their defencemen provide virtually zero value offensively, making it difficult for their strong group of forwards to do the things they do best. I mean, Oscar Klefbom is the only Oilers defenceman who provided any kind of offence, and he only played 30 games, so it’s difficult to say whether that’s actually a part of his game, or if it was an abnormality. When looking at the NHL’s leaders among on-ice shot attempts for per hour, you have to do a lot of scrolling to get to any Oilers. And even then, when you look at with and without you numbers, it becomes pretty clear that the offence generated is the work of the team’s top forwards in that the defencemen’s possession numbers take a pretty big hit when they aren’t on the ice with them. 

That also leads into the other issue with the Oilers roster, which is depth forwards. The common rhetoric surrounding this team is that players like Hall and RNH aren’t getting the job done, which really isn’t the case. When they’re on the ice, the Oilers are generally the better team, but unfortunately, their top-six forwards can’t play 60 minutes a night. Edmonton’s revolving door of bottom-six forwards, Lauri Korpikoski, Mark Letestu, Anton Lander, and so on were completely eaten alive on the ice in terms of possession, generating scoring chances, and, of course, scoring, largely because they were frequently hemmed in their own zone. I mean, beyond Hall, McDavid, Pouliot, RNH, Draisaitl, and Teddy Purcell, (and Patrick Maroon, who basically filled his role after the trade deadline) their bottom-six forwards only scored 44 goals combined, and a decent chunk of them came either on the power play or when playing in a top-six role due to Edmonton’s injury glut. 

So what we have here is a team loaded with talent up front, but a problem with depth as their third and fourth lines generally gave them nothing on a night to night basis. The team needs a lot of work on the blue line, largely in puck moving and offence generating defencemen, and possibly another right-handed shot who can form a legitimate shut down pairing. Thankfully, the Oilers have a lot of assets at a position of strength at their disposal, so these holes can most certainly be filled. 

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Cap Situation 

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For an expanded chart with all players the organization has signed, visit nhlnnumbers.com 

The Oilers already have a good chunk of their roster fleshed out right now, with 12 forwards, six defencemen, and two goalies from last year’s roster signed into next season with roughly $10 million in cap space to work with (a little bit more if Andrew Ference gets placed on the LTIR, but I doubt they’ll take the risk of spending to the upper limit with that in mind). So if they’re going to mix some things up, it’s definitely going to have to be through trade. This isn’t really a roster that you can make significant changes to via the free agent market, because for each major player they add, they’re going to also need to get rid of a contract to make it work financially and in terms of 23-man roster space. 

Also, another thing Peter Chiarelli and Co. need to keep in their minds is Connor McDavid and the end of his entry-level contract and how that’s going to work well into the future. McDavid will need a new deal for the beginning of the 2018-19 season (obviously it’s going to be worked out before that), and as of right now, they already have $35.8 million invested in seven players heading into that season. And that’s not counting Leon Draisaitl, Brandon Davidson, Darnell Nurse, or anybody else who will need a new deal sorted out before then, too, of course. 

So the theme with the Oilers is pretty obvious, really. You have Connor McDavid on your roster right now at a very, very cheap price. Not only do you need to capitalize on these bargain years while you can, you also need to be smart about it so that you don’t end up in a situation where it becomes difficult to fork over the money he’s going to command on his next contract. Of course, it would take some monumentally horrible cap management to allow that to happen, but let’s not forget what it was that got Chiarelli fired from his last job in Boston.  

A question was brought up in the comments about how I got to that $10 million figure. Let me clarify. 

I made my projection while considering the LTIR (Ference) and the bonus cushion pushing them to roughly $10 million in open cap space, depending on where the cap ceiling ends up, which hasn’t been announced yet. Performance bonuses count against the salary cap, but a team can exceed the salary cap due to performance bonuses by the maximum performance bonus cushion amount of 7.5% of the upper limit.They certainly won’t spend all of that ~$10 million, of course, but it’s more of a rough number to give an idea of how far they can go this summer (not very), which illustrates the point that changes will need to be made via trade. 

Offseason Plan 

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In the roster chart above, I identified the major holes to fill this summer for the Edmonton Oilers as being half of a top four on defence, and two-thirds of a legitimate third line. They also have a few other minor holes I won’t worry quite as much about, like seventh defenceman and backup goalie, and then, depending on who eventually gets shipped out in a deal for quality defencemen, other holes will open up too. I also left a few players off this chart for some different reasons. First, Nail Yakupov isn’t there because he’s requested a trade, and I’m assuming he won’t be back with the team next year. I also didn’t include Lauri Korpikoski or Mark Fyane, because both players have contracts the Oilers should be looking to dump in order to gain capacity and flexibility to make other improvements. And finally, I didn’t include Darnell Nurse or Laurent Brossoit, because if all goes well, they’ll be able to develop in the AHL next season. 

Let’s start with the two defencemen. The only name from the free agent list that really makes much sense as a fit is Jason Demers. He’s a right-handed shot, is turning 28 years old this summer, and is versatile enough to be used in a variety of different roles. When you look at his with and without you stats, virtually everybody on the Stars had better possession numbers when they played with him than they did when they were with somebody else, so his performance wasn’t just being driven by playing on a strong offensive team. Of course, Demers isn’t some unknown mystery player, and I imagine a handful of teams are going to be calling to inquire about him this summer, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a contract similar to what Jeff Petry got ($5.5M/6yrs) in Montreal. 

Even if the Oilers sign Demers, it still wouldn’t address their major hole of puck moving defenceman, which, again, will need to be acquired through trade. The first name that comes to mind for me is Justin Faulk, who’s emerged as the Carolina Hurricanes’ best defenceman and is signed to a beautiful $4.833 million deal for the next four years. Over the past two seasons, Faulk has produced 0.60 and 0.58 points-per-game and a 54.4 and 52.3 Corsi For percentage while logging just a shade over 24 minutes per night in a variety of situations. Why on earth would the Hurricanes give this guy up? Well, they wouldn’t really be giving him up, per se. Instead they would be using him as a chip to acquire another really good player to fill a position of need up front. So if the Oilers are calling about Faulk, Carolina is most certainly going to be asking for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Taylor Hall (likely the former). It’s a really, really tough deal to pull the trigger on, but Faulk is a damn good player, and this makes a lot of sense for both teams. 

If either side decides they aren’t willing to pull the trigger on a Faulk deal, the logical fallback net for the Oilers would be either Colorado’s Tyson Barrie or Anaheim’s Sami Vatanen. Barrie is currently an RFA coming off of a bridge deal that paid him $2.6 million annually over two years, and, based on his production (0.64 points-per-game) over the past two years, it’s expected he could command upwards to $6 million per year on a long-term deal. It’ll certainly cost a lot less to acquire Barrie than it would to get Faulk, but he doesn’t come with the same cost-controlled contract, making him a much more risky commodity. Vatanen is also an RFA this summer, has similar production numbers to Barrie, and is a likely candidate to be moved because the Ducks internal budget restrictions and the impending threat of an expansion draft. 

After that, the next wave of fallback nets are James Wisniewski and Dennis Wideman who represent a couple of buy-low options as right-handed shooting defencemen who have a history of producing offence. Both are one year from free agency, and probably wouldn’t cost much in terms of assets to acquire in a trade, but neither option is good enough to anchor a top pairing. That said, they’re both significantly better than what the Oilers have right now. 

The third line isn’t quite as difficult or dire right now as the holes on defence. I marked down two question marks, but it’s kind of up in the air, as Patrick Maroon may need to join the top six if somebody like Pouliot or Eberle is dealt, or someone internally like Zack Kassian, Anton Slepyshev, Jujhar Khaira, or Drake Caggiula could fill the role.

Regardless, what the Oilers absolutely lack is a good third line centre who doesn’t get completely eaten alive. Look at the final four teams in the playoffs. St. Louis has Alex Steen, Pittsburgh has Nick Bonino, Tampa Bay has Brian Boyle, and San Jose, well, they have Chris Tierney, who isn’t a great example for this point, but the first three are all responsible defensively, but can chip in and generate chances offensively, too.

This hole could easily be filled if they choose to use Leon Draisaitl as a centre, but that opens up a few more potential issues. First, if they trade somebody like Eberle or Pouliot to fill a hole on defence, they’re probably going to want Draisaitl to fill in as a top-six winger. Also, simply using Draisaitl in that role doesn’t really fix the overarching problem of forward depth, such as we saw last year when both McDavid and Nugent-Hopkins were injured. 

In terms of centres, Shawn Matthias and Mike Santorelli are both nice options available through free agency this year, as they both have a history of producing decent offensive and possession numbers in depth roles. Lee Stempniak has always been a solid producer for whoever picks him up at the end of the summer, P.A. Parenteau was very useful for the Leafs this year in a depth offensive role, and Jamie McGinn, Kris Versteeg, and Chris Stewart are some other names out there who would represent a pretty significant upgrade on what the Oilers have right now, and can slide up and down the lineup into a variety of roles. 

Like I said at the beginning of the section, planning the Oilers offseason is a pretty dynamic thing, in that new holes are likely to open when others are filled. I’m expecting Chiarelli to sell from a position of strength, which is skill on forward to deal with the catastrophe on the back end, and if I had to venture a guess, I would expect to hear Benoit Pouliot and Jordan Eberle’s names out there (along with the team’s fourth overall pick, and Nail Yakupov, who’s admitted to requesting a trade) as trade bait. 

I don’t know who will end up being moved, but no matter what, if they’re going to make the significant upgrades to their blue line and have money left over to add depth to their forward core, one of their top-six forwards is going to have to be packaged out. Okay, yeah, obviously that isn’t something you want to do, because good, skilled forwards are hard to come by, but as we know, so are good, skilled defencemen, and you have to give to get. 

Moving the fourth overall pick alone might get you a good player, but then you’re also likely going to be stuck in a situation where you’re damn near out of cap space and you aren’t able to add any of the middle-tier forwards in free agency. Also, another thing to remember is how important it is to have cheap talent developing in your system when you’re a competitive team. If you look at all of the teams who have won recently, they all have players on entry level deals.

I’m not sure how exactly it’ll pan out, but if the Oilers can acquire two of the defencemen and two of the forwards I mentioned, they’ll be in great shape heading into next season. 

Conclusion 

This is a really important offseason for the Oilers, and fortunately for them, it features all of the possible pieces they’re going to need in order to boost their team from mediocrity into relevance. That said, it’s also going to require them sucking it up and pulling the trigger on a difficult move, because not all of the solutions exist in free agency.

I alluded to this earlier, but it’s really, really important to take advantage of Connor McDavid’s cheap years, because not too long from now, he’s going to be commanding a massive salary. Obviously the Oilers will be happy to pay it, because it’ll mean that he’s established himself as one of the best players in the league if he’s commanding that kind of money, but they aren’t going to have an elite core of young forwards signed at a combined $25 million forever, so the time to capitalize on this group is right now. 

They already have pretty much a full roster, leaving them with roughly $10 million to spend on upgrades, so some pieces are going to have to be moved around if they’re going to manage to fill all the holes they need to in order to become a competitive team. 

Using the fourth overall pick to acquire a defenceman is all fine and dandy, but it’s going to leave them with not a hell of a lot of money to fill other holes. It’s also important to remember that the player selected fourth overall this June probably won’t help them this upcoming season, it never hurts to have good talent on entry-level contracts when your team is competitive. Obviously nobody wants to trade someone like Jordan Eberle or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, because they’re damn good players, but that’s the reason another team will be willing to pay a premium for them in return. Also, moving one contract for another gives the team more flexibility in free agency to add depth to the team in the short-term, which is certainly necessary for this group right now. 

There’s pros and cons to whichever route they take, of course, but however Peter Chiarelli and Co. decide to go about doing it, this is an offseason where the Oilers absolutely need to be aggressive and creative, because this group they have right now isn’t going to be young and cheap forever, and they’re actually a lot closer to being competitive than you might think at a glance. 


  • FISTO Siltanen

    On your lineup I’d swap Hall and Maroon and play Drai with Hall and roll 3 lines. Then look for some RW help starting with Troy Brouwer.

    And I’d load a line with McDavid/Hall/Drai when you are down a goal in the 3rd.

    Love where you are going with this though.

  • Mac07

    I agree with most of what you said about the options on defense. I don’t know if I would give up Hall for Faulk. Maybe RNH or Eberle. I also wouldn’t rule out the option of still going after Hamonic.
    If Hall is involved, I would be going for the homerun and try for the likes of Doughty, who does not have any NMC in his contract or Pietrangelo before his NMC kicks in after next season. Otherwise, Hall should stay.
    I would also target Backus in the free agency. Plays center and RW. Could move up and down the lineup. And would be a great guy to have around McDavid. And in the dressing room.
    Chiarelli has a lot to do this summer. But I have more confidence in things getting done now than any time over the last 6 years.

    • Randaman

      Maybe Nuge or Eberle for Faulk? Sorry, but that is a no brainer for me. I do that deal in an instant. Hall is going nowhere.

      Demers is overrated and as described with limited offence. Backes has already turned down $5.5M to stay in St Louis so I don’t see that happening.

      I like Stempniak and Matthias as third line options after trading Nuge for Faulk.

      As for Yak, ????. Absolutely no value and keeps dropping. Larionov isn’t doing him any favours and I have a suspicion that his father isn’t helping either.

      If Pouliot can slow down with the stupid penalties, he could be useful. I love his forecheck abilities and he can score.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    long read but a very detailed one. in my mind, the Oilers will likely be shopping Nuge, Eberle, Nail, Lander, and Pouliot, who has had 2 good seasons with us but can’t stay healthy so would likely be on the block, and guys like Reinhart, Oesterle and Fayne, as well as #4. not saying all or even most will go but some certainly will.

    should be able to get a good RD from this as well as a few good 3rd and 4th line players. but the Oil absolutely should be looking at the UFA market as well because that will only cost us money and not players. signing a guy like RD Jason Demers should be very high on that list as well as a good 3rd liner like Darren Helm, who’d be a perfect fit here, or Troy Brouwer.

  • Moe Sizzlack

    Sign Chris Stewart .!

    Trade Yak and Pou.

    Package Reinhart and the 4th for our Dman needed.. (if we can move down the draft a few spots in this trade then GREAT)

    Try land Shaw!

    Maroon, Stewart, Kassian and Shaw will help tons in the WEST

    • Randaman

      I agree for the most part but we had this disagreement about Yak yesterday and now the Russian coach has driven a couple more nails in his coffin. See what I did there? Haha

      He has absolutely no value and its dropping faster than a lead balloon!

      I find Stewart to be slowing down and his offence numbers have fallen off too.

      Shaw? YES!!!

        • Bondo11

          I’d move Yak for R.Strome or Nichushkin in a heart beat. Yak has already made his trade request, he’s checked out.

          They all need a change of scenery and fresh start.

        • Randaman

          Maybe, but if his agent is going to be causing issues that make him a distraction, then NO! This team is fragile at best.

          It’s obvious that McLellan doesn’t want him. I believe they will get what they can and cut ties. He may just decide to go to the KHL and save us the trouble.

          As the Russian coach said “addition by subtraction”! Like I’ve said before, love the person, hate the player.

  • oilers1168

    I like how you brought everything together in your article. The relevance of the CAP and ability to move around in it to shore up our position of need.

    I just hope we can find players that are willing to come to Edmonton to get a chance to play with McDavid and the new stadium on the cheap. We will need these value contracts.

  • daryl

    Peter has his hands full just hope that if he can not get a true #1 RH dman then he keeps the pick and dfafts Dubois. I really hope that the Oilers don’t miss him.

    • Stack Pad Save

      I don’t really care who they draft this year as this player is going back to the minors.

      What I really want is immediate help on Dfence. I want to see what these forwards can do with a decent defence corps.

      I think there is a trade market with the Hurricanes, but Faulk is there best player and they are loaded with Defence prospects. To get him you’re going to have to overpay.

      I also could see a RH d coming from Buffalo for one of our LH d as Willis outlined the obviousness of a trade for both teams.

  • kormega

    As for caphit, only McDavid will get full 2,85 mil performance bonus.

    Draisaitl will receive 425 000 (per 212,5 for being top 6 forward on team in ice time + top 3 forward on team in +/- (min 42GP)

    Same amount for Nurse (top 4 defenseman on team in ice time + top 2 defenseman on team in blocked shots (min 42GP)

    GF doesn’t disclose Reinhart bonus but sure he’ll get none, so there gonna be a couple more millions in capspace.

  • JimmyV1965

    Really good article. Sums up the situation really nicely. Couple points to add.
    1. We can trade Yak for Nichushkin or Strome. Both are in a very similar situation as Yak. To me this is the definition of a no brainer for all teams involved.
    2. I’m getting tired of the narrative that Demers only costs money. Cap space is an asset just like players and picks, and should be treated as such.
    3. If we are seriously interested in Faulk, be prepared for an overpay in the range of RNH plus the 4th. The Canes will demand an overpay because they have no need to trade the player or contract. I would gladly do the deal because he is one tier below the stud elite #1 dmen like Subban, Doughty and Pietrangelo. IMO Faulk is much better than Barrie or Vatanen and has the size and skills to play in all situations.
    4. PC should seriously look at the Panthers as a trade partner. There is an ugly wind of incompetence blowing through that organization and you may be able to make a lopsided trade during the early days of the new regime.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      Nichushkin complained loudly that he didn’t feel he was getting the ice time in Dallas that he thought he should be getting, so perhaps there is a deal there involving Yak going the other way?

      • Randaman

        Could it be that he like many other young Russian so called superstars don’t want to play the game properly.

        The rink is 200 ft, not 60.

        I don’t want Nik either

        • HardBoiledOil 1.0

          not sure i do either and not sure that Yak alone could get it done, but with Yak wanting out of here, if we did get a warm body with great potential like Nichushkin, and great size at 6’4″ 205, then it wouldn’t be the worst deal for me. it would be better than just getting a low 2nd rounder from a contender, which is about the max for a pick that we will get for him.

  • bazmagoo

    I’m confident Chiarelli will make some decent moves over the off season. I really would like to avoid missing the playoffs for an 11th straight year (an NHL record) at all costs. Do what it takes Peter! #OilersNation

  • Slats 101

    I’m leary of Chirelli’s trading history with Garth Snow, Snow seems to get the better of Chirelli, but if the Oilers could get Strome for Yak, that might work for both teams. I believe Strome is a RH shot and can play some centre

  • madjam

    The Cap may or may not go up over next couple of seasons , but salaries will none the less . A 6 M player today might well be a 7-8M two more years down the road . It’s like a lot of hockey pools that give you only a certain amount of money to make your best team . Smart GM’s are keeping their main cores intact maximizing their good years , and messing and trading around with the cheaper surrounding/supportive caste . Those with a poor supporting caste will obviously occupy the lower tier of the NHL . So do you start to rip the main core apart and start over again , or do you upgrade your supporting cast first and foremost ?

    • Ed in Edmonton 1

      If the cap doesn’t go up, salaries (on the whole) can’t go up, unless budget teams can find some extra cash. Which doesn’t align with a flat lining cap as cap is determined as % of league revenues.

      Back in the days of the CCCP, people were amazed at Russian players’ almost robotic discipline. Now it seems a lot of Russians are real lone wolfs that can’t seem to play a team game.

      • madjam

        The cap was supposed to make salaries remain lower than before the lockout . It worked one year only and average salaries fell slightly , but have increased rapidly because almost all of the GM’s finding ways to circumvent it . You now find the escrow growing and eating away at the players salaries as they are being paid extra . It will continue to go up until the two sides decide another avenue needs to be followed than the current CBA . Escrow escalates as salaries escalate (vicious cycle ) .

  • The Last Big Bear

    1) If injuries to a pair of young defencemen with a total of 89 combined NHL games is enough to derail your season, then “Unfortunate circumstances” has nothing to do with it. That’s a team that was doomed before the season even began.

    2) The injury excuse would also hold more water if the Oilers didn’t look like a 29th place team even when they were healthy.

    They started 0-for-4. They were 26th in the NHL by points% when McDavid got injured. Before Klefbom was hurt in December, sportsclubstats had the Oilers at a 7% chance of playoffs. And we all saw the last Battle of Alberta in Rexall, when despite RNH and McDavid on the roster the Oilers still looked like they were exactly where they deserved to be in the standings.

    3) Justin Faulk is the only defenceman signed to Carolina next year who isn’t on an ELC. Think about that.

    Literally one second of looking at their depth chart will tell you that this trade is absolute kool-aid.

    They would most likely be left with a top pairing of 19 year old Noah Hanafin, and 5000 year old Ron Hainsey.

    Other teams are not going to shoot themselves in the foot to trade you their best player just because it’s convenient for you.

    4) The Oilers just need to add two impact defencemen, and several two-way responsible veteran forwards?

    THIS IS WHAT GROUNDHOG DAY FEELS LIKE.

    • camdog

      Wisniewski (who was injured all of last season) would be their 1 right d-man followed by Pesce and Ryan Murphy. Their right side would be in trouble. Left side would be strong, but they are still very young – Hanafin and Slavin.

    • Ned

      Yawn. You’re boring. Same old reply from you, yes we get it, you don’t like the Oilers, blah blah blah. And you’ve made it your life mission to keep all of the unreasonable/irrational Oiler fans in line by dowsing their expectations with “reality”.

      The thing is though is that injuries really do play a part in a team’s performance which was especially true for the Oilers given their man games lost AND the quality of players that were injured. How much of an impact this had is debatable, and regardless they still weren’t playoff bound.

      But for you to dismiss this as a factor the way you are just shows that you’re as biased and “unrealistic” as the fans that you’re supposed to be keeping in line.

      • The Last Big Bear

        When they were healthy, the Oilers were a 26th place team.

        When they lost some key players, they were a 29th place team.

        They weren’t bad BECAUSE they had injuries.

        They were bad AND they had injuries.

        There’s a big difference there.

        • Ned

          Where are you getting this 26th place team when healthy, when were they ever healthy? If it makes you feel good to manufacture stats to support your theory go ahead but the fact is that they had injuries to key players consistently throughout the entire season. Not to mention the fact that even when a player returns from injury they’re still not playing at 100%.

  • 2centz

    I would sign Luke Schenn. He had a really good playoffs with the Kings,and we never heard anything negative about him,after he arrived in L.A. I think he could be a steal,and fits better in the West,than he did out East.

  • madjam

    Sounds like Chia is getting several offers from other teams on trading our #4 pick . Barring trading that pick he appears to favor/leaning towards Tkachuk or Juolevi if he retains it , as per interview during Junior game tonight . I think it goes without saying Habs want Dubois and maybe even Yakupov , but defensively they have little to offer us . Arizona should be hot for Tkachuk . Doubt Calgary or Vanc. would offer enough to make it worth our while . Buffalo a long shot perhaps .

    • McRaj

      Trade down and get a defensive top 4 player in return as well. Then trade one of the forwards not named McDavid to acquire the top pairing D-Man. Come on PC, make the changes.

    • camdog

      Hypothetically Yak, Ference and Korps gone equals 2.5 +2.25 (1 million buyout) + 1.5 (1 million buyout) equals 6.25 million saved. Nurse plus Broissoit in minors equals another 2.4 million.

      Signing Pakaranin would cost .85 million. That’s 8 million plus the extra 2 which was available. If cap goes up they might get another 2 million in cap, but I don’t know if the PC wants to bring a 29th placed team right up to the salary cap limit.

      For 6 players they “might” have about 12 million available if they keep everybody else together, 10 million they have for sure available.

    • Cam Lewis

      I made my projection while considering the LTIR (Ference) and the bonus cushion pushing them to roughly $10 million in open cap space, depending on where the cap ceiling ends up, which hasn’t been announced yet. Performance bonuses count against the salary cap, but a team can exceed the salary cap due to performance bonuses by the maximum performance bonus cushion amount of 7.5% of the upper limit.

      They certainly won’t spend all of that ~$10 million, of course, but it’s more of a rough number to give an idea of how far they can go this summer (not very), which illustrates the point that changes will need to be made via trade. My apologies if this wasn’t clear in the article.

      • Am I right?

        No apologies needed, thanks for clarifying. The problem I have with your projection is if you put Ference on LTIR, and it’s only helpful if you are very close to the cap, is if he comes off of it during the season, it could hoop you.

        I look at performance bonuses as being cheap comparisons to what those players contracts will very soon be, if we can’t fit them in now without using the cushion, how do we hope to fit them in after they get more money and no cushion.

        The players used the escalator last year, I doubt they do the same this time. Don’t see the cap rising next year.

  • McRaj

    Awesome read. Great to see someone give a player like Faulk the credit he deserves. Also great to see that people understand the Oilers have to make moves and that cap space is a limited resource for the team. Now hopefully the small chunk of fans who refuse to trade any core player will understand that it must be done.

  • TKB2677

    Do the authors of these type of articles drink heavily before writing them because they don’t seem to have a hint of reality.

    I look at the projected roster. The top 6 has not a single player gone from last years team. Not one. The Oilers team especially the top 6 has lacked size, compete, a net front presence, any kind of grit or edge and severely lacks anyone that goes to the net or screens a goalie. The majority of today’s goals scored in the NHL are scored in that 5-10 feet from the goal line. The ugly, nasty area or are a screened shot or a tip. Pouliot is the only guy that will remotely get near the front of the net and that’s it in those lines. The rest are all, rush, perimeter guys. When McDavid doesn’t deke through the whole opposition, how in the hell is that top 6 going to work? Who’s going battle and screen the goalie or go and get a rebound in that group? No one has done it in years past. But all of a sudden, Hall, Nuge and Eberle are going to magically change their game?

    I also see 2 big holes in the Oilers defense on the right side. I totally agree with that. So how do you fill them?

    There is one remotely decent UFA in Demers available. Let’s assume he actually makes it to free agency because there is no guarantee he will. How do we know the Oilers can even get him? The people that write these articles and mention Demers make it sound like it’s a given he’s an Oiler next season? How can you say that? I’m sure there will be other teams coming after him. Who’s to say he would even WANT to sign in Edmonton. There are tons of guys that say “no thanks” to Edmonton because it’s Edmonton. So unless the Oilers trade for his rights here pretty quick and sign him before free agency, I don’t see how anyone can use Demers as a legit option. It’s a complete crap shoot.

    Next, how do the Oilers trade for a Dman without giving up a player? Who’s giving up a legit, top 4, right shot Dman who’s actually good for magic beans? Would I love for it to happen, absolutely but I can’t in my wildest dreams see who they Oilers aren’t giving up a really good player.

  • Am I right?

    Camdog, we don’t live in a hypothetical world, we’re in a hard cap world. I’m just saying as it stands now we have 69.6 million in signed players, 1 million added to that for bonus overages from last year and we have 71.4 – 70.6 = .8!

    That is less than 1 million to work with.

    Ference is on LTIR and can’t be bought out unless he agrees to it. Looks like we have his salary for 1 more year, unless, you know, we could hypothetically trade him.

    I’m not bashing you or anyone else who comments here, we can make all the hypothetical trades we want, let’s just base them on reality first.

    • camdog

      Fair to a point, Ference may still be hurt and may not be healthy enough to be bought out. But this is the most realistic write up I have read on this site this year. Many stories have been written about making a pitch on a RFA, signing a big fish (not even a whale) as free agents, trading the pick and retaining big salary and some stories suggesting the Oilers have ample cap space available.

      Reality is this team can’t fill all of the holes this season without trading a big piece, that’s what these numbers say to me.

  • TKB2677

    If the answer to one of the Oilers right shot spots is to sign Demers, then the Oilers better go and trade for his rights if they can get them. Based on what I have heard and read about Demers, he would be an upgrade on what they have now (that’s isn’t saying much) but he sure doesn’t seem to check a lot of boxes they need off. But if he’s one of the guys you think will help you then I would not sit back, wait until July and cross your fingers you can get him. Be aggressive, get his rights, pay the man.

    The one good thing is McLellan coached him so he should have a good idea on the player.