WWYDW: Saving the Edmonton Oilers some money

23-Hendricks-6

It appears that the Edmonton Oilers are prepared to take on
some hefty new contracts. Free agents came to town on Tuesday, and between
shopping on July 1 and potentially adding players via trade it could be an
expensive time for the Oilers.

In this week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday, we
identify some plausible cost-saving measures that Edmonton could take, and ask
you, the reader, which ones are worth considering.

There are some obvious moves that can be made off the hop.
In all likelihood, Andrew Ference’s NHL career is over, and his $3.25 million
cap hit will spend next season on long-term injured reserve.  It also seems probable that Griffin Reinhart
will start the year in the AHL (if he even remains with the team) as a way to
avoid all those nasty bonus
ramifications
Edmonton is stuck with.

I’m not really getting into more complicated scenarios here,
either. Obviously money can be trimmed by moving more expensive players out in
trades and the like. Here I’ve focused on three small moves, each with a player
who some might plausibly believe could be replaced by an entry-level talent.

5-Fayne-4

Buyout Mark Fayne. Fayne
has two years left on his contract. He has a cap hit of $3.625 million and an
actual salary of $3.5 million over those two years. When we do the math, the
cap hit ends up being $1.29 million for the next two seasons and then $1.17
million after that. If we figure that he’s replaceable by an end-of-roster piece
making $750,000, the Oilers end up paying just a touch under $2.0 million to
fill his spot. Immediate savings: $1.65
million.

Buyout Lauri Korpikoski. This is pretty straightforward. Korpikoski has a cap hit of
$2.5 million and an actual salary of $3.0 million. If we do the math on a
buyout we end up with a $500,000 cap hit next year and a $1.0 million cap hit
in 2017-18. If we figure that he’s replaceable by an end-of-roster piece making
$750,000, that results in 50 percent savings next year. Immediate savings: $1.25 million.

Trade Matt Hendricks.
With one year left on his deal, presumably this would be a possibility,
though there’s always a chance that his stock has fallen to a point where he
isn’t tradeable. As in previous cases, we can assume a cheap replacement as
part of the cost here; for these purposes let’s call that replacement a
$750,000 cap hit. The Oilers could also retain some salary to make a deal more
palatable. Immediate savings: Up to $1.10
million.  

These decisions need to be made immediately. According to
Paragraph 13(c) of the Standard Player Contract, the regular buyout period ends
at 5:00 PM EST on June 30, and before any buyout can be executed the player
needs to spend 24 hours on unconditional waivers.

For my part, I like two of these three options from an
Edmonton perspective. I think Fayne can play, and it would strike me as odd for
the Oilers to pay for four years to rid themselves of an NHL-calibre right-shot
defender. I don’t mind Hendricks at all, but the prospect of trimming $1.0
million or so is appealing, especially given that he’s heading into the last
year of his contract.

28-Korpikoski-2

Finally, the fourth line was so
much better without Korpikoski
that I’d have no compunction whatsoever
about buying him out.

That’s my view. What do you think?

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • freelancer

    Unload Korpikoski. If Lucic is brought in trade Eberle and Pouliot. Move Draisaitl to the RW and bring in a guy like Stempniak, Brouwer, or Chris Stewart as a third line RW who can jump up if Puljujarvi or Draisaitl are struggling.

      • freelancer

        I really don’t. The question was what would you do and that’s what I would do. Seriously though the only team I can maybe see doing business with for him would be the Canes who might need some bottom 6 help. Having said that I can probably name 15 guys they would go after first.

  • Rob...

    IF the Oilers are going to make the playoffs I don’t see how trading Hendricks is the right move. He is a hard-nosed all in type player that the Oilers will desperately need. If instead they aren’t going to make the playoffs, Hendricks trade value will likely peak just before the trade deadline plus give the Oilers young players 2/3rds of a season with Hendo in the locker room.

    • FISTO Siltanen

      Agreed.

      If he had 3 years left on his deal, fine, look at some options. But he doesn’t.

      Look at what Jason Smith did for the Flyers after their disastrous ’07 season. He seemed like a throw in, but as I recall, he was given the C and the Flyers returned to relevance.

      Good leadership is valuable.

    • Rock11

      That’s all fine and I can’t disagree with the effort he brings except you are forgetting one thing…

      He’s not very good at hockey.

      This I think is a pretty major problem. His shot metrics are bad and he brings no offense to the table. You also have to ask yourself why most captains are the best or among the best players on the their team. It’s because you can’t be an effective leader if you can’t go out and do what you are preaching in the room. At some point you just end up being a guy running his mouth. This point made on this site many times when discussing Ference.

      He is eminently replaceable.

      • Rob...

        He led the team in hits. Was the top shot blocking forward, was second in TOI for shorthanded situations on a team with mediocre defence (Oil finished 18th in PK success). Are you looking at scoring related stats exclusively?

        • Rock11

          Ever ask yourself why certain players lead the team in blocked shots. Usually its because the other team has the puck the whole time they are on the ice. Same thing applies to hits. You aren’t hitting people if you have the puck on your stick.

          My point though, was not that he is useless as a player but that his skill set is limited and easily replaceable. In a cap world you can’t commit term and dollar to 4th line energy PK guys. Those spots need to be filled by guys making close to the minimum and you need the flexibility to move them out when they command more money. Chicago with Shaw is a prime example.

          The point on leadership stands on its own. Bottom of the roster players can’t be effective leaders. Human nature is to look to the people who can get things accomplished and Hendricks isn’t that guy. I’m not saying he is a problem that must go but he certainly isnt a solution to the problems either.

  • oilerjed

    So much for the offer sheet option

    CBC Sports Posted: Jun 29, 2016 11:01 AM ET Last Updated: Jun 29, 2016 11:01 AM ET :

    The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed young defenceman Seth Jones to a six-year contract, the team announced Wednesday. Jones, 21, will reportedly earn an average annual salary of $5.4 million US.

  • EB

    Mr. Willis,
    I like the idea of buying out Korpikoski but I don’t like the idea of buying out Fayne or trading Hendricks.

    Hendricks still plays valuable minutes on the PK and is a very serviceable 3/4 LW with only 1 year left in his contract. There is no reason to extend the pain of his salary beyond this year with a buyout and the return from a trade will likely be disappointing. Additionally; his veteran leadership is valuable as we still have a very young team.

    As for Fayne, As much as he is much derided by the fans and media extending the pain of his contract to 4 years rather than the current 2 does not make sense to me. The Oilers will be having McDavid, Draisaitl and nurse coming off of their ELC’s when we would still be paying for the buyout. Cap dollars will be tight then and Fayne can still play decent second line minutes when with Sekera and not overmatched.

    Korpikoski makes sense to be bought out as the pain would only be 2 years long and he is a replaceable player for under 1M a year. There are also a couple internal options from Bakersfield that can be tested as well to fill his role and add other lacking aspects to the team such as physicality.

      • Burnward

        12.5 x 8 has a nice ring to it. Kid can reset the bar. He’ll be pressured to do so and a lot of teams would be lining up.
        Either way, just something they better think of before spending wildly on Lucic, Demers etc.

    • 24% body fat

      I dont think this is the case. Other than Ovechkin all the top players took reasonable pay on there second contracts. Sid, Malkin, Toews, Kane, Kopitar, Tavares Stamkos, Seguin, Hall etc. (yes they are not all in the same class as connor) Some have won cups and other not. but the one thing for sure is that Ovechkin has never won a cup and probably never will. Elite players will get paid there whole career. Take an efficient contract, win the cup and than get paid.
      Crosby, Toews and Kane understand this and have won. Perry and Getzlaf as well. So now they can sign big contracts. Ovechking and Stamkos may never now because their contracts will hinder there GMS.

      McDavid 8 x 9m

        • Seanaconda

          Doubt he gets the max no player has yet. Towes and Kane are the highest paid atm I think and there 10 and a bit million is still 4 million under what a team can give a player. 20 % salary cap.

          Mcdavid may actually wanna win and be willing to sign for something reasonable. Or maybe he will resign at a crosby contract and take 9.7 mill

  • McRaj

    Buyout Korpi.

    Trade Pouliot for draft picks and sign a Cheap 3C or trade him for a less than 3M third line C.

    Trade Nuge in a package along with some combination of Reinhart, Yak, or picks for a top Pairing D-Man (Hamonic or Faulk or Signed Shattenkirk).

    Lucic – Con – Eberle

    Hall – Drai – Puju

    Maroon – 3rd C – Kassian/Cheap winger

    Hendo – Letestu – Paki/Khaira/Lander

    Klef – New Top pairing guy

    Sekera – Demers

    Davidson – Fayne (if can’t be trading by retaining a million)

    Nurse

    Talbot

    LB

    • IRONman

      This. All day

      Yes 97 contract will be 14 million because of Offer sheet

      70million @ 20% max is 14 million. Book it

      So. Win now is the wise way.

      You will always be losing good players

      Look at black hawks 2010,2013,2015

      Lucic brings what we need to win

      Don’t think we can dump Nuge or Ebs in 1 phone call?

      Our D is good if Healthy. 77??

      So 2 stay at home D. Plz.

      Keep 97,4,14,29,93,PK, and add Lucic

    • madjam

      We may end up with Subban yet , if Habs will get off hoping for Hall . Hall and McDavid are our

      two untouchables . But Eberle,Pouliot and Hopkins could be dealt , if we persue Okposo as well . 16M for 16 M . If Karlsson then we save an extra 2 M .

      Squad to look similar to this :

      Lucic , McDavid , Okposo

      Hall, Draisaitl, Puljujarvi

      Maroon, Letestu/Cagguila/Lander,Kassian/Pakareinen

      Hendricks ,Letestue/Cagguila/Lander,Pakareinen/Kassian

      Defense : Klefbom-Subban/Karlsson

      Sekara – Demers

      Davidson/Reinhart/Nurse – Gryba

      Can still protect major additions going the 8-1 route.

      • I am Batman

        Too many big names here…. I think we are lucky if we see one trade and 2 UFA signings. And I repeat, lucky.

        If I were a betting man I would bet no one of relevance gets moved, but why spoil a beautiful summer… If a significant move to improve our D happens, I will publicly eat crow and apologize for existing and auto ban myself from commenting on the site for an entire month.

        But I’m good, it ain’t gonna happen, the excuses started already.

  • camdog

    If a 6 million dollar man plus Yak head out the door that’s 8.5 million cleared right there.

    What I don’t understand is how Ference’s entire salary cap can go on LTIR for nest season? Doesn’t he have to be hurt for the entire season to give the Oilers 3.25 in cap coverages for the season? Has anybody heard an update on his status?

      • camdog

        If you think the Oilers are fixing all of their holes through Free Agency, well then sure they will be capped out. Let me guess you already have Lucic and Demers pencilled into the Oilers roster?

          • camdog

            “Gene Principe ‏@GenePrincipe 3h3 hours ago

            Only June 28 but one source said 100% and another 95% that @MilanLucicCFC17 will sign with @EdmontonOilers on July 1.Let’s see if it happens 184 retweets 146 likes”

            Being as this is your quote from a previous blog, sounds to me like you already have Lucic pencilled in on the Oilers roster…

  • Druds

    I think it will be easy to trade one of Ebs or RNH , now what you get for them is another matter but if you can get Dumba maybe and Demers it will make our D better than last year.

    Not brilliant but better.

    my thought anyways

  • Seanaconda

    I hate buyout math. They should change it to something simpler. The fact you can buy a guy out and get a cap bonus for a year and then a loss for a couple years after is just ridiculous. Would prefer if they just averaged all the buyout years instead of the Flux.

  • Gordie Wayne

    Get Larsson out of New Jersey for Eberle and Fayne…

    9.625 million going out and we get back an excellent shut down D on a bargain contract of 4.167 million for the next 4 years.

    That gives Oilers an additional 5.46 million in cap room with which they could use for another defenseman as well if needed.

    The D would be:

    Sekera-Demers
    Klefbom-Larsson
    Nurse-Davidson

    SOLID!

  • Nugent-Bagkins93

    I think we’ve got a great shot at picking top 5 again! Hall, McDavid, Nugent-Hopkins, Yakopov, Draisaitl and now puljujarvi…par for the course. No D or goaltending, rushed prospects to the NHL. Bottom 5 finish next season. Book it!

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I don’t understand the thinking of McDavid getting 12+ mil on his 2nd contract. Unless he wins all the trophies not named Calder and brings the cup back home in the next 2 years, I’d put a red bill on his next contract at 8 mil.

    I’d keep Hendricks and Fayne unless Carolina or Arizona needs the cap hit. Get rid of Korpi anyway possible.

    • The thing with mcdavid at $12 MM is that there’s no need for the oilers to lowball him. He seems like the real deal. With or without trophies in 2 years he’s still going to be the best player in the league and will be the reason other players want to go to Edmonton.

      • a lg dubl dubl

        That’s just it, Oilers won’t low ball him even at 8×8. Sure it’d be a “value” contract but, imo, nobody should get 12 mil without a couple rings on their fingers first.

  • I am Batman

    Trade a 6 mill dollar men for a decent 4-5 mill d (Faulk, Hamonic, Vatanen) balance the value (in hocke terms, not in money) with picks and prospects.

    Examples:

    Hall + for OEL or Karlsson
    Eberle for a Hamonic and whatever NY ask us for dumping that softy, if they want a pick or prospect they can have it
    RNH for Dumba , a strong prospect and a pick

    Trash away oiler nation, trash away, mark my words: no playoffs for us until one of those 3 is traded for a real Defense man. I like Nuge and Hall and I’d prefer to keep them (Ebs not so much) but we need someone to get the puck out of our own zone and give it to McJesus

  • YEGFan

    Trading RNH because you can replace him with Draisaitl maintains the rebuild and stretches it to 12 years instead of 10.

    Trading Eberle because you can replace him with Puljujarvi maintains the rebuild and stretches it to 14 years instead of 10.

    Losing strong top 6 players who are still 25 years old and replacing them with teenagers is sheer stupidity for the Oilers at this point.

  • DanQ

    Have not heard the name of John Carlson with the Capitals mentioned before, but could be a good alternative if signing Demers gets too expensive. Right shot with impressive PP production, and signed for under 4M/ year. Cannot help but think Washington would be interested in some younger legs especially in their bottom 6, and our cupboards are bursting with those. A 2 or 3 for 1 deal with Lander, Pouliot, Korpikoski, Letestu, Reinhart, Fayne, or possible salary retention.

  • iamSean

    Trade Eberle and Fayne for Shattenkirk; sign Okposo, Lucic, Demers; buy out Korpikoski; Trade Pouliot for a pick or prospect.

    Hall-Drai-Okposo
    Lucic-McDavid-Puljujarvi
    Maroon-Nuge-Yakupov
    Hendricks-Yakimov-Kassian
    Letestu-Pakarinen

    Klefbom-Shattenkirk
    Sekera-Demers
    Davidson-Nurse
    Gryba

  • 916oiler

    Buy out Korp. That one was easy.

    Preferably trade Fayne and Yakupov, possibly together. And then maybe even throw in a pick if the return is awesome enough? Ya, that’d be perfect!