What would you do with $2.5 million?

This season, the Oilers enter the season with just over $8 million in salary cap space, with $5.475 million of that being held as a bonus cushion thus leaving Peter Chiarelli and co. with $2.486 million to work with. What would you do with two and a half mil?

NHL Numbers says…



Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

We’re excited too Zack! ?? #Oilers #NHL

A photo posted by OilersNation (@officialoilersnation) on

As the Oilers enter the 2016 season, the team currently has 14 forwards under contract at the NHL level with some tough decisions to make prior to the 2017 season. While key players like Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Milan Lucic and Benoit Pouliot are locked up for at least another three seasons, it is the bottom half of the list that beings to become interesting. 

Looking forward, the big players that need to be signed in the next two years are Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Largely dependant on his performance this upcoming year, Leon Draisaitl is well due for a raise. 

Is it possible the team signs him long term? It’s possible for sure. The Oilers have long needed a large center with the prowess he brings. Now that he will be away from Taylor Hall for the season, and the rest of his career, it will be interesting to see what kind of a player the Oilers have in Draisaitl. Come next offseason, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Draisaitl signing a bridge contract. 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Connor McDavid on the other hand, will be due to get a huge, huge deal. If his career projects the way it looks like it could, he could very well be in 90-100 point territory by the time his entry level contract is up. Peter Chiarelli and co. will be tasked with putting their thinking caps on when it comes to his next deal. Would $8 million be enough to get him signed long term? One would hope so.

Both Nail Yakupov and Zack Kassian will be due for new deals when this season is up and as with Leon Draisaitl, their next contracts are largely dependant on this upcoming season.

Kassian seems to have found a rekindled love for the game and could be due for a breakout season this year however, Kassian is most likely to settle into a bottom-six role as long as he is an Edmonton Oiler.

Yakupov needs to set up and have a big season this year, or he could find himself playing for a new team as late as the NHL’s trade deadline. 

When I say D, you say fence!

With work still to be done on the defensive corps, the Oilers are in an interesting position moving forward. Right now, Andrej Sejera ($5.5 cap) is the only Oilers defender making over $5 million a year. Let’s hope that the now 30-year old Sekera can find the fountain of youth and still be effective three or four years from now when he is reaching his last years of his contract.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Outside of that, the Oilers have great contracts in Swede’s Oscar Klefbom and Adam Larsson who both only account for $4.167 against the cap. 

Next offseason, Griffin Reinhart is due for a refresher on his contract as he finished his entry level deal. Without much pedigree under his belt, he needs to have a big season at either the NHL, or the AHL. 

Darnell Nurse and Brandon Davidson both are due for new deals two season from now. As with Reinhart, both still have lots to prove when it comes to their NHL value. 

Of the three, Davidson has shown the most thus far when it comes to playing a strong 200-foot game. Nurse still has lots to work on, but both he and Davidson project to be top-four defenceman in the future.

In the net

Jonas Gustavsson was brought in simply as a backup, and Laurent Brossoit could very well challenge him for that spot this season. Despite his poor statistical performances, some were pleasantly surprised with Brossoit as a goaltender. He has the chance to take the reins as a future starting goaltender if he chooses to do so. 

In the meantime, Cam Talbot is a rock for the Oilers in the crease and is our best goaltender since Dwayne Roloson 10 years ago.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below


I know, I know. Chiarelli has seemed to have sat on his hands and opted to make a questionable deal moving Hall for Larsson. No matter how you try and boil it down, he removed a piece from a position of strength and added at a position of weakness. While I am still not sold on the deal, Larsson is going to be a fine defenceman for the Oilers moving forward.

When we look at the $2.5 million the Oilers truly have to play with, the options are limited for the team. 

It is of a personal belief that the Oilers will likely sit on their hands before the season starts, but there is always the off-chance the team signs a player (or few) to Professional Try Outs. Maybe one of those guys to a one-year deal.

Are you concerned about the way the Oilers salary cap is lining up for the future?

  • Randaman

    For the first upcoming season in a loooooong time, I’m somewhat optimistic about the team and their turn north. At least I hope they turn north even though they turned south to the new arena. LOL

    I say stay put except for maybe offering Boyle a PTO. He would be a good fit for one more year of growth for Davidson, Nurse & Reinhart.

  • fisherprice

    Keep the space, see where this team goes this year, maybe try and make a trade for someone a little more pricey if things are going well. Cap space isn’t something you always need to use.

    You’re also dreaming if you think McDavid is coming in at $8 million, especially if he notches an Art Ross in the meanwhile or a Hart nomination. Crosby came out of his entry level at $8.7 million and the AAV on contracts haven’t exactly trended downwards since then. I’d honestly be happy if he comes in under $10 million.

    • Dobbler

      It’s not complicated. It’s a competative market to get players who are both cost effective and can contribute. Every team is looking for these guys. One of your best hopes is that you can see value or potential where someone else missed it. Remember Reider, Vandevelde, Arcobello? Other teams got/are still getting mileage off of these players that the Oilers didn’t put much value in, and we’re a basement team.

  • Spydyr

    “Cam Talbot is a rock for the Oilers in the crease”

    Price is a rock.Quick is a rock. Rocks do not lose the starters job after a month of crappy play.

      • Spydyr

        One or two games sure everyone is human. The entire month of November is a tad bit different.

        It cost the Oilers their season. With the current backup goalie I can see the same thing happening this upcoming season as well.

        If Talbot falters like he did last year or is injured there goes the season,yet again.

    • Beaumatters

      Your memory is too short. Price was once a question mark in Montreal and is now a mountain. Credit to Talbot for bouncing back and playing solid after his bad month. Still lots to prove, but looks solid to me.

      • Spydyr

        We are talking about the here and now not a decade ago.

        Sure Talbot may become a starting goalie like Price or he could just as easily not make it as a starter. Like you said he still has lots to prove. IMO a few month good run does not a starting goalie make. If he plays good all next season then I would consider him established.

        My issue is not with Talbot(I want him to succeed) my issue is with not getting a backup that could challenge him for the starters job. Push him and fill in if he falters or gets injured.

        The Oilers have put all there goaltending eggs into Talbot’s basket.

  • Spydyr

    The #Oilers have signed Matthew Benning to a two-year, entry-level contract! The 22-year-old d-man played 41 games for Northeastern University last season, scoring 19 points & helping the Huskies win the Hockey East title. He is the son of former NHL blueliner Brian Benning.

  • madjam

    I think we are in cap hell now if Reinhart 2.3M and Puljujarvi 2.5M hit their bonuses this year , not to mention Drake .425M and Slepychev .6M . That could eat up far more than the 2 M we have to work with . Next year ,not that much relief either , and trying to sign new contracts could be dicey . If we have a good season this year contract prices will rise substantially . The better the results the costlier it will become .

    I don’t think Chia in reality has a penny to add anybody .

    • TruthHurts98

      Vegas is going to take a player, probably Pouliot. 4 mil freed up there. Hopefully Benson develops to take his spot or Khaira. PC will have to trade someone making 6 mil for a RHD as well I’m guessing. So enough to sign Leon. When Yak is traded or let go another 2 mil plus. They’ll be more than fine.

  • Cape Breton Oilers

    Trade Mark Fayne ($3.625M x 2 years) + 2017 1st round pick for Mike Green ($6M x 2 years)

    Lucic – McDavid – Yakupov

    Pouliot – Nuge – Eberle

    Maroon – Draisaitl – Puljujarvi

    Hendricks – Letestu – Kassian

    Klefbom – Larsson

    Sekera – Green

    Nurse – Davidson


    • RJ

      If they could get Mike Green from 2008-2010, then he’d be a difference-maker. I wouldn’t trade the first rounder for him. Not based on last year’s performance.

  • Randaman

    Or they could sign Benning! That’s awesome news. One more RHD in the stable. A very good player by reports I have read.

    What does that say about Vancouver?

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I didn’t like how Talbot started his year with the Oilers last year. Weak pre season and then giving up that goal against Frolik with seconds left really was a nightmare.

    But he re-established himself and was very solid after Xmas. Better and better as the year went on in my opinion, and then was fantastic at the World Championship as well. He needs to be good.

  • Cowbell_Feva

    I really hope Klefbom can come back without too much rust and Nurse can take a step or 2 towards being a mean top 4 player that can become as elite as he was at the WJHC a few years back. I think Darnell will become a beast.

    Still a lot of questions marks however on the blueline. Dan Boyle would be a nice PTO option in my mind.
    Veteran guy that has tons of PP experience and a history with McLellan.

  • Oiler Al

    2.5 million to spend, your in 29th place in the NHL, and playoffs are still a dream, something that has not happened in 10 years.

    A well managed Katz team.