The Edmonton Oilers placed Benoit Pouliot on waivers today, choosing to move on from the veteran. This continues a run on 2016-17 wingers being offloaded this summer, as Jordan Eberle is in Brooklyn, Tyler Pitlick is heading for free agency and Leon Draisaitl is possibly heading for center.
Lots of discussion today about the buyout being Draisaitl offer sheet insurance, or making sure the Oilers have enough dollars to add at the deadline. I’m not buying. Why? Two reasons:
- Even if you give Leon Draisaitl a $9.5 million cap, there’s still cap space (NHLNumbers) even if you include ALL POSSIBLE BONUSES.
- If you look at the current depth chart (sans Benoit Pouliot) the lack of experience among the wingers is crushing.
Edmonton has flushed $10 million in salary from the wingers by moving Eberle and Pouliot, but the cost (cap hit for buyout aside) is an extreme lack of experience. These moves mean Edmonton would start opening night with four or five (of eight) wingers who would have fewer than 100 NHL games experience.
I get the idea of letting young men grow into a role as regulars, but it’s unwise to have them audition four at a time. October wins count for two points just like the ones in March, and enduring the growing pains of youth in the early days of the coming season could put the Oilers so far behind they would be unable to catch up.
If Peter Chiarelli is buying out Benoit Pouliot in order to have a mid-season rainy day fund then you should be highly critical. NHL teams who treat the first part of the season as an audition can be found in the first two rows of each season’s draft seating.
I expect we’ll see additions in July, early or late.