Oilers to buy out Benoit Pouliot

According to multiple sources, the Edmonton Oilers have placed Benoit Pouliot on waivers with the purpose of buying him out.

He’s signed for two more years at a cap hit of $4 million, but a buyout would eliminate his contract and cost the Oilers $1,333,333 against the cap for four years. That’s ultimately a savings of $2,666,667 for the next two seasons, but an additional cost of $1,333,333 for the two seasons after that.

Pouliot had been a mixed bag with the Oilers since signing that five-year, $20 million deal back in the Craig MacTavish era. Over his first two seasons with the club, Pouliot produced at a level you’d expect him to. His 0.65 and 0.59 points-per-game figures in 2015-16 and 2014-15 respectively are the two best of his career, but injuries shortened both of those seasons to under 60 games.

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Last season was a disaster for Pouliot. He played in 67 games, recording only eight goals and six assists, a career-low 0.21 points-per-game. Of course, injuries played a part in that decline, but Pouliot’s frequent uninspired play and frustrating offensive zone penalties earned him a spot in Todd McLellan’s doghouse.

The timing of this buyout is somewhat curious. As we’ve discussed many times since the end of the playoffs, the Oilers aren’t really in a cap bind until Connor McDavid’s extension begins in 2018-19. Apparently that’s going to cost the team in the ballpark of $13 million annually. Had the Oilers waited and executed this buyout in July 2018, they would only be on the hook for a penalty of $1,333,333 for two seasons. Obviously Pouliot isn’t a top-six player worth $4 million, but he’s still an adequate NHL depth player.

The Oilers easily could have fit Leon Draisaitl’s new contract — even at the ridiculous $9 million cap hit that’s been thrown around — into their cap picture with Pouliot at $4 million on the roster. With that in mind, you have to wonder if they’re looking to free up cap room to make an addition on July 1, though multiple sources around the team have suggested the roster is set. 

The Oilers’ cap situation with Pouliot bought out can be viewed at NHLNumbers. 

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  • Ready to Win

    There are a few aging UFAs around the league who had decent seasons last year. Maybe one of them is coming here on a one year contract for one last shot at the cup.

  • the reasonable person

    Love the message this and the other moves have sent loud and clear… If you’re not helping Connor’s team win, you’re gone without question. I like Nuge, but hopefully he’s absorbs this message and will have career years in his remaining time here. Must be tough on the ‘lil guy seeing all his buddies get shipped out of town at first opportunity.

  • Can't Fix Stupid

    Just spit balling here, so San Jose wants to move on from Thornton and Marleau. What does ON think of Chiarelli making a pitch to Thornton? A second line center who can also play wing who wins draws and is still good for 50-60 points. I heard he has no interest in uprooting the family so it would have to be something worth him coming. As of now the Oilers have 18 million available in cap space (worst case is LD signs for 10 mil) so assuming that is the case there is 8 million left. I’m not sure who else needs to be signed as of this moment. RNH could try wing perhaps?

    I know it is a pipe dream but it would be fun to be a fly on the wall in the GM room right now.

    • bazmagoo

      I’ve thought this is a possibility too. Maybe Thornton gets signed and Nuge gets traded for a RW, maybe Gallagher from the Habs? I’ve heard they want a center badly. A friend pointed out one thing to me though, remember Jumbo Joe is coming off an ACL injury.

      • Bagged Almond Milk

        If the cap space is there, I’d offer Joe some pretty big money to take a 1 year deal. I remember him being very very good in the playoffs, and he was injured… I’d like both the deals you mentioned

        • Can't Fix Stupid

          Problem with RNH being traded is that he is a career 42% FOW (give or take) so he is definitely not the center any team is looking for. I don’t see him being moved for a Gallagher type player.

          Thornton made 6.75 last year. Do teams offer him 2 X 5 mil? 1 X 7 mil to move him from California? The cap now gets tricky. I think with the ACL injury and his age he will mostly get 1 year offers. With today’s medical advancements I would think that he comes back, if not stronger, at least as good as he was last year. With 97 slotted in 1C Thornton would, in theory, be getting lesser completion in the 2C slot.

          The one advantage Edmonton
          MIGHT have over other teams is McLellan.

  • Mr.Snrub

    >Oilers to buy out Benoit Pouliot June 29 2017
    >Oilers to buy out Kris Russell June 29 2019
    >Oilers to buy out Milan Lucic June 29 2021

    Does this team know you don’t always have to have someone on the Buried and or Buyout list?

  • Serious Gord

    this tells you how bad the cap crunch is going to be in 2018-19. Chia might end up so over the barrel that he has to do a sutter and put less than a full roster on the bench for the last dozen games of the season.

  • The timing of this move tells me that talks with a certain UFA’s went well and they need to have the cash freed up for July 1. For me, the indications would be certain veteran players looking to ride the McDavid wave in 2017-18. There are no better candidates than the aging, but serviceable, Sharks UFA’s.

    The Oilers suddenly need a lot of help at LW. Who will it be?
    Patrick Marleau?
    Patrick Sharp?
    The Oilers were the worst face-off team in the league last year.
    Joe Thorton?
    Martin Hanzal? (he is so hot right now)
    The Oilers need a RD for that can play the PP.
    Kevin Shattenkirk? (don’t hold your breath)
    Dan Girardi? (I hope not)

    July 1st just got a whole lot more interesting for the Oilers.

  • toprightcorner

    This buy out suprised me, I figured with McDavids contract not effective until next year, they would buy out Pouliot next year and only have 1 extra year of cap to pay.

    This could be good news as PC may have spoken to a couple free agents and have a deal worked out, likely for a center like Boyle or Bonino. Hanzal will want at least 4 x 4.5 and unless PC plans to trade Nuge next year, I doubt that happens. They could go cheaper with a vet like Winnick, Moore or even Cullen. That 4LW could be filled by JK easily.

    Could also be to ad a Vrbata or Williams on the right side, cap savings will almost cover it.

    Hopefully it is not bad news, meaning Chairelli could be looking to over pay Draisaitl with an 8.5 – $9.5 mill contract and that would be a mistake. If they are that far apart, I would trade him for a Parayko and Fabri or trade package Russel and get Schenn included.

    This is definitely smoke so sooner or later we will see fire.

  • Jaxon

    Pouliot scored at the same Even Strength Primary Points Per 60 rate as Lucic this season. When do they put Lucic on waivers? They were both outscored by McDavid, Maroon, Draisaitl, Nuge and Kassian. They were also outscored by Pitlick, Pakarinen and Puljujarvi, but those are based on small sample sizes.

    • P0pcan

      Cuz pouliot does nothing better then anyone and lucic atleast has a intimidation factor to him
      You don’t see a lot of players running are guys anymore and the reason for that is guys like lucic

  • tileguy

    Don’t like this move, Pouliot has value as a PK specialist and more than capable of a bounce back year. Big body that can’t be pushed around, I will be extremely disappointed if there is nothing in the pipeline.

    • ed from edmonton

      One thing that is becoming more obvious of the PC/TodMc regime is that when they decide a player is not what they want, they don’t keep them around. Fayne, Yak, Ebs, Pou etc. They had seen enough of Pou, the timing however suggests they have some specific plans for the $ freed up.

  • Spiel

    Remember when Pouliot was signed?
    “This Pouliot deal features sensible money. He’s a classic Oiler from the 96-06 period: a “bust” who can play. This is stunning.” – Tyler Dellow

  • ed from edmonton

    So the net result is freeing up ~2.7M in cap this year and having a notional extra $1.3 fours years from now. It would seem that PC has some specific plans for this cash. We will know more on Saturday.

  • Sammy p

    OMG will this team ever get over the damage caused by inept,stupid moves that were made by the preceding management group?Hang down your head Kevin Lowe,Craig Mctavish,Steve Tambelliniq et al and all of the sycophants that supported them during their disastrous tenure with the Oilers.