The Edmonton Oilers are going to bring back a lot of the 2016-17 roster, with only Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot, Matt Hendricks, Tyler Pitlick and Brandon Davidson (among veterans who played a lot) exiting among regular players.
The shakeup for Edmonton will occur mostly on the wing. LW has incumbent veterans Patrick Maroon and Milan Lucic, and chances are Jussi Jokinen will also line up there. Add in youngster Drake Caggiula and the (now waiver eligible) best LW prospect on the farm in Jujhar Khaira, and there seems to be some consistency and enough proven talent to have success in 2017-18.
Last season, the Oilers RW at-bats were used on Leon Draisaitl, Jordan Eberle, Zack Kassian, Anton Slepyshev, Tyler Pitlick, Jussi Puljujarvi and Iiro Pakarinen. Eberle and Pitlick are gone and Leon Draisaitl appears destined to play center in 2017-18.
WHAT DOES THIS TELL US?
The trade for Ryan Strome gives Edmonton a RHC who can take draws on his strong side while Connor McDavid (or Leon, or Nuge) take their strong side LH draws. I am not a faceoff zealot but a lot can happen in the seconds after an offensive zone win or defensive zone loss and winning faceoffs probably doesn’t lead to wins (or I haven’t read the study proving it).
We know Todd McLellan likes centers who can play wing and wingers who can play center and Strome’s presence gives the team a different look.
It’s pretty clear by now that Peter Chiarelli wants to see what Jesse Puljujarvi and Anton Slepyshev can do, might want to throw Drake Caggiula in that sentence as well. One of the reasons we know Puljujarvi is in the plans surrounds the cap and cap bonus issues.
This year, the Oilers are carrying an overage on entry bonuses that lands somewhere shy of $1 million. Management must be calculating the maximum, otherwise we’d be seeing more activity in my opinion (and we could see it when LD signs his deal).
PROJECTED ROSTER AND CAP 2017-18
- This could have some incorrect numbers (cap overage) and of course Leon Draisaitl could come in at more or less than $8 million.
- The estimate ($73,344,000) includes all bonuses available ($7.525M) which is extremely unlikely.
- Bonus numbers include Connor McDavid ($2.85M), Jesse Puljujarvi ($2.5M), Darnell Nurse ($850,000), Anton Slepyshev ($600,000), Drake Caggiula ($425,000), Matt Benning ($300,000).
- I think it’s fair to assume Connor McDavid will max out, but Jesse Puljujarvi’s bonus hit is something the Oilers shouldn’t have to consider as likely. Right? Well, Leon Draisaitl cashed one year ago, and Peter Chiarelli may feel like being conservative entering the season, wishing to guarantee no overages for 2018-19.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
If the Oilers sign Leon Draisaitl to a major deal ($7.5M+) and then close up shop for the summer, there’s a very good chance what I’ve written above is close to accurate. Only a very conservative cap approach to 2017-18 would have Peter Chiarelli—who spends to the cap annually—stopping so far from this year’s cap.