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Photo Credit: James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

Have the McDavid/Draisaitl contracts torpedoed Edmonton’s cap situation?

Last week, the Edmonton Oilers re-signed Leon Draisaitl to an eight-year contract, thereby (probably) finalizing their roster for next season and giving us a good idea of what they’ll look like beyond that.

The salary cap situation going forward is going to be difficult, but if the Oilers plot their decisions carefully it should be navigable.

Commitments, 2018-19

LW C RW LD RD G
McDavid Draisaitl Klefbom Larsson Talbot
$12,500,000 $8,500,000 $4,167,000 $4,166,667 $4,166,667
Lucic Nugent-Hopkins Puljujarvi Sekera Benning Brossoit
$6,000,000 $6,000,000 $925,000 $5,500,000 RFA RFA
Slepyshev Strome Kassian Nurse Russell
RFA RFA $1,950,000 RFA $4,000,000
Caggiula Khaira Pakarinen Gryba Buyouts
RFA $675,000 RFA $900,000 $1,333,333

If we look solely at signed players, Edmonton is committed to a total cap hit of $60.8 million for the 2018-19 season. It’s prudent for planning purposes to assume a flat cap—$75.0 million—given how slow growth has been in the NHL the last couple of years, though the actual figure is likely to increase a little.

Assuming no big deferred bonuses, that gives the team roughly $14.2 million to deal with its free agents (both restricted and unrestricted) as well as any additions it makes. This figure doesn’t include Jesse Puljujarvi’s entry-level bonuses, which could be extensive and may well complicate matters, because so far it’s debatable how many of them he’ll hit.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Edmonton has three significant unrestricted free agents, and a few of the lesser variety:

  • LW Patrick Maroon (current hit: $1.5 million). Maroon is in line for a big raise whether he stays in Edmonton or not. Is he a replaceable complementary player, or does his combination of size/scoring mean he needs to be locked down? Something in the $4.0 million range seems like a decent bet for his next deal.
  • C Mark Letestu ($1.8 million). Not many players set career-best totals at age 32. Edmonton’s going to have a difficult choice if Letestu does it again, and an easier (though sadder) one if he doesn’t. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s able to command a small raise on a multi-year deal with a good season.
  • LW/RW Jussi Jokinen ($1.1 million). This year’s bargain signing probably doesn’t figure into the long-term plans. If he’s a perfect fit and has a good year, he might double his contract; if not, there will be other cheap veteran wingers around next summer.
  • Other UFAs: RD Mark Fayne, LD Yohann Auvitu. Fayne obviously won’t be back, while Auvitu is unlikely to be expensive even if he is.

Restricted Free Agents

It’s hard to say how many of the Oilers’ seven NHL RFA’s are going to require significant expenditure to retain. The number could be as low as one or as high as six:

  • C/RW Ryan Strome (current hit: $2.5 million). We don’t know where Strome is going to play, and as a right shot it’s conceivable he gets time both with Connor McDavid and on a top power play unit. Assuming a year similar to his last two (30-ish points), qualifying him would cost $3.0 million.
  • RD Matt Benning (up to $1.08 million). Defencemen typically don’t make a lot on their second contracts, but there’s a chance Benning gets the power play ball and runs with it this coming season. Assuming that doesn’t happen but that Benning works his way into the No. 4 slot at evens for a good chunk of the year, we’re probably still talking something in the $2.0 million range.
  • LD Darnell Nurse (up to $1.71 million). Outside of the power play stuff, a lot of the Benning write-up applies to Nurse. I think it’s more likely he’s the team’s No. 5 defender – though a step forward is undeniably possible – and if so even with his draft pedigree it’s hard to imagine him coming in much higher than something in the $1.5 million range on a shorter deal.
  • LW/RW Anton Slepyshev (up to $1.53 million) and C/LW Drake Caggiula (up to $1.35 million). Some young winger is going to get an opportunity to play up the Oilers lineup. Puljujarvi may take the job and run with it, which would almost be worse in that he’d be triggering more of his bonuses. One of these guys could cash-in, but it’s probably as likely that both have third-line seasons and end up being cheap to re-sign. Barring a breakthrough, Edmonton might be able to keep both for $2.5 million.
  • Other RFAs: RW Iiro Pakarinen, G Laurent Brossoit. Fourth line wingers and backup goalies don’t generally cost much to bring back.

Navigating the Cap

When we’re looking at our original $14 million-and-change budget, the place to start is with Edmonton’s RFAs. Using the rough estimate above for all seven and barring a crazy season from anyone, the total expenditure comes in around $11 million. That leaves $3.0 million for three roster slots, with two of them fourth line/end-of-roster roles that should be cheap to address. Add in a cheap veteran winger, the 2018-19 version of Jokinen, and the Oilers can probably survive (depending on Puljujarvi’s bonus situation) without trading anyone, merely at the expense of some pricey UFA losses.

The situation changes if some of those young guys really explode, but even then a couple of million might be covered off by NHL revenue growth and a corresponding increase to the cap. It’s really not so bad.

Where things get tricky is if Maroon is re-signed after another great goal-scoring season. Barring a big year in NHL revenue growth, bringing him back means moving out a big ticket – almost certainly one of Russell, Sekera or Nugent-Hopkins, given Lucic’s contract details and the importance of all the other expensive players. One other player to keep an eye on is Strome, who has that $3.0 million qualifying offer; if he has a poor debut campaign in Edmonton he might be one-and-done for salary reasons, particularly if Letestu or Jokinen look like keepers at the same time.

What might also make things difficult is if Edmonton makes a big splash at the trade deadline. If they bring in a pricey rental guy and have success with him, it might make sense to re-sign him and sacrifice one or more of the others on this list. Now we’re veering pretty hard into the speculative, though.

There’s also the matter of 2019-20. Cam Talbot will be an unrestricted free agent and Jesse Puljujarvi’s entry-level deal will be over. That’s not quite as bad as it sounds. Talbot will probably be due for a raise but already costs nearly $4.2 million against the cap, while Edmonton is dancing around Puljujarvi’s bonus situation throughout this scenario anyway.

None of this is going to be easy, but it’s doable. Despite a few questionable contracts on the team roster, it would be a mistake to be overly pessimistic about Edmonton’s salary cap situation at this point.

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  • singlemalt

    The difference between what some say he should have got and what he did get is $1million and if $1million is going to torpedo our chances then we have bigger problems than Drai’s contract and I don’t think we do. So rather than twist myself in knots, I’m gonna sit back and enjoy the year! Go oil go!

    • Rock11

      For every player that gets signed it is easy to say “well it is a slight overpay but we needed the player so I’m OK with it”. The challenge becomes when there get to be numerous examples of it at one time. Drai, Russell, and Lucic all fall into this category for me and if we were to shave $3 million or so off of the cap hit that would provide lots of room to play for the GM either at the trade deadline or in the summer. With Drai maybe you shrug it off and say that he is the second most valuable Oiler and you need to make sure you keep him and keep him happy. If you are going to go that route though then you need to be absolutely ruthless with the rest of the roster or the cap gets used up in a hurry.

  • AlexTheOilersFan

    I’m not worried about the Oilers cap situation. We all know the cap will rise as seasons go by, plus I trust Chiarelli to manage things as best as he can. Everything Peter has done so far has been beneficial to the Oilers and so and I continue to put my faith in him. He’s a smart hockey guy and will continue to do right by this organization

    • Serious Gord

      There is no guarantee the cap will rise. The trend is towards slower growth. And if the players get their way with escrow it could go significantly negative in the next CBA.

      (That the NHL and other leagues express and negotiate salaries in dollar amounts rather than percentages of 100% of the cap is a amazing to me. Doing so would rid the league of all the uncertainty around future earnings in contract negotiations. )

      • JimmyV1965

        Not sure what you mean if the players get their way with escrow. They have always had the final decision with escrow and it’s the players who have always voted in favour of increasing the escrow. They might not like it, but they keep voting to increase if.

        • Serious Gord

          If the escrow amount is reduced then the amount of holdback the teams have to adjust for fluctuations (read: shortfall) in revenues is reduced. That means in order for teams not to have to bill/demand repayment of an overpaid bit of salary the cap will have to be reduced to reduce the risk of that happening (that’s why escrow is what it is. That the Players and agents don’t understand it amazes me). That means if the new CBA reduces escrow and thus the cap, old contracts like Drais and Mcds will be will be really troublesome under the new lesser cap.

      • ed from edmonton

        The recent slower growth in Cap has been driven largely by the declining C$ over the last few years in a league where significant amount of revenue is in C$. With the recentt weakness in the US$, the C$ has risen by about 10% which is not insignificant.

  • Homer

    As much as I love the Nuge this guys has to pick it up this season or he’ll be moved. He’s horrible on the dot so I figure his best chance is to figure out being a winger and rack up as many points as possible while still showing his defensive responsibility otherwise is bye bye Nuge as this team can’t afford a 6 mill 3rd line centre that can’t win a faceoff

    • Rusty

      I totally agree, Nuge has to have a better year this year, particularly in the faceoff dot. However there are some things that factor in the equation and the main thing is injuries. GM’s love depth (particularly centre depth). if mcDavid or Drai go down short or long term its great to have that depth to slot in as needed. The other thing is versatility. Mclelan showed in SJ he likes players that can move not only up and down the lineup but side to side as well. Thats what makes drai so valuable. having nuge potentially play wing and centre as needed depending on matchups/injuries/chemistry could be invaluable as the season moves along.

      You’re totally right though if hes third or fourth line all year due to lack of production he’ll be shipped out and we may have to eat salary to do it. .

    • ed from edmonton

      An interesting dynamic that might emerge this year is Strome/RNH. Strome has shown he can play either wing or center and many here think that RNH’s hope to stay is if he can do the same. If Strome has a productive season (say 40+ points) he might look like a much more costs effective version of RNH.

    • Big Nuggets

      6 mil is a large sum of money but Todd likes extra centermen around and a skilled player entering his prime years is a quality asset. If Nuge shows this season that he can effectively play wing with either McD or Drai I think they will keep him around for the versatility. I love Maroon and his size is welcome on McD’s wing, but it may not be enough to sacrifice Nuge. We’ll have to see how this season plays out I guess.

    • Kingoiler78

      What’s to love? He brings nothing of value to the team. As Oiler fans we are guilty of overvaluing some of our players. Let’s be honest, if RNH was on another team we would all day he sucks. It’s time to admit that he isn’t who we thought he would be and his $6 mil cap hit is crippling to the team. If I was Chia, I would trade him before he loses even more value. We really need that cap space. That being said, looking forward to this season. We have two of the best centres in the league. No matter what their cap hit is, it’s a problem everybody team would love to have. Go Oil!

  • OriginalPouzar

    It hasn’t torpedoed it – as you say its manageable if Chiarelli navigates properly and makes prudent and shrewd decisions going forward.

    We have cost certainty with our top 2 centers and top 2 d-man long term.

    We build around those 4 players and Talbot.

    When players such as Maroon price themselves out of Edmonton, we need to replace them with cheap young wingers on the ELCs or 2nd contracts that outproduce their cap hits.

    Maroon to be replaced by Drake/JP/Slep/Strome.

    Those players stepping up to be replaced by Benson/Yamamoto/etc.

    The key is to draft well and develop.

    The issue I have is recondiling:

    1) being contenders and buyers at the deadline – picks going out

    with

    2) needing picks in order to have the steady stream of prospects to replace the veterans.

    • OriginalPouzar

      Chiarelli has shown the ability to make shrewd moves and good bets (Maroon and Kassian trades. Jokinen and Auvitu signings) but has also shown the ability to overpay in cap hit and term to non-core players (Russell with trade protection when he has 2 d-men nipping at his bud in the depth chart – should have found a short term stop-gap – even Franson or Wideman).

      • JimmyV1965

        I think Chia has demonstrated a remarkable vision for building a balanced team and identifying useful players with potential for growth. It’s his poor negotiating skills that might torpedo his success. I worry about his ability to negotiate contracts and trades.

  • madjam

    Good breakdown Willis . I agree that Jesse could mess things up if he turns into the player I feel he will become , but that could be 2 years away and bridge may alleviate most of that problem (defer) . Perhaps another youth busting thru could face similar situation . We have some workable space but not a lot .

  • Jay (not J)

    Nope impossible. The only way to win in this league is with garbage players that don’t command decent contracts. The DoD? That was our window. 10 years of opportunity before the team was cruelly saddled with the job of actually managing the cap. Connor McDavid means no chance to compete. Too bad Calgary didn’t get stuck with that boat anchor.

  • Rusty

    Great article Jonathan. There is a lot of sky is falling around the oilers and their cap going into next year. Thanks for breaking it down reasonably with some projections so fans have an idea of what to expect as you see it. I totally agree with you. I don’t see any need to immediately push a player out the door (NUGE) to make room for other contract. resigning. There is a bit of wriggle room and i believe with a bit of cap growth (vegas might add some serious revenue to the league), and some shrewd contracts to maroon, benning and nurse that are value deals, the oilers will be in very good shape.

  • tileguy

    I look forward to multiple draft picks per round as good players have to be jettisoned in order to stay under the cap. We might never miss the playoffs again.

    • tileguy

      Hmmmmm, 3 trashes. I think we could get an extra first round pick for Maroon and probably a couple of picks for Nuge. Those picks will be dam valuable after a year or two of seasoning and we will have to resign guys like Klef, Larson, maybe Nurse as well. Gotta think 3-4 years ahead guys.

  • Northernlights

    You can be successful in a cap world. If Nuge is the next to go you better put him in a position to be successful this season so we can max out in a trade.

  • Consultant

    Too bad they didn’t wait a month and signed Drai at 7.2 ish.
    That extra 1.3 would have been nice. I still don’t understand the rush to pay him so much. I believe he will likely be worth it but surely a little more patience would have saved them some valuable cap space for the next 8 years… Liut won that “negotiation” by a landslide.

    • gr8haluschak

      What color is the sky in your world to think he was getting that low, I can buy those that think he is 500k or 1 mil overpaid but this is just getting stupid

      • Consultant

        Chia had all sorts of arguments: short sample size (last summer he could have likely been signed for under 5 million) he has a strong year, mostly on McDavid’s wing plus a great two round playoff and all of sudden he deserves 8.5?? The McDavid impact is huge, looks like Chia forgot to bring that up. Comparable contracts seemed to top out at 7.8 (Kuznetsov). Gaudereau makes 6.8, I know he is short but he also runs their offense. The biggest reason why I think they could have signed him for much less is that his agent Liut is known for playing hardball until training camp so why not wait a month and wiggle it down… They were a ton of RFA years in Drai’s deal, more than Kuznetsov… Chia had tons of leverage, but he apparently didn’t use it. In my mind it was his worst move as Oilers GM, even worse than the Reinhart deal, but that is just my opinion here sitting under a blue sky. It won’t look bad in the future because I do believe Drai will succeed, but saving 1 million or 1.3 per year for 8 years is in my mind a big deal.

        • gr8haluschak

          If you think this is the worst thing Chia has done you are an idiot plain and simple.

          I love how you sit there and cherry pick two players as comparables and think that an agent is not going to have his list of them either. You can start at between 7.5 and 7.8 because that is where Tarasenko and Kuzentzov got (2 years ago and a few months ago respectively) and it increases from there because 6 ft 3 210lb centres are a premium, then you throw in the Ryan Johanssen contract and Koptiar’s second contract – who are also comparable to Leon in terms of the player he would have got in the 7.8 to 8.5 mil easily.

          Also I love the short sample size argument yet you trumpet Kuzentsov’s as the comparable – almost identical sample sizes and results except Kuzentsov is 3 years older.

          You can cry about that 1.3 mil, you know what the result of that is – no more garbage 3 and 4 liners making over 2 million per year like in the old days, that is it.

        • Big Nuggets

          I think it was really about showing Draisaitl that they value him so Chia acquiesed(is that the word?) to Drai’s demands. keep the big stallion happy instead of arguing over an extra million. now Chia has to haggle with the 3rd and 4rth liners, and they may take less to stay on the perrenial contender that the Oilers now are.
          Still not happy about the Pou buyout as I think we could have got rid of him next season saving the cap hit over the next 4 years. Jokinen’s cap hit is 1.1 mil but when you consider we needed to buy out Pou to sign him, the cap hit is more like 2.4 mil. and the future years mean it is more difficult through the first few years of the McD and Drai contracts. still dont know what the mindset was on that buyout.

  • ed from edmonton

    I don’t think there is any doubt the Oil will need to dump a salary prior to the 18/19 season. It may be by trading (eg RNH) or not resigning (Maroon). I don’t find tis distressing at all. As long as the “core” is maintained (CMcD, LD, Talbot, Klef, Larssen) are maintained the Oil will be a team to be reckoned with.

  • I think Nuge’s future depends on Strome’s cheaper ability.

    Currently…
    1. Strome is slated to play on McDavid’s RW
    2. Draisaitl will play 2C
    3. Nuge will play 3C

    Ideally….
    1. Puljujarvi will eventually be playing on McDavid’s RW
    2. Draisaitl will stay at 2C
    3. Strome will play 2RW or 3C if he has a good season. If it’s 3C, then Nuge has been replaced at a cheaper contract. To pay Maroon (+$3m) and bump up Nurse and Benning among others, Nuge and Russell are expensive cap odd men out.

    • If Maroon isn’t resigned, then you wouldn’t let him just walk–there’s too much value there now. That said, it would be a shame if he’s not as he’s been a perfect complimentary player to McDavid–tough, skilled, fast, gritty, goes to the net, great in the locker room, loved by fans. No other player has had better ppg numbers with McDavid than Maroon. Why would they give that up?

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    This is a bit off topic, so apologies, but I noticed something in this Nation-BOA. You guys troll a lot on FN but you never mention your coach. I think Todd’s the sh!t.

    You trolls should show him some love.

      • BringtheFire 2.0

        @madjam

        That’s exactly my point! You can bash our players with your players all day and vice versa, but from a troll-perspective you guys could have a point with the whole; “Our coach is better than your coach AND what’s up with that hair??” Yet you guys don’t push it.

        After all, even a generational talent like Connor doesn’t rack up THOSE kind of points without good coaching.

        Show some love for the man!!

        • McDavid's Comet

          @ BreathingtheFire 2.0

          So what you are saying is: Oilers not only have better players than the fLames but their coach is also superior too? *I like the way you troll.

          *I’m not sure you are trolling.

          • BringtheFire 2.0

            I’m actually not trolling. There’s been a lot of that on FN. We’re both hoping our teams have turned a corner and we both have a right to be excited, but in all the hoopla with McDavid and Leon and chia bashing vs. The Tre and Johnny bashing…Todd never gets any love from you guys.

            I recognize strengths and weaknesses on both sides and your coaching is a definite strength that doesn’t get talked up enough.

  • TKB2677

    The issue with the Oilers and upcoming contracts is when I look at their contracts, I don’t see a ton that are over payments where they screwed up and paid too much.

    Talbot makes 4.166 mill. Given how good he was, I think he should have been in the vezina voting, I don’t see how you get any cheaper. He’s probably a top 10 goalie. SO I don’t see how you get much cheaper for that quality of a goalie. Price is set to make 10.5 mill and I would rate Price slightly higher than Talbot but they aren’t that far off. Not almost 2.5 times as good.

    Klefbom & Larsson – Both make under 4.166 mill each. At basically 8.4 combined, I don’t know how you get any cheaper for 2 guys that can be a legit top pairing and be pretty good at it. These guys are both underpaid.

    Sekera & Russell. Sekera makes 5.5 mill. He was a UFA but has been damn good for the Oilers. He’s a #2/3 on most teams. When dmen like Barrie or Schultz who can’t defend and are offensive specialist get 5.5 mill and most don’t bat an eye, I don’t know how you get much cheaper for a guy that can score you 30+ pts, play both special teams, play big mins if needed and be solid defending. He makes what he should be making. In Russell, people can debate the player but the Oilers are paying their current #4 dman 4 mill. If you look at a lot of teams out there, that is probably about right for a #4. The Habs signed Alzner who is a slow, #4 dman for 4.625. Again, you are going to have a hard time finding another guy with any kind of experience capable of being a 3/4 dman for under 4 mill. I am sure people will say “Hamonic”. There is one guy who is under paid in my opinion. But if people want to say that Hamonic’s contract is the gold standard for #4 contracts, he makes 142k less than Russell. Tough to complain about 142K.

    Even Gryba as a 6/7 dman. Makes 900K. I don’t see that as an over payment, that is about right.

    Kassian at 1.95 mill. For a guy that can kill penalties, play up and down in the bottom 6, can skate, score most likely at a 3rd liner clip, under 2 mill is a good contract.

    Lucic makes 6 mill. Given when he was signed, Eriksson signed for 6 mill, Okposo signed for 6 mill, Ladd for 5.5, Lucic got market value. If you look only at the offensive numbers, then 6 mill for a 50 pt winger might be slightly high. But they are paying him for the other stuff as well. I believe that while McDavid, like Gretzky, is the captain because he is the best player, Lucic is the Oilers Messier meaning he is the vocal guy in the room, brings the swagger and give the kick in the ass to someone when needed. I don’t think we fully know how much Lucic contributed to the Oilers rise and turning that room around. McDavid himself has credited Lucic several times as being a HUGE help for him. So that is worth something.

    McDavid, everyone says he took less at 12.5

    Leon, some say he is slightly too high. I thought 8 would be his high mark. Johansen recently signed for 8 mill. I wouldn’t trade Leon for Johansen because I think that Leon is just as good right now and will be better than Johansen really soon. So if I say that, doesn’t that mean Leon is worth more?

    Could they shave some off from their 4th line center next year? Sure, they could probably get one for maybe around 1 mill. But I don’t know if they will be as productive. Letestu play’s both special teams, is really good on the PP and had 16 goals last year. So he definitely hasn’t been over paid as an Oiler. But say they let him walk and save 600K. Great.

    Strome today isn’t over paid at 2.5 mill for a top 9 player. They will have to be careful what to sign him for. But I am more talking about areas where they could trim off salary today.

    Maroon definitely is grossly under paid right now.

    Like it or not, they got rid of Eberle who was over paid given how one dimensional he is and what he lacks.

    They have a whole wack of young, cheap guys right now playing. Slep, Caggulia, Khaira, Benning, Nurse, Brossiot.

    Jokinen is dirt cheap at 1.1 mill.

    The only guy left is Nuge at his 6 mill. Right now he’s WAY over paid given his lack of production. He’s being paid to be a top 6 center and I don’t think he is that. Maybe they can salvage him as a top 6 winger but in saying that, when you have a 12.5 mill center and an 8.5 mill center, you can’t afford to have too many wingers making much more than 4 mill. If you are going to turn him into checking center, you can’t have a 6 mill checking center.

    But again, if you go down the list of contracts, especially the ones that Chia himself signed, he hasn’t really over paid anyone yet.

  • Not a First Tier Fan

    Oh no – we have two of the best players in the league locked in for their prime playing years and now we’re too near the cap limit!!!

    Talk about a first-world problem… hey – go back in time a few years and ask any Oilers fan if they would think this is an issue.

    Good article – thanks for getting this out there to counter all the whiners…

  • A-Mc

    I’m less concerned with the $ value of contracts and more concerned with NMC/NTC being thrown in. GMs can navigate the salary cap by finding creative ways to offload salary; where they get into trouble is when too many of their players can’t be moved due to NTC/NMC’s. This literally handcuffs them.

    Russel making 4M/yr and we can’t stomach it? No biggy as long as we move him out before his NMC kicks in for the 2019-20 season. Meaning, we can hold onto him for 2 years while nurse/benning develop and then we can bail him.

    Even Lucic can be moved out without issue as long as it’s before June 1 2021, when his NTC kicks in.

    • TKB2677

      The thing for me when it comes to Russell is maybe someone doesn’t like Russell the player but at 4 mill, the chances of you replacing him with someone else capable of being a #4 at that 4 mill price point is very difficult to do. Plus with Sekera down for a least 1/4 of the season, rolling the dice with both Nurse and Benning as your second pairing when you are supposed to be a contender is crazy.

      • A-Mc

        For this season i totally agree. People dont like the $ or the term or maybe they are hung up on some advanced stats that dont look great.. But realistically, he was the best available at the time. As long as we can move him out if Benning or Nurse take a big step and become the new 4m/yr guy(s).

        • TKB2677

          The problem with Russell is we all can complain about the term and I think it is too long myself, but I don’t think there is a chance you sign him for any less than 4 years. Alzner signed for 5 yrs at 4.625. He can’t skate but that is a direct comparable. Brendan Smith signs for 4 yrs at 4.35. Another comparable. I wouldn’t take those 2 over Russell. The dman UFA market this past year was really weak so if not with the Oilers, I think Russell easily gets what he got from the Oilers from another team and maybe even more money. So if they pass on Russell, I don’t see anyone out there that was better. So they are getting at best a lesser dman for as much or more money and term, just a different name bar.

          I know people will bring up Hamonic as a better option. As much as I like Hamonic and he was the only dman I saw available that is better than Russell, I do not think the Oilers could afford to pay what the Flames paid. Knowing that McDavid and Leon will take up significant money, as an organization, you have to have a steady stream of young guys coming up to take over for other players (wingers, etc) who get too expensive. Right now the Oilers farm system isn’t stocked with a ton of young guys who could potentially step in. Caggulia, Slep, Kharia, Nurse, Benning being the main ones but they are already on the team. Puljujarvi looks all but a lock to be on the team. But there is no not a lot else. So I don’t think the Oilers could afford to give up all those picks for Hamonic.

    • The Whispererer

      You are not correct about the NMCs for Russell and Lucic. Both have full NMCs until the final 2 years of their contracts and modified NMCs thereafter. In 2019 Russell (then age 32) submits a list of 10 teams he would accept a trade to; in 2020 he submits a list of 15 teams. In 2021 Lucic (then age 33) submits a list of 8 teams he would accept a trade to; in 2022 he submits a list of 10 teams.
      I can’t imagine the existence of a player agent who isn’t able to identify a list of 8, 10 or even 15 teams who are either (a) cap-constrained or (b) for other reasons wouldn’t be interested in trading for said player. That is why handing out NMCs like lollipops to dental patients is unwise.

  • Finnaggled

    thank you so much for always being the voice of reason Willis. The sky is not falling, Chiarelli is doing a great job, it’s amazing how fast people forget what it was like only a few short years ago. I for one am so happy to have someone capable in charge, many capable people for that matter.

    • Consultant

      Chia had nothing to do with McDavid, that was a gift from the heavens. McDavid is why this team is better, not Chia, not Draisaitl. Chia is throwing the gift away, screwing up any advantage we had by over paying the players that McDavid inflates. We have won a total of 7 playoff games and are already a two player 25% of cap team. I imagine Talbot will get 10 million per year when his deal is done?

      • Oiler Al

        Totally agree with you [Consul.] Strome will be the next guy waiting for a pay hike.Chiarelli could not manage the cap in Boston, and won’t here.PS: McLellan could not win the Stanley in San Jose, and wont here.

      • DerpSolo

        So your saying Draisaitl had nothing to do with the teams success? That’s a pretty foolish statement considering he led in playoff points for the oil this year. Chia is responsible for guys like kassian, the larsson trade, kris russel, all guys who helped the oil finally get to the effin playoffs

      • Redbird62

        Pittsburgh signed Crosby to 17.4% of the cap after 1 playoff game win and then inked Malkin a year later for 15.34% of the cap, when the total victories were 13 playoff wins. They had one extra year to make a decision on Malkin but the cap had gone up. Their contracts were for the same total $, but comprised 30.7% of the cap in the year Malkin signed. Draisaitl is not Malkin, at least not yet, but 25% is considerably lower than 30%. And the Pens 2nd deals did not go as long a term so Edmonton get 3 more years of inflation protection. Kane and Toews signed in ’09 for 22% of the cap with only one year in the playoffs and 9 playoff victories. The new contracts came into effect the season after they won the cup. That’s 6 cups in the last 9 years to those crazy big spending GMs committing cap space for potential instead of accomplishments.

  • OilCan2

    The roster looks AMAZING right now. I can hardly wait for some games next month.

    Next year and further down the road seems like a LONG way away. I like the idea that we have a manageable cap situation and have not sold the farm in terms of giving up picks. Yikes; look what the Flames paid in picks for Hamonic & Hamilton.

    • HOCKEY83

      The flames had 2 d men in the top 8 Norris trophy voting. How many did you have? The Flames Defensive corps is considered to be in the top 3 in the league. It’s worth the picks just like McDavid and Draisaitl are worth the money only you won’t be able to afford good D when the time comes.

  • GK1980

    You seem a little shy on Nurse. He will be much better then a number 5 defencemen. He is big, has a decent shot and can carry the puck well for a big man. He will break out soon. Maybe not this year but he will be a top D in the league within 5 years.

  • AbsolutelyNot

    did not even read the article. just logged on to say JW is a terrible writer. i guess if you write often, 99.9% would be complete garbage.

    JW will never live down the day he looked down upon his fellow writers

      • AbsolutelyNot

        oilers talk? he is fear mongering. trying to put a negative spin on everything. this team has been in the league’s basement for the past decade. superstars cost alot of money, this isn’t new. is it coming out of anyone else’s pocket but Katz’?

        lets enjoy a winning organization with a clear cut path to a , instead of encouraging pecimistic garbage as usual from Jonathan.

  • Hard Core

    Ha! Holy Koolaid Batman! The only way Nurse and Benning sign for less than 3-4.5 mil is if they have a disastrous season. If Talbout continues to look great then 6+ is today’s going rate. I find most the other amounts in this article close, but a little low. Nuge could probably be traded, only because centers have value. If he plays simular to last year though, the Oil will have to pick up half his salary or get little in return. Hey, things look great, but let’s stick to reality.