The Bargain Bin

If Peter Chiarelli is going to have a successful off-season he’s going to have to hit on one or two value contracts. He may have received a little bit of good news on Monday when Bill Daly said the 18-19 salary cap could be anywhere from $78-82 million dollars. 

I think most people, myself included, have been speculating that the final number will be 80 million but what if it does end up being a couple of million higher? Can Chiarelli take advantage of the extra wiggle room?

Right now I’d expect the Oilers payroll to sit around 75 million after signing their RFA’s. I’ve been speculating they’d try to spend about three to four million on a top-six winger and that’s about it. If the cap moves up to 82 million the Oilers would likely be in the market to add at least one player in the two million dollar range. So who fits the bill?

DEREK RYAN (31-years old)

79gp – 15g – 23a – 38 pts

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2017-18 Cap Hit: $1,425,000

For a guy who gets limited offensive opportunities, Ryan is coming off a pretty decent season in Carolina. He took well over 900 face-offs this past season and won over 56 per cent of them. He could kill penalties and if need be see a little bit of time on the second unit power-play. He also would provide the coaching staff with the flexibility to move one of Khaira or Strome back to the wing.

MATT CALVERT (28-years old)

68gp – 9g – 15a – 24 pts

2017-18 Cap Hit: $2,200,000

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I don’t think Matt Calvert will be commanding anything more than $2,200,000 when he hits the open market this summer.  Calvert played under 14 minutes a night for the Blue Jackets this past season. He has had trouble staying in the line up over the past four years but still managed to score in double digits in three of those campaigns. He scored three goals in the first round against the Capitals in the playoffs.

TOMMY WINGELS (30-years old)

75gp – 9g – 8a – 17 pts

2017-18 Cap Hit: $750,000

Tommy Wingels has played on four NHL teams in the last two seasons but I still think he may be the most likely guy on this list to sign with the Oilers. Wingels shoots right and can play all three positions up front. He had his two best seasons with Todd McLellan on the bench in San Jose. I think he would be a good veteran presence in the bottom six.

BLAKE COMEAU (32-years old)

79gp – 13g – 21a – 34 pts

2017-18 Cap Hit: $2,400,000

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Blake Comeau has already made five stops in the NHL and pretty much brought the same thing to the table every time. He has scored in double digits and hit at least 30 points in three of the last four seasons. He shoots right and can play both wings. I don’t know if it should count for anything but he’s a good Saskatchewan boy which may carry some weight with this coaching staff.

KRIS VERSTEEG (32-years old)

24gp – 3g – 5a – 8 pts

2017-18 Cap Hit: $1,750,000

Would the Oilers dare go down this road again? Versteeg simply could not stay healthy for the Flames this past season as he missed time with all kinds of injuries. In 2016-17, after spending training camp in Edmonton, he put together a pretty good season in Calgary. He scored 15 times in 69 games and added four points in four playoff games. At this stage of his career, coming off an injury-riddled campaign, Versteeg may very well once again be heading to a camp on a tryout. He shoots right and has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder at times.

MAGNUS PAAJARVI (27-years old)

78gp – 8g – 4a – 12 pts

2017-18 Cap Hit: $800,000

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If you are a fan of second chances maybe Magnus Paajarvi fits the bill for you. Between St. Louis and Ottawa Paajarvi played 78 games last season. This was the first year that Paajarvi didn’t play a game in the American Hockey League. At this point, I wouldn’t expect any sort of offensive increase from Paajarvi but he skates well and can kill penalties.  Also… I love him.

TIM SCHALLER (27-years old)

82gp – 12g – 10a – 22pts

2017-18 Cap Hit: $775,000

You could make a case that a 12-goal season in the NHL is the best offensive production Schaller has had in his entire career so why sign him? Well, Schaller managed to be in the lineup every game this season for a very good Bruins squad. I’d assume the Bruins try to get him signed on a value deal of their own prior to July 1st. Maybe he’s a really late bloomer offensively?

CARTER ROWNEY (29-years old)

44gp – 2g – 3a – 5pts

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2017-18 Cap Hit: $612,500

Rowney would come to town with a Stanley Cup ring after playing 20 games for the Penguins during their 16-17 Cup run. He has become an offensive threat in the AHL but hasn’t been able to hit his stride in Pittsburgh. He has decent size and can play both centre and the wing. Would be worth a look in camp.


None of these players can be described as sexy off-season pickups but in the end, one of them may be a reality for the Oilers. If I had to rank them in order of preference I think I’d go like this….

  1. Ryan
  2. Comeau
  3. Calvert
  4. Schaller
  5. Wingels
  6. Paajarvi
  7. Versteeg
  8. Rowney

I can’t believe I just ranked those guys, Chiarelli is going to have to get very creative.

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Recently by Dustin Nielson

  • FanBoy

    I hope we get Vanek, Grabner, Peca, and Pääjärvi on value contracts. 2 years 3Million AAV for each of Grabner and Vanek to play with Draisaitl. And 1 year 850K for the depth guys.

  • ubermiguel

    Ryan and Comeau were at the top of my list too. Wingels catches my eye; an inexpensive veteran NHL player who can slot anywhere in the bottom-6 is always useful. I don’t believe in second chances so good riddance Paajarvi and Versteeg.

  • OriginalPouzar

    I don’t think they are at $75M after re-signing their RFAs, not for a standard 23 man roster.

    Are you including the Pouliot buyout and making any cushion for Puljijarvi’s bonuses?

    Are you also replacing the lost UFAs? Slep, Pak, and Cammy were on the roster at the end of the year each for under $1M so they need to be replaced.

    The following isn’t what I want to happen but its to show how limited the cap space is. I believe I was reasonable when resinging the RFAs (Nurse – $4M, Caggulia $1.25M, Strome – $3M Benning – $1.75M) and I replaced the three UFAs with PRV, Brodziak and Marody just as examples of filling out the lineup with players under $1M.


    Nuge ($6M) / McDavid ($12.5M) / Rattie ($800K)

    Khaira ($675K) / Drai ($8.5M) / Puljijarvi ($925K)

    Lucic ($6M) / Strome ($3M) / Aberg ($650K)

    Caggulia ($1.35M) / Brodziak ($950K) / Kassian ($1.95K)

    Magnus ($950K) / Marody ($925K)


    Klefbom ($4.167M) / Larsson ($4.167M
    Nurse ($4M) / Russell ($4M)
    Sekera ($5.5M) / Benning (1.65M)

    Gryba ($900K)

    Talbot ($4.167M)
    Koskinen ($2.5M)

    The above lineup has two outside acquisition, 12th/13th forwards for less than $1M each.

    The cap hit for the 23 man roster (which includes Marody, Rattie) is $77.5M

    That doesn’t account for the Pouliot buyout of $1.33M which will take it to $78.8M.

    It doesn’t take in to account any of Jesse’s bonuses which are maxed at apx. $2.5M so lets give a cushion of $1.25M which essentially takes us to $80M.

    So, we are at $80M without any material acquisition.

    • toprightcorner

      Kassian will be moved, watch for CAR who wants to add size and grit. Moving Kassian allows one $2 mill addition or two $1 mill additions. Adding 2 removes another salary so you could add two $1.5 mill players to replace Kassian and “X” player and not add much, if any cap.

      People always forget that when you add a player, you subtract another salary.

      • TruthHurts98

        He already threw the 2 million away by the unproven backup signing. Not sure Kassian has much value or would be easy to move “for PC” with his cap hit and underwhelming numbers last season. Then who would we have for grit and toughness on the 3rd or 4th line? And don’t say Lucic because he’s a no show for most games even when our stars are given the business. That would only leave Khaira ‘love the guy’ and Nurse on D. So I don’t see that happening.

    • TruthHurts98

      Really?!? Nurse at 4 mil? Wake up people and stop dreaming that Chiarelli and value contracts can ever happen. He’ll get at least 6 mil from PC is Russell got 4 and Looch got 6. The Koskinen signing was an outrageous overpay by 1.9 million. Trash away if you feel you must but Sakic signed another KHL goalie with far better numbers for almost 2 mil less. This team is in cap hell thanks to PC. Just the facts. I wish it weren’t so either and we had a more hockey competent GM.

    • How many times are you going to write the same thing over and over and over again. It’s getting old. You must like using copy and paste as how else would you write the same thing over and over and over and over again.

  • JimmyV1965

    I’d be okay with any of these guys except Rowney, as long as they are signed for league min. If you can’t get one of these guys cheap, there’s always another guy.

  • Tonya Harding Compete Level

    Mid range –
    RW L – Michael Grabner – 30 6’1 188 – 27-9-36 +13 79gp
    LW R – Thomas Vanek – 34 6’2 214 – 24-32-56 -2 79gp
    RC – Riley Nash – 29 6’1 190 – 15-26-41 +16 76gp
    RD – Mike Green – 32 – 8-25-33 -14 66gp

    Inexpensive –
    LC – Matthew Peca – 25 5’8 178 – nhl 2-3-5 +6 10gp/ahl 13-33-46 -1 63gp
    LW/RW L – Brandon Pirri – 27 6’0 186 – nhl 3-0-3 +3 2gp/ahl 29-23-52 +8 57gp
    LW/RW L – Darren Archibald – 28 6’3 210 – nhl 4-4-8 -2 26gp/ahl 7-9-16 25gp
    LD – Oscar Fantenburg (1) – 26 6’0 210 – 2-7-9 +2 27gp/ahl 1-12-13 +1 25gp
    RD – Chris Wideman – 28 5’10 183 – 3-5-8 +5 16gp

    Personally, I’d like to see Riley Nash play RW (if he’s cheaper than Grabner or Vanek) on a value-ish contract and have some of Peca, Pirri, Archibald, Wideman and/or Fantenburg for depth. Also and unrelated, keep the 10th pick.

    Not a cap expert, but I think they’ll have around 1.8 for their top free agent forward (and even that might be a stretch) depending on how the Nurse/Benning contracts play out. The rest have to be in the 800 thousand range.

    • toprightcorner

      I would love Riley Nash, the question is whether his 15 goals and 41 points is a flash in the pan for a career 25 pt player. I think he will get too much money for that risk. $2.3 mill for 3 years would be the max I would go. He is a great PK and is tenacious. I would hate for him to be brought in to play middle 6 and have him retreat back to his bottom 6 line norm.

      I can see a team making a Brandon Sutter like mistake and vastly over pay for 1 break out season.

      • Tonya Harding Compete Level

        Agreed. I like that he is a right handed center with PK expertise and a bit of grit.

        Was hoping for between 1.8-2.2 x2 range max but free agency is so thin this year that might not be possible so I would pass beyond that.

        His last 2 seasons were –
        2015-16 64gp 9-13-22 -5
        2016-17 81gp 7-10-17 -1

  • toprightcorner

    If the Oilers add a scoring winger for $3-$4 mill like Vanek or Grabner, I would want them shopping for a vetran 4th line depth that can kill penalties, hopefully take faceoffs and score 8-12 goals. Preferably someone who can bring some leadership/mentorship qualities. That should be able to be filled for under $1.5 mill.

    Ryan will be too expensive as someone will sign him for $2.8-$3 mill.

    Comeau will also be too expensive in the $2.2-$2.5 mill range

    Wingels fits that description for the 4th line, especially because of his price point. He plays all 3 positions and can also kill penalties. I think for about 8-10 goals for $750k with lots of experience, he is a very cheap addition. Negative – avg 46% on the dot, but 50% when traded to BOS.


    Riley Nash – 20 pt career guy busts open with 15G – 41 Pts. That could bump him up to $3 mill from his $900k. Fast and tenacious player, 1:54 SH TOI, 49% FOW, can play 3rd or 4th line and could jump up to 2nd line. I wouldn’t pay $3 mill, but a 3 year deal at $2-$2.3 mill at age 29 would be agreeable. Negative – was last year flash in the pan?

    Alex Chaisson – RW – avg 10-12 goals and 25 pts a season, made $660k last year, 1:40 SH per game. Would be a great 4th line RW. Last year he signed in Oct sfter a PTO so the Oilers could probably sign him earlier at $775k and he would take it instead of waiting. Negative – he doesn’t take faceoffs.

    Jay Beagle – Good for 10 goals and 25 pts. 58.5 FOW% with 1000 draws. 2:30 SH TOI/PG, great leadership. finished 3 yr $1.75 mill. so could be had for $1.25 to $1.5 – Negative – no obvious ones

    Antoine Vermette – 60% FOW, good for 10 goals – 20 pts a year and can kill some penalties. Can probably be had for $1 mill. Did I say 60% FOW?? Negative – not sure about skating???

    Derek Grant is interesting – 12-12-14 is 66 games in his first full NHL season. AHL scorer, had 27 goals in 36 games in AHL a couple years ago. 53% FOW Unfortunately he shoots left. Maybe a late bloomer that can put up points that made $650k last year. probably get $850k Negative – only AVG :50 on PK, not a veteran.

    Mat Cullen – old as dirt, but would be a great vet to have in the room and can still skate and put up 10-15 goals and 25 pts. 53% FOW, :55 SH TIO. probably in the $1 mill range again. Negative – shoots left, old as dirt

    Kyle Brodziak – character guy, %53.5 FOW, 1:50 SH TOI. scored 33 pts last year but good for 10 goals, 20 pts. probably had for same $1 mill as last year. Negative – below average skating.

    My order of choice:

    Nash (under $2.3m)
    Beagle ($1.4)
    Chaisson ($.775)
    Wingels ($800)
    Brodziak ($1.0)
    Cullen ($1.0)
    Grant ($850k)

    The Oilers could potentially add 2 of these players if they plan to play Yamamoto most of the year in the AHL. 2 additions that can take faceoffs, 1 as your 13th forward fits McLellans history. Also allows JJ to play some wing up the lineup if required.

  • SailorD81

    Comeau would be a decent pick up. How about bringing Chimera back on a one year deal? Andre Sustr is another name that I’d be interested into looking into.

  • NewPants

    A big move would be moving one of the three replaceable players with big contracts. Lucic, Russell, Sekera. moving one of the following players will make some cap room but possibly leave a rookie defender in the lineup.

    Without moving one of the three we won’t see new players or the new players will replace players that probably should not have been traded.

  • belair

    I wouldn’t be calling Derek Ryan, Blake Comeau or Matt Calvert ‘bargains’ by any definition. All three are likely going to make well over what Mark Letestu brought in, who was a bargain in his own right.

    I’ll say it again, Jannik Hansen fits our needs to a tee and probably comes in a half his salary from last year. Shawn Matthias also makes sense as a fourth line option considering his career shooting % and the fact he’s going to make under $1m next season.

  • TKB2677

    I’d be looking to get rid of Kassian. I like Kassian when they signed him I thought it was a just fine contract because I had him as a 3rd liner as he has all the tools to be one. I don’t see it anymore. 1.95 mill for a 4th line RW is WAY too much money.

  • bazmagoo

    I think signing Ryan and ditching Strome for picks and/or prospects would be a good move. Strome is ok but he’s not worth the $3 million qualifying offer he’s entitled to in his contract, in my opinion.

    Maybe Strome would be a good fit for the Coyotes with his brother?

  • Gravis82

    Derek Ryan – No potential for more scoring if utilized more based on prior data, good defensively though. Depth guy probably good on pk?
    Good 4th liner. Sure

    Tommy Wingles: No. Not great defensively or offensively. A more recognized name with familiarity to the coach, this is such an Oilers choice, but should be a pass. Better players to be had for his spot in the lineup.

    Blake Comeau – For icetime he gets, does not score enough but is decent at suppressing and generating shots. This is why he bounces around, good enough to play up in the lineup with and against good players by eye, but just does not convert at the level you should expect based on ice time given. If you could get him at a discount is a perfect 4th liner with scoring threat. Sure he could get 40 points with more playing time, but there are other players in that spot with similar skill that could get more. Sign him as a 4th liner who can play on the 3rd as an injury replacement and we are good.

    Matt Calvert – No. His best asset is scoring goals, and only 9 of them. Pass

    Kris Versteeg. Absolutely yes. Generates shots and defensively as good as a 1st line winger, but scores like a 3rd third liner. If he’s on your 3rd line as a 2nd line injury replacement with appropriate salary, I say yes.

    MPS – Again, absolutely yes. Low ice time and goals/assists, but is excellent at generating shots and supressing shots. Maybe not enough finishing skill to actually make use of more icetime from a scoring perspective, but put him with two much better finishers and will outpreform his salary. Play him with Nuge and McDavid and see what happens.

    Tim Schaller – Not particularly good at anything, but serviceable 4th liner. 13th forward. Pass. Lucky season and not great defensively.

    Carter Rowney – Who? Pass.

    Id sign versteeg for third line money and play him there, MPS for 4th line money and try him with McDaivd+Nuge or Drai+other skilled player, Comeau for 3rd/4th line money and play him 4th or 3rd if injury, Derek Ryan for 4th line money and play him there regardless.

    • Gravis82

      Current players that have to go:
      Caggulia – Is 4th liner. But better 4th liners out there to be had.

      Strome – Is actually historically awful at suppressing shots, and scoring goals, but produces great 1st assist rate. Is an odd player. Needs to be sheltered defensively, cant score, but great set up guy. I would let him go, but if we have to qualify I would make him worth his salary by playing on the PP, and pairing him with two guys who are great defensively in 3rd line role to minimize the damage. Versteeg and Comeau

      Kassian – Best asset is scoring goals, but is not good enough to play higher and is not great defensively.

      Nuge – McDavid – Rattie
      Paarjavi (try) – Drai – legitimate 2nd line scorer with no question marks
      Versteeg, Strome, Lucic
      Jujar, Ryan, Comeau

      puljujarvi – Consider trade for 2nd line player under the age of 25.

        • Gravis82

          he generates shots at a 2nd/1st line level when he is on the ice, and suppresses them at a similar rate.

          He just cant cash in himself as he is not a goal scorer.

          This means he plays with lesser players who also cant score.

          If you play him with 2 players that are gifted offensively more of what he generates will be utilized by the other players on the ice, while also not being a liability defensively, while only costing 900k. He is best player for 900k available that we could put on the top two lines.

        • Big Nuggets

          I haven’t checked tge stats but it seemed like he was scoring at a much higher rate when he went to Ottawa. Low point totals from last season could be more related to usage in St. Louis than ability to score.

          • Big Nuggets

            just checked. 6 goals 2 assists in 35 games with Ottawa. 2 goals and 2 assists in 44 games with St. Louis. Last year he had 8 goals in 32 games in St. Louis.

  • Arfguy

    Honestly, if they can sign Grabner for about $1.5 to $2 million AAV over the next 3 years, I legitimately think he’d make a great winger for Connor McDavid, which would allow Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to being dropped down to the second line wing with Draisaitl. Or Hell, Draisaitl gets the speedy Grabner on his wing, which I’m sure he’d love it.

    I dunno. I like both Grabner and Vanek. I’d like Grabner, just because he has a lot of speed. I just don’t think he will sign with Edmonton unless they over pay. Anything more than $2 million AAV for Grabner or Vanek is too much.

  • Arfguy

    Another defenceman I’d like them to try and grab would be Mike Green. I honestly can’t think of what it would cost, but the answer would need to involve moving a current defenceman. Likely candidate would be Sekera, even though I think he will be better. LOL…as always, I would like to see if the Oilers could get rid of Milan Lucic in order to get Mike Green, just because I have zero faith in Lucic.

  • Big Nuggets

    We could try the former Oiler draft pick route this off season

    Nuge McDavid Yakupov
    Khaira Draisaitl Riley Nash
    Lucic Strome Puljujarvi
    Pajaarvi Brodziak Kassian

    • Big Nuggets

      I actually like all of those former Oilers and they would all be cheap.

      Everyone already has their opinion of Yakupov so that one is not likely but the guy would cost less than a million and with some encouragement instead of the tough love treatment he might turn things around.

      Riley Nash I don’t know much about but sounds like he is figuring out how to be effective. Although he could get a raise this offseason.

      Magnus I believe is underrated. When a player hasn’t done much by 28 years old people write them off but that is a player that has gained years of experience and still has the physical abilities to compete. It means they will bring a much more well rounded game than younger players.

      Brodziak is a solid soldier, shouldn’t have been let go in the first place. Can still kill penalties and be an effective 4th line center.