The 2018 NHL draft “starts” 30 minutes later this year, at 5:30 MST, but don’t expect the Buffalo Sabres to call Rasmus Dahlin’s name until 5:45 p.m. There will be a video honouring the Humboldt Broncos and a speech, and then the proceedings will begin.
Peter Chiarelli reiterated yesterday he is open to acquiring a defencemen, but he isn’t locked in on right-shooting defender. He would acquire a left-shooting defender if the deal made sense. If they can land a defender who excels at EV, not just on the PP, then I’d make a deal, but I don’t feel the Oilers have to overpay for a powerplay defender.
Thoughts from Dallas…
1. It isn’t exciting, but I expect the Oilers will use their 10th overall pick. In order to land a bonafide NHL defender, they will have to offer more than just the 10th overall pick, and with their organizational depth still thin, I don’t think it would be wise to trade the pick and one of their young, top-end prospects, Jesse Puljujarvi or Kailer Yamamoto, to get a D-man. They will be better off long-term to do nothing and simply make a smart choice at #10.
2. If Ty Smith, Adam Boqvist and Barrett Hayton are available at ten, I would take Hayton. This pick has to become a solid NHL player. It would be great if he became spectacular, but I think Hayton is more of a safe pick. That doesn’t mean he isn’t talented, I just view him as more of a sure thing to be a steady NHL player. The Oilers don’t have much centre depth in the organization and I see Hayton as an excellent third line centre behind Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
3. We haven’t seen many “trade ups” from the draft recently, but if there is one tonight I could see Detroit moving up from #6 to #3 in a trade with Montreal. The Wings have the most picks in the draft with eleven including two firsts, two seconds and three thirds. Yesterday Wings GM Ken Holland and Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin had a lengthy conversation prior to the GM meetings at the Dallas Fairmont. I saw them move away from the crowd and talk. Maybe they were discussing Max Pacioretty, but the Habs really like draft prospect Jesperi Kotkaniemi and if they believe they could still get him at #6 I wonder if Bergevin trades down. The Habs already have ten picks in this draft, so moving down three spots just to get a 2nd or 3rd round pick might not entice them, especially when they already have four 2nd rounders, but I think Detroit will try to move up.
4. Is today the day Pierre Dorian trades Erik Karlsson? Dorian will want at least three quality pieces for Karlsson. I know we have heard a lot about Vegas being interested, but don’t rule out Tampa Bay. Bolts GM Steve Yzerman is loaded with really good young prospects and a lot of NHL depth. Would Tyler Johnson, Jake Dotchin and Boris Katchouk along with a draft pick be enough? I think Tampa Bay can offer a better overall package than Vegas. Tampa Bay wants to win, and I think Yzerman is still in the mix to land Karlsson.
5. I keep hearing the St.Louis Blues are shopping Colton Parayko and I don’t understand why. I’ve heard they’d like him to be more aggressive, but that isn’t in his nature. He skates very well, is a really good passer, has an absolute bomb of a shot and he shoots right. He is also a good defender and at 6’6″, 230 pounds he is hard to get around. He has scored 33, 35 and 35 points in his three NHL seasons, and he has scored the 26th most EV points, 76, among D-men over that span. He is a legit top-pairing right shot defender, and the Blues have two of them with him and Alex Pietrangelo. Parayko has a $5.5 million cap hit for the next four seasons. If the Blues trade him, they will have sellers remorse in the future.
6. Bruce Garrioch reported the Senators would like to trade Craig Anderson. He is 37 years old and has two years at $4.75 million remaining on his contract. The Buffalo Sabres elected not to qualify goalie Robin Lehner so he will be a free agent. Would teams who are looking for a goalie, mainly the Islanders, rather sign Lehner, and give up no assets, or acquire Anderson? I’d go with the former. Anderson’s age, contract and fact he had a .898sv% in 58 games last season make him a difficult asset to move.
7. I know it is only a $300,000 cap hit, but I see some concern with the Eric Gryba buyout. “We just figured he wouldn’t be in our lineup next year, it would clear up a contract and it would give Eric a chance to pursue his career elsewhere,” said Peter Chiarelli when I asked him why they made the move.
He also said they considered the cap penalty, but in the end decided to buy him out. I dislike it because now the Oilers have $1.633m in dead cap space due from the Gryba and Benoit Pouliot buyouts. Pouliot carries most of it at $1.333m, but adding Gryba’s means while the rest of the NHL, at least teams without buyouts on their cap, will be able to spend $79.5m on player salaries this year, the Oilers will only have $77.87m to spend on this year’s roster.
8. His buyout just enhanced the bad decision to sign him to a two-year deal last summer. He played 21 NHL games, and it cost them $1.5million in cash, and now a wasted $600,000 in cap space over two seasons. That is simply bad asset management, not to mention it makes you wonder if Chiarelli and his staff can accurately assess NHL defenders. Did they learn from this mistake? We won’t know until we see what trades or signings they make this summer, but after grossly overvaluing Griffen Reinhart’s ability in 2015 their decision to sign Gryba to two-years last summer suggests they are still struggling with assessing which type of D-men can play in today’s NHL. The buyout of Gryba is much more than the small wasted cap space, it is another example of the Oilers incorrectly evaluating the skills needed to be an NHL defender. These types of mistakes need to stop if the organization expects to improve.
9. The Oilers have Ethan Bear, Caleb Jones, William Lagesson, Ryan Mantha, Ryan Stanton, Keegan Lowe and Joel Persson (likely staying in Sweden) poised to play in the Bakersfield this year, so there wasn’t room for Gryba, and it makes sense to have more ice time for their young defenders, but had they correctly assessed Gryba last summer they only would have signed him for one year, not two. The Gryba signing and subsequent buyout less than one year after signing him reminds me of Chiarelli description of last season “death by a thousand cuts,” as the Oilers have had too many self-inflicted cuts recently.
10. My curiosity created a make-work project for myself after looking at the Oilers buyouts. Here is list of other teams who have dead cap space, either through buyouts, retained salary, recapture penalties or vets buried in the minors. ** The Rangers and Sabres dead space could lower if Smith or Moulson play for them.***
New York Rangers: $6.936m on Dan Girardi buyout ($3.61m for two years, then $1.1m for final three years) and $3.325m on Brendan Smith buried in minors.
Columbus: $4.448m on Scott Hartnell buyout (three years with $3m this year and $1.25m next two years) and Fedor Tyutin buyout ($1.458m for two years).
Buffalo: $3.975m buried in minors for Matt Moulson. Cody Hodgson buyout is odd one, with -$458,000 this year, but next four years it is at $791,677.
Boston: $3.93m on Matt Beleskey retained ( two years, $1.9m), Dennis Seidenberg buyout ( two years, $1.166) and Jimmy Hayes buyout (one year $866,667).
Arizona: $3.361m on Mike Ribeiro buyout (two years, $1.94m) and Mike Smith retained salary ($1.416m for one year).
Carolina: $2.641m on Alex Semin buyout ($2.33m for three years) and Marcus Kruger retained salary ($308,333 for one year).
Los Angeles: $2.403m on Matt Greene buyout ($833,333 for one year), Mike Richard recapture penalty ($1.32m for two years) and Richards terminated contract ($250,000 for two years, then $700,000 for three and $900,000 for two more).
New Jersey: $2.141m on Mike Cammalleri buyout ($1.667m for three years), Devante Smith-Pelley buyout ($225,000 for one year) and recapture penalty on Ilya Kovalchuk ($250,000 for six years).
San Jose: $2.016m on Paul Martin buyout. *His buyout cap hit will be $1.416 next year.*
Vegas: $2.0m on retained salary for Derick Brassard.
Florida: $1.895m on Jussi Jokinen buyout ($1.33m for one year) and Jason Demers retained salary ($562,500 for three years,)
Tampa Bay: $1.83m on Matt Carle buyout for two years.
Ottawa: $1.75m retained on Dion Phaneuf for three years.
Detroit: $1.66m for Stephen Weiss buyout for three years.
Edmonton: $1.633m on Pouliot and Gryba buyouts for two years.
Dallas: $1.5m on Antti Niemi buyout for one year.
Toronto: $1.2m retained on Phil Kessel for four years.
Nashville: $1.66m on Viktor Stalberg buyout for one year.
Calgary: $904,167 on Lance Bouma buyout ($766,667, one year) and Ryan Murphy buyout ($137,500, one year).
Vancouver: $800,000 on retained salary for Roberto Luongo for four years.
Winnipeg: $583,333 on Mark Stuart buyout for one year.
Anaheim: $450,000 on Mark Fistric buyout for one year.
Montreal, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, Chicago, Colorado, Minnesota and St.Louis have no “dead” cap space.
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