It’s Thursday and that means it’s time for me to take a look around the NHL, dig up some piping hot rumours, and talk about how they could affect the Oilers! Of course, it’s the middle of July, so naturally, things are a little quiet around the league but regardless, there are still some interesting nuggets of information floating around including some talk surrounding the two Alberta teams.
CALGARY & EDMONTON
Last week on his very popular radio show, Dustin Nielson mentioned that there is a little bit of smoke around the Oilers and Flames. It makes sense. These two teams both have forwards on bad deals and a pair of RFA’s that have had their names thrown around the rumour mill. They appear to be a good match on paper, but we all know that these two sides rarely ever make a trade.
The big rumour that has been floating around since Elliotte Friedman mentioned it in his weekly 31 Thoughts piece earlier this offseason is something around swapping Milan Lucic for James Neal.
Lucic is under contract for four more seasons with an AAV of $6 million while Neal has four more seasons with an AAV of $5.75 million. So when it comes to cap hit, Neal has a slightly better contract but when you factor in real money, things change a bit. Now that his bonus has been paid, Lucic has $16 million in ‘real money’ left on the books while Neal doesn’t have any signing bonuses on his deal so he still has $23 million left. So by swapping Neal for Lucic, the Flames will save $7 million in real money over the next four years.
On the ice, we all know that Milan Lucic has struggled mightily, I don’t need to dissect that any further. James Neal is coming off one bad year. In 11 NHL seasons, Neal only failed to hit the 20 goal mark once and it was last season. He was buried low in the lineup and shot just 5%, which was the first time in his carer that he shot under 10%. I think it’s almost a guarantee that he bounces back in a better situation. The Oilers can give him that.
It would be weird to see Lucic in a Flames jersey, but Neal has so much skill that if I were the Oilers, I would even considering adding a sweetener to get this deal done.
As far as the Sam Bennett rumours, I’m not reading that much into it. I think he would be a great fit to be the Oilers third line centre but I just don’t believe that the Flames would move him to a divisional rival. The idea of a Puljujarvi for Bennett swap is interesting in theory but Bennett is a more proven player and he’ll cost more on his next deal. Add in the fact that the Flames would be asking for more from a divisional rival and I just don’t see this as a real option for Ken Holland.
RANGERS SELLING OFF
Reports have come out that the New York Rangers are looking to lose a little bit of money. Right now they have about $7 million in cap space and need to sign Jacob Trouba, Anthony DeAngelo, Pavel Buchnevich, and Brendan Lemieux. They also need to be mindful of Kappo Kaako’s potential ELC bonuses, which I’m sure he’ll hit.
I doubt they’ll be able to move out one of their albatross contracts on the backend like Brendan Smith, Marc Staal, and Kevin Shattenkirk so they’ll likely have to move out some money from their forward group.
Chris Kreider is the first name that jumps off the page. He carries a $4.65 million cap hit and is a UFA after this season. As much as I think he would be a great fit, the Oilers would need to free up money to bring him in and giving up a lot of assets for a pending UFA in a year where the Oilers are far from a lock to make the playoffs worries me. Don’t think Kreider is a good option.
Vlad Namestnikov is a good candidate to be moved. The 26-year-old has a $4 million cap hit, which is pricey considering that he only scored 11 goals last season, but he can play all three forward positions and his age leads you to believe he might have some good years ahead of him. I wouldn’t mind the Oilers taking a gamble on him, but the Rangers would need to retain a lot of money and I’m not sure if they would be interested in that. Even though he’s a UFA, I’m not as worried about potentially resigning him as I would be with Kreider.
Finally, there’s Pavel Buchnevich. If the Oilers could get their hands on him, I would be ecstatic. He’s scored at a 15+ goal pace in each of his first three NHL seasons and considering the fact he’s young, I think he could become a perennial 20 goal guy in the Oilers top six.
He’s an RFA as well, so the Oilers can control how much he makes next season to an extent. This is a dream fit and Ken Holland should be willing to move a lot to get him.
After having such a blast over the past two years, we absolutely knew that we were going to organize another golf tourney for the summer and, after a few months of planning, we’re psyched to finally be able to launch our third annual golf tournament.
- When – August 29th, 2019 (Thursday). Tee off at 2 p.m.
- Where – Cougar Creek Golf Resort
- How much – $1000/team
- Teams – Groups of Four (4)
- How – Book your team here
As always, a portion of all proceeds from your ticket purchase will be donated directly to a local charity. This time we’ve partnered up with the Gregor Foundation to make sure that our kids are at their most handsome.