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Weekly Rumours – The Brassard Saga and the RFAs

Remember when we thought Derick Brassard was going to be an Oiler? Those were good times. Now, we’ll likely have to go through another couple of weeks without any significant Oilers new. That, combined with more RFA drama, sparked the rumour mill and made writing this weeks rumour report a lot of fun!

DERICK BRASSARD CAME & WENT

Fun fact, I originally wrote this weeks rumour report with 500 words on the potential Derick Brassard signing. That was a really good use of my time because pretty much as soon as I finished, the reports came out that he was going to sign in New York with the Islanders, not in Edmonton as Georges Laraque had reported.

I’m naturally skeptical when someone who isn’t a legitimate reporter or insider with either TSN or Sportsnet reports something, but Laraque has actually been pretty money with his reports/predictions as of late.

His recent track record of nailing this kind of stuff gave me a lot of hope. I thought this was legitimately going to happen and I was excited. Brassard is far from a perfect third-line centre option, but he would have been an upgrade on their current group of candidates.

Did he struggle last season? Sure, but he still scored 14 goals despite being traded twice during the season. He’s averaged 19 goals a season over the last five seasons. I’m not saying that he would have scored 20 goals in Edmonton, he’s 31-years-old so I expect more regression, but I think he could have been a serviceable third-line centre who could have chipped in 10-15 goals and helped on the powerplay.

One thing that worried people with the potential Brassard deal was cap space, but that shouldn’t have been an issue. Right now, PuckPedia says the Edmonton Oilers have $2.5 million in cap space with 14 forwards, seven defenseman, and two goalies signed. This also includes Brandon Manning’s contract being buried in the AHL, which will surely happen.

Ken Holland needs to leave some wiggle room for potential in-season moves and any potential Mike Smith bonuses which will count towards the cap. Any forward that the team brings in, means they need to subtract a player from the roster. Let’s say they bring in another bottom-six centre for a $1 million, that means they have to send down a player to the minors. If it’s someone like Tomas Jurco, it would save them $700k. If it’s Kyle Brodziak, it would save them just over $1 million.

There’s room for Ken Holland to make one more small move in free agency. Brian Boyle and Riley Sheahan appear to be fits, but there hasn’t been any substantial talk linking the Oilers to either player.

MARNER SITUATION

Rumours of Mitch Marner going overseas to train surfaced this week. Originally from Rick Dhaliwal in Vancouver and then confirmed by both Darren Dreger and the Zurich Lions themselves.

I view this as nothing more than a negotiating tactic. Scott Wheeler summed it up really nicely the other day.

Chris Johnston from Sportsnet also reported that the two sides aren’t very far apart either. I think a deal will get done before the beginning of the season. I just cannot see Marner sacrificing an entire season of being a Maple Leaf and roughly $10 million in salary next season. It’s simply not worth it if the two sides are arguing over a $1 million on a five-year deal.

Next summer will be interesting for the Leafs as well and I still think that a point will come where they will need to trade one of their big forwards, but this fall is not going to be when that happens. From what I’ve gathered, Marner will have a new contract by the season opener.

As for the other RFA’s (Point, Tkachuk, Laine, Rantanen, Connor) things could be a little bit more difficult.

I talked about the Calgary Flames and Matthew Tkachuk last week and nothing has changed. I’m still of the belief that GM Brad Treleiving will have to clear out a contract if he wants to get Tkachuk signed to a long term deal.

Joe Sakic appears to be ready to just wait and see when it comes to Mikko Rantanen. 

“We prefer long term,” said the Avalanche GM. “If it has to be short term, it has to be short term. We want to make sure we have him signed.”

That part wasn’t very interesting, but his next quote was.

“There’s a lot of players (in the NHL) in that same situation, a lot of great hockey players that are coming up. We’ll just see how all the players and agents handle that. There are comparable numbers that are starting to come in. We’re open to different possibilities,” he added.

I would imagine that the Tampa Bay Lightning are in the same spot as the Maple Leafs are. They don’t have the cap flexibility to sign Brayden Point during the season due to the inflated first-year cap hit that comes with signing an RFA after the season opener. They’ll need to get a deal done soon.

If Sakic wants to wait for some comparables, I think he’ll get his wish sooner rather than later. 

Patrik Laine made some interesting comments to Sportsnet last week that have led some to question whether or not the star winger wants to be in Winnipeg next season. Trade rumours have followed and of course, Oilers fans are wondering if there’s a fit. The simple answer is no.

Laine will make too much money and the Oilers don’t have the future assets necessary to make that move. I would imagine if the Jets do deal Laine, they’d want a stud defenseman and probably a good young forward in the deal as well. While the ideas of sending Darnell Nurse, some picks, and Jesse Puljujarvi is interesting from an Oilers perspective, the money wouldn’t work and Winnipeg would want much more than that. Laine to Edmonton just isn’t realistic.



  • hagar

    I always found it interesting/odd how important it is for insiders/news people to try and be the first to “break the news” on things. They will even break the wrong news for the chance to be the first to say correct news.
    It’s all very weird to me. Nobody even remembers who was the first to break news, at least not for more than a few minutes, yet the news teller finds themselves scrambling to be the first, like it somehow involves them or something.

    • Rob...

      The more often you’re right, and first, the more likely any website or channels you’re affiliated with are getting attention. Attention increases advertising revenue. Revenue makes bosses happy, so they want to keep you employed. It also makes it more likely others will pay you to be a guest on their show.

      You’re either breaking the news, or you’re no better than a low end blogger, parroting what is already known.

  • Off the wall

    Here’s the breakdown of Smith’s bonus structure;

    -20GP – $125K
    -25GP – $125K
    -30GP – $125K
    -35GP – $125K
    -40GP – $250K
    -45GP – $250K
    -Playoff Bonuses $750K
    Total Potential Bonuses: $1.75M

    Let’s play 15 minutes of fame and give me your best estimate on how much Smitty will earn in bonus $.

    • Off the wall

      I get the trashes, being a Flames’ fan, however it’s a legitimate question. Does Smith play more than Koskinen and if so, what are the chances that he’s backstopping the Oilers into the playoffs and earns more bonus money?

        • Off the wall

          “Ken Holland needs to leave some wiggle room for potential in-season moves and any potential Mike Smith bonuses which will count towards the cap.”

          I’m not sure how you can say that? Was I the only person who read the entire blog?

          • Kevwan

            Holland is on record as saying he’s planning to keep around a million for Smith’s bonuses – just in case. How that breaks down is not relevant to this story, no matter how interesting you may find it.

            When you go into someones house you don’t pick up the remote and change the TV channel. Not if you want to be welcomed back.

  • Dallas Eakins Hair

    Well if Brassard really wanted to avoid the travel in the west one could see why he would want to stay in the east, it appears he didnt sign for a lot, 1.2 Mil for 1 yr which is obviously a show us deal it doesnt say if there are any bonuses etc attached to the deal according to Larry Brooks of the NY Post.

    • Lazarus

      I think it was more he really wanted to avoid Edmonton..not the West, and I can’t blame him. When it is down to Emonton and anyone else well..the free agents speak for themselves

    • Redbird62

      Brassard is too young to have bonuses in this contract, those are only available for players on entry level contracts and players over 35 (see Smith). Maybe its not the travel but because he may feel the Eastern Conference in general plays a style that suits his game better. He did not show well in Colorado, and he would want to play where his show me contract has the greater chance of payoff.

      • Redbird62

        Normally, the cap hit is calculated as the total $$ paid divided by the number of seasons to be played. Eg. McDavid’s $100 million divided by 8 =$12.5 million per year, regardless of how the money is actually distributed to him. The actual annual payments can jump up and down each year. If a player does not sign at the start of the year, the math is a little different. When Nylander signed on Dec 1 last year after 1/3 of the season was gone, his total amount was $45 million or an average of $7.5 million for a 6 year deal, but his cap hit in the first shortened season was raised to ~$10.3 million, and lowered to ~$6.9 million for the remaining 5. Because Nylander is getting paid for 5.67 seasons, this effectively grosses up the first partial year significantly while lowering the outer years, which punishes a teams near term cap . Not exactly sure what behavior this punitive aspect of the CBA is meant to prevent other than it is can be very undesirable from a team’s cap perspective to sign high value players much after opening day.

  • Rama Lama

    I for one am glad to hear that Brassard is not coming to the Oilers………just how many reclamation projects do we need? The last time I checked we must have had at least 10 players that could fit this description.

  • Lazarus

    This reminds me of how everyone went gaga saying Heatley was coming to Deadmonton. Remember that? 😂
    You’re still waiting! Please don’t ever change Coil City. Lol

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      LMAO Even Kadri didnt want to come to the Value Village Nation when they tried to trade Brodie for him Oh how short your memory is, but hey whatever you have to do to make yourself fell better about the rebuild

      • Lazarus

        Lolzzzzz you’re a bore. Not bad we are hitting playoffs on the reg, ready for next step. How’s your rebuild coming along Dilly Dally? Hows Oil Change this year? Oh yeah they scrubbed that 10 years ago 😂😂😂

        • Dallas Eakins Hair

          You mean playoff first round exits regularly… Yeah you guys should raise a banner for that, bar none Value Village Nation is the best at that…The only Cup that Value Village Nation has gotten near raising since that one off involves Cup-a-Soup LMAO

        • ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

          Flames are “hitting the playoffs” like Turtle’s face hits a fist. Not pretty. But at least you’ve still got the one player from last year’s playoffs who played MVP level, that goalie. Right?
          Oh, not right? Damn. That’s gonna leave a mark–like hitting the playoffs did.

  • VvV

    I’d pass on Laine anyway, sure he scores goals, but is very streaky. 5vs5 he’s meg, he’s not fast, didn’t seem to move well last year and is definitely not a 200 foot player. Sure parking him somewhere on the power play he will bury, but he doesn’t do much else , that’s not worth 10 million.

  • BendingCorners

    I’m confused about the cap comment. Wouldn’t the team just pay him less the first year, since the cap hit for year one is calculated differently than for the remaining years, when the contract is signed late?
    Alternatively, even with full salary, since the actual dollars paid over the full year still will fit under the annual cap (daily cap space accumulates) isn’t the nominal inflated cap number pretty much meaningless?

    • Redbird62

      Normally, the cap hit is calculated as the total $$ paid divided by the number of seasons to be played. Eg. McDavid’s $100 million divided by 8 =$12.5 million per year, regardless of how the money is actually distributed to him. The actual annual payments can jump up and down each year. If a player does not sign at the start of the year, the math is a little different. When Nylander signed on Dec 1 last year after 1/3 of the season was gone, his total amount was $45 million or an average of $7.5 million for a 6 year deal, but his cap hit in the first shortened season was raised to ~$10.3 million, and lowered to ~$6.9 million for the remaining 5. Because Nylander is getting paid for 5.67 seasons, this effectively grosses up the first partial year significantly while lowering the outer years, which punishes a teams near term cap . Not exactly sure what behavior this punitive aspect of the CBA is meant to prevent other than it is can be very undesirable from a team’s cap perspective to sign high value players much after opening day.

  • Bond 0097

    I would much rather watch Cooper Marody make the team than have Brassard at 31 claim a spot because he had nowhere else to play. I want to see our own young guys be given a legitimate shot starting this year

  • Vanoil

    Brassard was playing both groups and got the better deal on Long Island; likely more money and a chance to play in the top 6 (though who knows how long that will last).

    • Dallas Eakins Hair

      Considering at the start when he was looking for a new team. he was looking for 3 mil a year in a 3 year deal, seems like he took the most money he could get at 1.25 mil with an easy travel schedule, no idea if there is bonuses included in his deal but one would think so