What’s next for the Edmonton Oilers?

After a tidy week of work, the Edmonton Oilers appear to be all but done — for the most part — when it comes to assembling their roster for the 2020-21 season.

The Oilers made a flurry of moves of the recent week bringing in JESSE PULJUJARVI, Kyle Turris, Tyson Barrie, Seth Griffith, Alan Quine and Anton Forsberg, while re-signing both Tyler Ennis and Mike Smith.

While these numbers of moves are solid and are clearly bettering the Oilers, there’s still some housekeeping items that may require some creativity.

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Ken Holland joined Linda Cohn and Nick Alberga on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio Sunday, where he highlighted what was next:

“Well we gotta get Ethan Bear signed, he’s a restricted free agent. And then, then I would say to you we are getting close to the end of our cap space.”

And with that, the Oilers don’t really have a lot of room to work with. According to PuckPedia, the Edmonton Oilers currently have $735,833 in cap space and need to clear some room to give Bear a raise off the $720,000 he made last season.

While a one-year deal for Bear might make sense, even if its a $1-million cap hit they need to make some space. That could come in a few ways.

During the offseason, NHL teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap by 10 percent, but must be cap compliant by the time the season begins, whenever that is.

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The Oilers, in theory, could ink Bear to a one-year deal for anywhere from $1-$2-million. This appears to be the most likely option as we stand today.

There’s two ways the Oilers could go from there: first, they could make a trade to clear out some cap space. They could move a Kris Russell, or an Alex Chiasson and that space would be cleared.

The other issue is Oscar Klefbom. It appears unlikely that he’s going to be ready to start the next season due to chronic arthritis in his shoulder meaning the Oilers will likely place him on the long-term injured reserve. While I’m far from an expert on the cap, our friends at PuckPedia helped break things down for me the other day:


If Klefbom is sure to miss all of next year, the Oilers could free the needed space to sign Bear just by placing the former on the LTIR to clear the space needed. But if he’s not, and will only miss, say, the first half of the season, the Oilers will need to get creative to free themselves from the cap constraints they’re found in.

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All in all, the Oilers appear to be done beyond ensuring a Bear deal is in place for the start of next season.

On Twitter: @zjlaing