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Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Best Pizza and LTI Klefbom Before the Season?

Because it is 2020, our second annual Jason Gregor Pizza Pigout in support of KidSport had to be different than the first, but due to great volunteers, organizers from KidSport and those who supported, the event turned out to be a lot of fun. And we got to try a lot of great pizza.

On Friday, October 30th, we hosted a Halloween themed pop-up drive-in at the Edmonton Expo Centre parking lot.

Local pizzerias donated their best pizzas in hopes to win bragging rights in different categories.

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We had over 160 vehicles come through the Haunted Alley, then they drove up to the Pizza tables, where they received a variety of individual-size pizzas to eat and then they drove up to the largest LED screen in Canada (courtesy of M31 Productions) to watch the movies. The early showing was Monsters v. Aliens and the late show was ET.

The drive-in movie was awesome, as many kids, and even some adults, had never been to a drive-in before. Kudos to Dayna and the staff at KidSport and all the sponsors who helped make it possible.

Every vehicle was able to vote in seven different categories and here are the winners. If you like pizza I recommend trying any of these 28 pizzerias. They all had great pizza and the variety was awesome.

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The People’s Top Ten
Pink Gorilla
Big Bite Detroit
Nitza’s
East Side Mario’s
Panago
Pizza 73
Panini’s
Sir Donair
Coliseum
UFO

Most Unique: (Top 3)
Big Bite Detroit
Panago
UFO

Best Meat:
Panago
Panini’s
Rebel

Best Hawaiian
Big Bite Detroit
Nitza’s
Donna’s Eatery

Best Veggie
Nitza’s
Panini’s
Coliseum

Best Donair
Big Bite Detroit
Buster’s
Sir Donair

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Best Vegan
Pink Gorilla
Panago
Pizza 73

Best Gluten-Free
Pink Gorilla
East Side Mario’s

Honourable Mentions
Firezone Pizza
Sepp’s
Rosso
Bianco
Joe West Pizza
Famoso
Boston Pizza (Beverly)
Domino’s (Capilano)
Lorenzo’s Italian Kitchen
Campio Brewing Co.
Al Centro
Pizza Firm
Canadian Brew House
Little Ceasers (St. Albert)

Thanks again for all who participated and please support these great pizzarias.

A NEW CHAMPION…

Last year, Nation Dan ate an entire large Papa John’s cheese pizza in three minutes. This year we had extra-large pizzas for our contestants, and due to Covid we did it via zoom. You can watch it here.  Mayor Don Iveson, Tom Gazzola from TSN 1260, Gene Principe from Sportsnet and the winners from Amazing Race Canada, Dr. James Makokis and Anthony Johnson, competed against Dan for the title.

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Dan gave it a good run, but he finished second to Johnson. It’s been quite the 15 months for Johnson, winning Amazing Race Canada and now the second annual Pizza Pigout title.

He will be back to defend his title next year, and Nation Dan has already stated he is training to win his second title in three years. We hope it will be in a public setting where the pressure of the crowd plays a factor.

Thank you again for supporting KidSport and to all the pizzerias and sponsors who made this event so memorable. You can see photos from the night here. The money raised will help a lot of children play sports this year. It is a great charity, with very low administration fees, and giving kids the joy of playing sports is a wonderful blessing. Due to the generosity of sponsors and ticket buyers we were able to raised close to $18,000 this year despite increased costs due to Covid. Awesome.

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Thanks again for supporting the Pizza Pigout.

KLEFBOM and LTI

Mar 19, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; Edmonton Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen (19) and defenseman Oscar Klefbom (77) defend the net during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

You can invoke LTI prior to submitting your opening day roster, or after submitting your opening day roster. If you do it after, you have to be cap compliant on your opening day roster, meaning you have to be at, or under, $81.5m.

Then you can invoke afterwards and go spend the equivalent of Oscar Klefbom’s $4.1m salary. It can be one player at that price, or multiple players who’s salaries combine for $4.1m or less.

The Oilers had a similar situation to this with Andrej Sekera in 2018. They got as close to the salary cap as they could, submitted their opening day roster, and then invoked LTI.

This year the Oilers have technically already spent over the cap, and they still have to sign Ethan Bear. It seems very likely they will invoke LTI prior to the opening day roster being submitted.

Which means whatever salary they submit with at that moment, that will be their salary cap for the rest of the year. The Oilers salary cap is $81.2m (they have a $300K bonus overage carry over from last year), and then you add Klefbom’s $4.1m, so the Oilers’ cap will essentially be $85.3m.

The challenge for them, by invoking LTI prior to the season, is if they are at $85.3m then they don’t have room for callups. Likely that $85.5m would include a few extra bodies who are banged up coming in training camp and on IR, who then when healthy they could send down to the minors and those dollars values can be recalled during the year.

The other concern is if they run into short-term injuries. If players are banged up for a game or two and wouldn’t qualify to go on LTI, then the Oilers wouldn’t have cap space to put them on IR and recall someone else. Now if injuries became that much of an issue, they likely would be able to use an emergency recall, but it is not ideal.

Historically this is more advantageous for teams who have their AHL affiliate right in their backyard, like San Jose, who can shuffle players up and down, simply to manage the cap. This season, with the 14-day quarantine needed, the NHL and NHLPA might allow Canadian teams to have a taxi-squad of two extra players (who would be paid AHL salaries) travel with the team. That hasn’t been determined, but I could see it being a possibility.

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It is important to note that whenever you invoke LTI, whether it be before the season or after, you submit your opening day roster, your cap number is what it is at that spot, and that is important in regards to performance bonuses.

There are essentially two silos of salaries the NHL looks at. There is the salary (AAV) in one, and then the performance bonuses are in the other.

Teams often ensure that when they invoke LTI, their players with the highest performance bonuses are on the roster, because the bonuses go into that silo and that is the amount you have as a guideline. Evan Bouchard has $500,000 in bonuses this season, and $850K in each of the next two, so the NHL actually averages the three years so his amount in the performance silo would be $733,333 this year.

This is important to remember when the Oilers set their opening day roster. They would have his $733,333 along with $230K from Yamamoto and $500K from Mike Smith. The only other player with a hefty performance bonus is Philip Broberg at $850K. I could see him finishing his season in Sweden, then coming to the NHL. And when he does, the extra $116,667 in bonuses he has over Bouchard would count against the cap for purpose of cap counting. If Broberg doesn’t reach the bonus, which is likely, then at season’s end that extra $116K wouldn’t count against the cap, but it would at time of recall.

It is an odd quirk of salary cap compliance.

The reason I bring this up is: based on the Oilers’ current salary cap, I’d expect them to place Klefbom on LTI prior to opening day. There has been some talk about them having some space to possibly sign another player, but with 17 forwards on one-way contracts, and the need to have Bouchard on the opening-day roster, I don’t see them signing another D-man either.

This is how their salary cap looks today:

14 forwards: McDavid, Draisaitl, RNH, Neal, Kassian, Chiasson, Turris, Archibald, Khaira, Puljujarvi, Ennis, Kahun, Haas and Yamamoto combine for $47,409.167.

Seven D-men: Nurse, Klefbom Larsson, Russel, Barrie, Jones and Bouchard combine for $23,397,001.

Two goalies: Koskinen and Smith have a total of $6 million.

Which gives them a total of $76,806,168 million.

Then you add $4.583,333 due to buyouts and retained salary and the Oilers are at $81,389,501. And that doesn’t include Ethan Bear.

If Bear signs a one year deal I could see it being around $1m. If he signs a three-year deal it is likely around $3m. Whether Bear signs a short-term deal, or short multi-year contract the Oilers will likely invoke LTI with Klefbom prior to opening day.

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