The Oilers have a big summer ahead of them.
As it stands they have just under $18-million in cap space and could be looking to create more soon.
According to DailyFaceoff’s and The Nation Network’s Frank Seravalli, James Neal is a prime buyout candidate for the Oilers this offseason. It’s news that doesn’t come as a huge shock given Neal’s struggles last year coming back from a COVID-19 related illness.
Neal’s buyout is rather palatable. According to PuckPedia, buying out the remainder of Neal’s contract would cost the Oilers $1,916,667 against the cap for the next four seasons. The Oilers incur just under $4-million in savings in the remaining two years of his deal.
As it stands, the Oilers have $2.25-million in buyouts and retained salary on the books and that comes off in 2023-24. That year would also be the first of two years the Oilers would not be saving money on Neal’s buyout, so that’s another layer that makes it more comfortable for the Oilers to explore.
Scoop: Oilers GM Ken Holland indicated he could buyout one, if not two players this summer and Neal rises to the top of the list. He was a healthy scratch for a large chunk of the season after struggling to regain form from an early season COVID-19-related illness. Neal finished with 10 points in 29 games. A buyout would leave Edmonton with a $1.92 million dead cap charge for the next four seasons, representing just shy of a $4 million savings in each of the next two campaigns.
The extra cap space would go a long way for the Oilers in its hunt to better its roster. $4-million could be used to help acquire some middle-six scoring talent for the Oilers in free agency, for example.
Nonetheless, it would bring to an end the Milan Lucic saga. When the trade happened, the major benefit for the Oilers was this: the ability to buyout James Neal at a very reasonable rate and everything else was gravy.
Since joining the Oilers two years ago, neal has scored 24 goals and 41 points in 84 games.