The Edmonton Oilers elected to not place James Neal on waivers for the purpose of a buyout Monday morning.
According to our own Jason Gregor, it’s because the team is believed to be examining trade options for the veteran winger.
Neal not on waivers…so a few scenarios in play.
1. Still working on trade. One broke down on weekend, so they feel it still is close.
2. Cooper Marody files for arbitration (only EDM RFA eligible for arbitration) then that would open up a second buyout window.
3. Keep Neal.
— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) July 26, 2021
The Oilers, as Gregor noted in another tweet, can still place Neal on waivers for the purpose of a buyout Tuesday morning as the window remains open. Nonetheless, the sense appears to be the Oilers are trying to make a trade happen before resorting to a buyout, something GM Ken Holland has alluded to be comfortable doing.
Neal joined the Oilers in a problem-for-problem swap with the Calgary Flames and the true benefit all along was that Neal carried a much more buyout friendly contract than that of Lucic.
Neal has two years remaining on his contract paying him an AAV of $5.75-million. If the Oilers opt to go the route of a buyout, they carry a cap hit of $1.916-million for the next four years, according to PuckPedia. The Oilers would in turn save $3.833-million in the first and second years of the buyout, while then carrying the aforementioned cap hit for years three and four.
A buyout is reasonable and for the Oilers, the savings in the first two years would be massive. As it stands, the Oilers have two players on their books no longer playing for them at $2.25-million, each with just two more years left: Andrej Sekera, who is being paid $1.5-million on his buyout, and Lucic who the Oilers retained $750,000 of his salary.