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3 things I’m watching this weekend for the Edmonton Oilers

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Photo credit:Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Tyler Yaremchuk
18 days ago
Things are quiet around the Oilers right now. The Draft was not particularly eventful, and considering their lack of cap space and assets, it’s reasonable to expect that acting GM Jeff Jackson won’t exactly get up to a whole lot in the early stages of the NHL offseason.
Still, there are a few situations I’m keeping an eye on this weekend.

1 – A Jack Campbell buyout

I know there was some talk that the Oilers could be waiting on a potential Jack Campbell buyout because they’re exploring the trade market. I don’t think that’s going to happen. While some people will roll their eyes at the idea of the Oilers adding another buyout to the books when the James Neal buyout is so close to finally ending, this Campbell situation needs to end, and the Calvin Pickard extension was a clear sign that the Oilers aren’t giving Campbell another opportunity.
The buyout isn’t horrendous, and as it sits right now, the Oilers have $9.03 million in cap space with 15 players on their roster. A Campbell buyout adds an extra $3.9 million to that pool.
They need the cap space, and they don’t need the player. On top of that, they don’t have enough premium assets to be able to trade him away. A buyout is coming.

2 – More UFA’s Returning

Jun 21, 2024; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Connor Brown (28) skates against the Florida Panthers during the second period in game six of the 2024 Stanley Cup Final at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
I already mentioned the Calvin Pickard deal and that is just the first.
The Oilers have a handful of pending UFAs and I expect more than a couple of them will be back. The two most likely signings I think we’ll see in the next few days are Mattias Janmark and Connor Brown. I think they’ll each be back with cap hits below $1.5m.
Adam Henrique and Warren Foegele are both less likely to be back. I think both players will test unrestricted free agency on July 1st and both should have a handful of teams interested in their services. Out of the two, I think Henrique has the best chance of returning and that would be the right call.
If they want to bring him back, they might need to find a way to clear up more cap space, which brings me to my next point…

3 – One Cap Dump Trade

This one is the least likely, but I’m still keeping an eye on the situation. This really does boil down to two things for me. Can they find someone to take Cody Ceci off their hands and is there a market for Evander Kane?
Let’s start with Ceci. With one more year left on his deal at a $3.25m cap hit, it isn’t going to be an impossible move to pull off. Ceci is a third-pairing defenseman at this point and while he’s overpaid, it’s not horrendous and if another team took him for free, I could see a situation where he’s flipped at 50% for a late-round pick at next year’s deadline to a team looking for some defensive depth.
So, if you’re a rebuilding team would you be willing to take Ceci’s cap hit for a late-round pick? Then potentially add another one at the deadline?
I could see some team biting and wanting to add a veteran to their blueline. He’s proven he can handle top-four minutes, even if the results aren’t great and if there’s a team looking to add a veteran who’s good in the room, they might value Ceci.
There were a lot of cliches in there, but I really think they apply.
If you move Ceci, then I could see the Oilers bringing back Vincent Desharnais on a relatively cheap contract and starting next season with this:
Ekholm – Bouchard
Nurse – Broberg
Kulak – Desharnais
Run it back and then reassess at the deadline.
Now onto Kane. Frank Seravalli says he doesn’t think a move is likely and I totally understand that. Moving Kane is going to be very difficult for a handful of reasons. First, he has a no-movement clause so he would have to be willing to waive that. That will be a big hurdle.
His $5.125m cap hit isn’t egregious but he obviously has a history and he’s struggled with injuries recently. I’m not sure if there would be a robust market for him.
Still, if the Oilers could move off of his cap hit it would allow them to maybe try get a little bit younger on the wings and maybe go after a piece like Jake DeBrusk or bring in a pesky veteran like Victor Arvidsson.
Now, they might have room to do it regardless but it will be tight. Moving Kane is very unlikely but it’s still something to keep an eye on this weekend.

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