Seravalli: Moving money key to Oilers landing top available free agents

Photo credit:© Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
9 months ago
Ken Holland and his staff have improvements to make on the Edmonton Oilers roster this summer after the team went bowing out in the second round to the Vegas Golden Knights.
With little money available, approximately $5,970,000, the Oilers have little to work. They have 16 players under contract for next season; however, key players such as Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod, and Klim Kostin are restricted free agents with the likes of Nick Bjugstad, Derek Ryan, and Mattias Janmark also out of contract and hitting the open market.
In order to get everything done and make adjustments to the roster, Holland needs to create extra cap space for himself, and the easiest way to do that is to move out contracts. It is likely that Kailer Yamamoto, Cody Ceci, and Warren Foegele would likely be involved in trade discussions this summer. All three make north of $2.50 million and roles could be filled with cheaper deals.
To his credit, Foegele turned his season around in the latter half of the year and scored an important goal in game six versus the Golden Knights, capping off a strong playoff run for the bottom sixer. It is likely he is lower on the trade list than Yamamoto and Ceci.
Yamamoto and Ceci each had their struggles this season with injuries plaguing the way. Unfortunately for them, the Oilers aren’t in a position to wait around for bounce-back seasons and need to look to improve.
On Oilersnation Everyday with Tyler Yaremchuk, Tyler asked Frank Seravalli from Daily Faceoff if Yamamoto and Ceci hold much value around the NHL.
“With somebody like (Kailer) Yamamoto and the way his production decreased and diminished this year, mostly due to the injury, you are going to have to attach an asset to him. Then, if you wanted to move on from Cody Ceci, it is not a crippling cap hit and the term remaining isn’t so onerous, that you could probably get a late-round pick for him. That then creates cap flexibility for yourself, but what are you then doing with that flexibility that improves your team? That to me is what matters. Is it signing Evan Bouchard to a long-term deal rather than a bridge? Is it going out and tackling a bigger-name free agent? One of the names that Bob Stauffer mentioned on Oilers Now was Damon Severson, and I am intrigued by that. If you could foresee a path in which Bouchard is a bridge and you also have the flexibility of getting rid of Ceci, then you could start to see the dollars and cents working for something like that. That would be a significant upgrade and really solidify the Oilers top four in a big way.” 
Damon Severson is the #1 free agent available according to Frank Seravalli. Last week on Daily Faceoff, Frank released an article with projected contracts for the upcoming free agents, with Severson coming in at 6 x $6.1 million.
NHL Sid had some thoughts on the #1 free agent this summer on Oilersnation:
“Severson is a valuable asset. The fact that he can successfully defend zone entries and move the puck out of the DZ at a high volume instantly makes him a significantly better stylistic fit with Nurse than Ceci. However, there’s a major question mark surrounding him: will Severson’s excellent puck-moving and offensive skills outweigh his deficiencies in his own end? Per EvolvingHockey, Severson’s projected contract is $6.2M for 6 years, so it may not be worth the money to take a risky bet on him.”
There is no doubt that the Oilers need to shed some cap this summer. However, is Severson the man for the job or does Holland need to throw his line at other free agents? Only time will tell, but on the plus side, it is great to hear the aggressive approach from upper management.

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