NHL Notebook: Coyotes place Zack Kassian on waivers for buyout, ESPN makes a trade proposal involving the Oilers, and more
Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis3 months ago
The Arizona Coyotes placed Zack Kassian on unconditional waivers on Tuesday with the purpose of buying out his contract.
Kassian has one more season remaining on the four-year, $12.8 million contract he signed with the Oilers back in January of 2020. He played out two seasons of that deal in Edmonton and scored eight goals and 24 points over the course of 95 games.
Last summer, the Oilers dealt Kassian to the Coyotes as a salary cap dump. The cost of doing so was trading down from No. 29 to No. 32 overall in last year’s draft along with a 2024 third-round pick and a 2025 second-round pick.
If the Oilers opted to buy out Kassian’s contract last year rather than paying the price to trade him away, it would have resulted in the following penalty: $667k in 2022-23, $1.87 million in 2023-24, $967k in 2024-25, and $967k in 2025-26.
Three Oilers on Daily Faceoff’s updated Trade Targets list
The Oilers are again in a difficult salary cap situation this off-season and they’ll have to unload at least one contract in order to have enough salary cap room to get restricted free agents Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod, and Klim Kostin signed to new deals.
The most likely candidates to become cap casualties in Edmonton this summer are Kailer Yamamoto, Warren Foegele, and Cody Ceci, who all appeared on Daily Faceoff’s most recent Top 40 Trade Targets list.
No. 16: Kailer Yamamoto
“Scoop: In the worst case, Yamamoto is a buyout candidate. Just about every part of this season was a little bit “off” for Yamamoto. He didn’t seem quite right. He’s been dealing with a vestibular system issue, symptoms not all that different than a concussion, for a large chunk of the year, which also kept him out of the lineup in the early part of 2023. When he’s been healthy, Yamamoto can be an impact contributor. He collected 20 goals last season. It’s just that the Oilers will have other players to pay (see: Evan Bouchard) and limited room to make deals, making him expendable.”
No. 31: Warren Foegele
“Scoop: It’s no secret that Oilers GM Ken Holland is ready to tinker with the bottom half of his lineup, and Foegele may end up being one of the odd guys out. His cap hit isn’t exactly commensurate with his production, but it also isn’t far off. To that end, the Oilers have gotten expressions of interest from teams who see what Edmonton might be looking to accomplish, so there is a path to move him that isn’t painful. If the Oilers are going to find the flexibility to improve, it’s going to have to come by moving players such as Fogele, Yamamoto and perhaps Cody Ceci to make something happen.”
No. 33: Cody Ceci
“Scoop: It’s fair to say that the Oilers are weighing all of their options, and one of them is shipping out Ceci to gain a little additional cap flexibility elsewhere in the lineup. They’d like to improve at third line center and also on the right wing, but don’t appear to be willing to get worse defensively in order to do that. So everything must be viewed through that prism: is trading Ceci going to make the Oilers worse off in the long run? The immediate gratification of that change may not be worth it, especially with Ceci playing reasonably well for the Oilers to this point. He doesn’t have to be moved by any stretch of the imagination. He’s just a card for Holland to play.”
Frank Seravalli noted that there are fewer teams willing to take on contracts in exchange for draft picks this off-season than in the past. The Coyotes have acquired 22 draft picks in the first three rounds of the next three drafts and are now looking to open their competitive window, leaving the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and Philadelphia Flyers as the four obvious landing spots for bad contracts.
Greg Wyshynski suggests the Oilers and Panthers make a deal
Over at ESPN, Greg Wyshynski wrote about how this year’s off-season could see a lot of dominoes fall around the NHL. He mentioned the idea of the Florida Panthers trading Erik Karlsson with a first-round pick that they hypothetically acquire from the Oilers.
“So how about this: The Edmonton Oilers trade their 2024 first-round pick for Montour. He bolsters their blue line with an offensive presence on the right side, which is their area of need. They’d just need someone to take Kailer Yamamoto ($3.1 million AAV) off their hands to fit Montour ($3.5 million) in.The Panthers would get their first-rounder. Send that pick, their second-rounder this season and forward Eetu Luostarinen to the Sharks for Karlsson. And if they ask for Anton Lundell instead of Luostarinen, you hang up. Immediately.”
Montour had a monster season on Florida’s blueline in 2022-23. He set career-highs with 16 goals and 73 points over 80 games in the regular season and he logged an average of 26:58 per game for the team during their run to the Stanley Cup Final.
A smooth-skating defender who moves the puck well, Montour would be a nice fit alongside Darnell Nurse on one of Edmonton’s top defensive pairings. The Oilers would need to move Cody Ceci for a Montour trade to make sense, as the money opened up from dealing Yamamoto would be needed for their restricted free agents.
It’ll be interesting to see what general manager Ken Holland does in the coming weeks. According to Sportsnet’s Mark Spector, “Holland is open to pretty much anything that will make his club a more formidable playoff foe, with forward depth and defensive prowess at the top of his list” and “no prospect is off limits.”
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