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NHL Notebook: Edmonton Oilers dead last in Daily Faceoff salary cap rankings

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Photo credit:Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
8 months ago
The Edmonton Oilers are ranked 32nd in the NHL in terms of their salary cap rankings, according to Daily Faceoff.
The website kicked off their salary cap rankings list, and according to them, no team in the NHL is in a worse spot with their money. According to salary cap resource website PuckPedia, if the Oilers were to run a 21-man roster, they would have just $382,499 in cap space — the 12th fewest in the NHL.
Daily Faceoff’s rankings look at a number of things including good contract percentage, quality cheap deals, contrasts without movement clauses, dead cap space, quality of their core, and cap space to skill differential. The different aspects were explained in more detail here by Daily Faceoff’s Scott Maxwell.
Here’s Maxwell’s write-up on the Oilers cap situation ahead of the 2023-24 season:
The Oilers ranking second-last in last year’s edition of the cap rankings made its fair share of headlines, so I’m sure them dropping the only possible spot they could to fall to last place will be handled just as well. This happens despite the fact that they actually improved in four categories, but the big factor holding them back is that they were the only team to not rank in the top 10 of at least one category, and even with that, they barely had one crack the top half of the list.
Their two biggest improvements were in good contract percentage and contracts with no-move clauses. The no-move clause simply improves because Duncan Keith is out of the picture, otherwise, it’s the same seven that occupied that spot last season. The good contract percentage also improves because of departures like Keith and Mike Smith, along with Zach Hyman’s play last season improving his tier to second-liner and making him adequately paid and the new contracts to Stuart Skinner and Evan Bouchard. But, the same group of Evander Kane, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Darnell Nurse, Cody Ceci, and Jack Campbell that hampered their play driving last season level out their GCP to just under 50%, and Brett Kulak’s play last season lowered him to the bad contract group as well. And for the record, Nugent-Hopkins continues to stay in the bad category despite a 104-point season due to an over-reliance on power play production (something that also hampers Leon Draisaitl in this evaluation system).
Other than that, it’s pretty bleak in Edmonton. They see marginal improvement in quality cheap deals thanks to the new one for Derek Ryan and signing Connor Brown, although that will just hurt them in the dead cap space department next year. Speaking of dead cap space, that’s the other category that saw a bit of growth with Milan Lucic’s retained salary and Andrej Sekera’s buyout off the books, but like quality cheap deals, they still rank near the bottom. Connor McDavid’s contract having only three seasons remaining hurt their quality of core significantly this season, while once again, the system sees this group as a fringe playoff team that shouldn’t be over the cap like they actually are. Of course, this doesn’t quite capture the impact McDavid has on the whole team, but the Oilers cap situation is very much positioned for them to win now and suffer later, and with Draisaitl’s contract up in two years and McDavid’s in three, it’s really going to suffer to make room for them.

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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