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NHL Notebook: Oilers likely open to moving 2023 first-round pick, NHL not interested in negotiating salary cap increase, and more

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Photo credit:Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
The Edmonton Oilers haven’t used their first-round pick in a trade deadline move since all the way back in 2006.
That year, the Oilers badly needed a starting goaltender so Kevin Lowe ponied up the team’s top draft pick in order to acquire Dwayne Roloson, an impending free agent who played for a division rival. The risk was significant but Roloson led the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Final so nobody ever thinks about the pick that went back to the Minnesota Wild in return.
Could this be the year that the Oilers go all-in ahead of the deadline? Ken Holland has hung on tight to his first-round picks since joining the organization in 2019 but Bob Stauffer believes that this year’s top pick will be in play for the Oilers to upgrade their team…
There’s still quite a bit of time left before this season’s trade deadline, which falls on Friday, March 3.
The Oilers, as always, have a clear need on their blueline and they could use some help with depth scoring. Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek was present at both of Edmonton’s games in Minnesota and Nashville this week, which has led to speculation that names like Jesse Puljujarvi and John Klingberg could potentially be involved in a deal.

On the NHL’s salary cap…

The word from the NHL’s Board of Governors meeting in Florida on Tuesday was that the salary cap for the 2023-24 season will likely only see a small increase from $82.5 million to $83.5 million.
The salary cap ceiling remained flat from 2019-20 to 2021-22 because of the revenue lost during the pandemic and jumped from $81.5 million to $82.5 million for this season. The expectation is that the salary cap will finally see a sharp rise for the 2024-25 and 2025-26 seasons once the NHL Players’ Association pays off its revenue shortfall debt to the league.
According to Frank Seravalli of Daily Faceoff, the league isn’t looking to negotiate with the NHLPA to alter the Memorandum of Understanding that was inked between the two sides ahead of the league’s bubble playoffs back in 2020. Bettman said that the league is projecting that $70 million of debt will still be owed by the PA after the conclusion of the 2022-23 season.
Seravalli also noted that the only way the debt could be paid off quicker than expected would be for a big market team to go on a deep run into the playoffs this spring…
“If you’re rooting for the NHL’s salary cap to increase substantially next summer, then you better break out your pom-poms for the Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Boston Bruins Edmonton Oilers and Vegas Golden Knights to go on deep playoff runs this spring.
Because without help from either big market, big spending fanbases or a significant change in the price of the Canadian dollar, the NHL’s salary cap may only increase $1 million next season.
That’s the report commissioner Gary Bettman relayed to the league’s Board of Governors here on Day 2 of their annual December meeting.
Bettman said in his media availability that the league is currently projecting approximately $70 million to be remaining on the escrow debt to be repaid by players to owners after this season.
According to Bettman, that would require the NHL’s overall business to exceed expectations by $140 to $150 million over the final six-plus months of the season in order for that debt to be retired.”
It’s interesting to see Edmonton’s name up there as one of the big-market, big-spending teams because that certainly wasn’t the case for much of the franchise’s history. Forbes’ most recent valuation of NHL teams listed the Oilers at No. 7 with a value of $1.275 billion…

Quick notes…

  • Pierre LeBrun reported on Monday that the Vancouver Canucks made a contract extension offer to captain Bo Horvat and that it was declined. The following day, Horvat released a statement through the team saying “I am focused on this season and playing for the Vancouver Canucks, helping the team in any way I can. I will not have any further comments this year about my future.”
  • There was more waiver wire action on Tuesday, as the Winnipeg Jets claimed Karson Kuhlman from the Seattle Kraken, who went on waivers because Seattle previously claimed Eeli Tolvanen from the Nashville Predators. Arizona Coyotes defenceman Dysin Mayo cleared through. There was some thought the Oilers might take a look at the former Oil King defender.
  • Alex Ovechkin scored the 798th, 799th, and 800th goals of his NHL career on Tuesday night in the Washington Capitals 7-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. He’s the third player ever along with Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky to reach 800 NHL goals.

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