Oilers aren’t planning to buy out Jack Campbell but are ‘looking at every option’

Edmonton Oilers Jack Campbell
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
21 days ago
While the hockey world is focused on the upcoming NHL Draft this weekend in Vegas, the off-season officially got rolling on Thursday morning. Teams have from 48 hours after the Stanley Cup is awarded until June 30 at 5:00 p.m. ET to buy out the remainder of a player’s contract.
The Dallas Stars bought out the final season of Ryan Suter’s four-year, $14.6 million contract, making him the second player in league history to be bought out twice. There are rumours that the Buffalo Sabres are planning to buy out the final three seasons of Jeff Skinner’s eight-year, $72 million contract, but general manager Kevyn Adams shot them down.
Will the Edmonton Oilers buy anybody out this summer? Maybe, maybe not.
Oilers CEO and now-defacto-general-manager Jeff Jackson spoke to the media in Edmonton on Thursday and was noncommittal when asked about buying out the remainder of goaltender Jack Campbell’s contract.
“At this point, I’m not going to comment on Jack,” Jackson said. “We’re looking at every option we can on various things, including Jack. But at this point, we’re not planning that. We’re considering it.”
The Oilers inked Campbell to a five-year contract in the summer of 2022 following a season in which he posted a .914 save percentage over 49 games with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He struggled to an .888 save percentage in 36 games in his first season in Edmonton and lost the starting goaltender job to Stuart Skinner.
After a very strong showing in the pre-season, the Oilers opened the 2023-24 season with Campbell in net and he was lit up in an 8-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. He managed an .873 save percentage over his first five starts and wound up on waivers in mid-November.
Unsurprisingly, Campbell cleared through waivers and the Oilers got a slight savings on his $5 million cap hit while he was in the American Hockey League. Meanwhile, third-stringer Calvin Pickard came up from the minors and posted a 0.909 save percentage in 23 games as Skinner’s backup.
Campbell found his game playing with the Bakersfield Condors and put up a .918 save percentage in 33 games. Despite that, Campbell never got another look with the Oilers because of his cap hit and Pickard’s solid play.
The Oilers have roughly $78 million committed against the salary cap for the 2024-25 season, giving them $10 million to work with before they reach the $88 million ceiling. That isn’t very much wiggle room for a team with seven forwards, five defencemen, and two goalies signed.
Buying out Campbell would give them $3.9 million more room to work with this summer, they’d save $2.7 million and $2.4 million over the next two seasons, and then the Oilers would take on a $1.5 million penalty in the three years after his contract would have expired.

But as Jackson said, the Oilers haven’t decided whether they’re going to buy out the remainder of Campbell’s contract, the team is just considering it as one of the options they have to open more salary cap room.
Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Oilers can trade Campbell this summer to a team willing to take a risk on a goaltender who’s had success in the NHL in the past and put up very good numbers at the AHL level. The L.A. Kings were able to get out from under Pierre-Luc Dubois’ eight-year, $68 million contract after just one season.
With teams convening in Vegas for the next few days, it makes sense for the Oilers to see what’s out there before they commit to using a buyout. They have until Sunday afternoon to find a deal.

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