Seravalli explains how the Edmonton Oilers could sign Connor Brown or Max Pacioretty to a league minimum contract

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Liam Horrobin
1 year ago
When the NHL free agency period rolls around, every fan wants their team to grab the top guy on the market at whatever the may be. There have been many cases over the years where those big names that become available do not workout.
The Edmonton Oilers have had their fair share of them over the past few years. Milan Lucic was the number one player on the market when the Oilers signed him to an seven-year deal, which soon turned into a cap dump to the Calgary Flames. Jack Campbell is a more recent example; however, he does still have time to turn it around.
Sometimes it is not always the best option to shop for big tickets. Waiting a few days after the madness begins can be when teams find the best price for players. Ken Holland has found ways to make this work by signing guys like Mattias Janmark ($1.25 million), Derek Ryan ($1.25 million) or even Tyson Barrie from a few years ago.
On Oilersnation Everyday with Tyler Yaremchuk, Frank Seravalli from Daily Faceoff dropped an intriguing idea that the Edmonton Oilers could, and should, exploit.
“You can sign the player (over 35 years old) to a league minimum deal and add performance bonuses to that contract. That money (the performance bonuses) does not count against your cap that season. You have the option to only show $775k (league minimum) and then whatever bonuses are hit by that player they are applied to next year’s cap.”
Frank then went on to explain how teams can find a loophole in the CBA regarding players that have been injured long-term.
“What happens with (Max) Pacioretty and other injured players is something that is not talked about all that often, but applies here. There is a stipulation in the CBA that you do not have to be over 35 to do the same thing with a player who has had a long-term injury and is a free agent. If you have played 400 in the NHL and you missed more than 100 days with a long-term injury you can do the same thing as an over-35 contract.”
The main two examples Frank used were Max Pacioretty and Connor Brown.
Pacioretty has been a top scorer in the NHL for a while now, with 326 goals in 855 games, and was producing well during his brief season in Carolina. However, it could be difficult to sign him because he is simply an US-born player. The Oilers have four Americans on the teams this season with two being free agent signings (Campbell and Ryan), one via trade in Nick Bjudstad and then Kailer Yamamoto, who is an Oilers draft pick. It is not often that we see the US stars come north of the border to Edmonton.
With that said Brown could be a more intriguing option for Holland. He was somebody the Oilers were linked with last summer but they could not find the correct trade. Instead, Brown ended up in Washington where he played only four games and did not register a point.
There is also some history between Brown and Connor McDavid. The two of them played together in the OHL with the Erie Otters from 2011 to 2014. In their final season together, the former Otters combined for 73 goals and 227 points. In the NHL, Brown has not found that same offensive juice from junior with a career-high of 43 points with Ottawa in the 2020 season.
The addition of Brown would be a great one for Edmonton, especially if you can get him at the league minimum. The cap will be heading in a positive direction too, which means if he hits his bonus then the damage won’t be as bad for the team. Additionally, he is a right-handed shot which is a spot the team desperately needs to address.
Carl Hagelin is another possibility. While he is not as glamorous as the other too, Hagelin could provide some extra depth to the lineup in a bottom-six role and he comes with Stanley Cup-winning experience.
Edmonton is not a team that needs to address needs by spending big money this summer. They will also have little cap space to play with since they need to resign Evan Bouchard, Ryan McLeod and then possibly Nick Bjugstad. After you get those deals done, Holland likely only has a few million to play with.
Perhaps Holland can get creative with the cap and take advantage by grabbing one of the three players above.


I host a weekly soccer podcast over on The 90th Minute that keeps you up to date with the latest news. If you are into that kind of stuff, check it out!

Check out these posts...