The Edmonton Oilers have asked for defenceman Duncan Keith and goaltender Mike Smith to let the team know if they are retiring, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday.
During the second intermission between the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, Friedman noted the Oilers asked for their status’ to be clarified around July 1. That falls six days before the NHL draft on July 7, and just under two weeks before free agency opens on July 13th.
While Keith accounts for $5.5-million in cap space, Smith accounts for $2.2-million. Should they both retire, a massive amount of cap space would open up for the Oilers.
In the case of Keith, not only would they have the $5.5-million cap hit come off the books, they would be the benefactors of $3.4.-million in cap recapture relief. This is due to the contract structure of Keith’s deal, which was a heavily front-loaded deal.
During their exit interviews, Smith was clearly disappointed regarding the Oilers’ season and a report from colleague Jason Gregor noted the player is at least considering hanging up the skates.
Keith is owed $1.5-million in salary next season, while Smith is owed $2.5-million.
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 [email protected]