All signs are clearly pointing towards the Edmonton Oilers trying to clear out cap space. It’s a necessity at this point of time.
Edmonton has a number of players to sign, and a number of holes to fill. Zack Kassian is likely out by way of buyout or trade, and I think there’s enough of a market for a puck-moving, right-shot defenceman in Tyson Barrie. He’s just a luxury the Oilers can’t afford.
But what happens with the Oscar Klefbom contract?
“I’m expecting we’re going to be in LTI next year with Klefbom,” said Oilers GM Ken Holland, adding that at this past year’s deadline, he had to work deals where Montreal ate salary on Brett Kulak and Philadelphia did on Derick Brassard. “That’s the reality that I’m looking at next year at the trade deadline because I’m not expecting Klef to play.”
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When asked about trading the contract, Holland noted it only gives you cap space at the trade deadline due to cap space accruing through the season.
The Oilers undoubtedly could, in theory, move the Klefbom contract. His deal is in its final season and could help teams like Arizona, Buffalo, Detroit or Anaheim get to the cap floor.
There is, however, a small wrinkle that makes things difficult. While his cap hit is $4.167-million, his salary owed is $5.169-million. That’s an expensive price tag for a team like Arizona, who has made it known they would be open to taking on contract, but has lower revenues. Would Detroit maybe be willing to step up?
Either way, it’s not going to be an easy clear. Despite slightly different circumstances, the Toronto Maple Leafs were forced to move a first-round pick to get themselves out of the final year of the Patrick Marleau contract.
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DailyFaceoff’s Frank Seravalli listed the Oscar Klefbom contract as the 20th asset on his first offseason trade targets list.
It’s worth noting as the Oilers don’t have any picks in the second, third, or fourth rounds as it stands today. By reading the tea leaves, it seems to me like the Oilers might have a tough time getting out of this LTIR jam. And the other question remains: would it be worth it?
As Holland mentioned it could free up some cap space for the team around the deadline, but that’s about it. The Oilers don’t have any mid-round assets that are likely moved in these sorts of deals, so would a team maybe consider a prospect like Dmitri Samorukov as a sweetener? What about Tyson Barrie? Who knows.
I’m not getting my hopes up about the Oilers being able to move Klefbom’s LTIR.
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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 [email protected]

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