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 Oilers Cap and potential savings. [message #698558]
Wed, 23 August 2017 16:18 Go to next message
RDOilerfan is currently online RDOilerfan
Messages: 2169
Registered: January 2016

2 Cups

There has been a lot of talk in various threads in this site. I have engaged in conversations on other sites about some fans concern about the Oilers cap situation. There are some who are Chia haters who figured he has screwed the Oilers.

Below is a link to the Oilers current contract situation.

https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/oilers

I have to think that the players listed are who will most likely make up the upcoming season roster. I also think that the majority of the players on that list will make up next years team as well. We all know that this year isn't a problem. It is next year that decisions will need to happen.

So in looking at link and the contracts that are already on the books for next season, I am curious to know where people think the Oilers could have saved significant money. This isn't intended to be a bash a player.



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 Re: Oilers Cap and potential savings. [message #698566 is a reply to message #698558 ]
Wed, 23 August 2017 20:54 Go to previous messageGo to next message
mightyreasoner  is currently offline mightyreasoner
Messages: 4244
Registered: October 2005
Location: Edmonton

4 Cups

I'll go through my evaluation of the contracts:

**NOTE: I'm including bonuses in the cap hit totals, because I think you need to when planning out your cap and your team**


Great Value

Cam Talbot (4.1M, 2 more years) - He'll need a new deal in a few years, and it will likely cost the Oilers a lot to re-sign him, something they'll have to make room for. To be honest, it's probably the only real HUGE contract to a core member of the team they'll have to sign during the next five years, however.

Oscar Klefbom (4.2 M, 6 more years) - A gamble due to his injury history, but last season he was worth well beyond what they paid him. He's probably not a great as some around Edmonton say, but he's very good, and if he gets no better than he currently is, he's still a steal at this price.

Adam Larsson (4.2 M, 4 more years) - Basically the same as Klefbom. Guy is a rock and worth every bit he is paid. The two of them are basically a saving grace that will become more and more valuable the tighter the cap gets.

Connor McDavid (3.8 M, 1 more year + 12.5 M, 8 more years) - He's the best played in the game, a generational talent, and in his prime years. It's not pocket change, but it is far from what he could have demanded, and in NHL dollars, there's no better bet to live up to the contract.

Patrick Maroon (1.5 M, 1 more year) - Basically what the Oilers envisioned Milan Lucic to be, but, $4.5M cheaper. Here's hoping they can find a way to keep him beyond this season at a bargain deal. You love playing with McDavid, right Patty?

Jussi Jokinen (1.1 M, 1 more year) - These are the deals I love, the late summer, veteran cheap signings. He is still productive, in a depth role, and you are almost guaranteed to get good value on a short-term contract. High reward, low commitment.

Matt Benning (1.1 M, 1 more year) - Great value right now, and exactly the type of young defensemen you want to break into the NHL on your third pairing (and the cost you want to be paying your third pairing). Will be interesting to see what he gets next year with him and Nurse both in need of new deals.


Fair Value

Andrej Sekera (5.5 M, 4 more years) - Makes everyone he plays with better, doesn't excel at any one thing but is good at everything. Solid defensively, solid offensively, the guy might be the most well-rounded of all our defensemen. Worth every cent, but is probably paid appropriately.

Ryan Strome (2.5 M, 1 more year) - Good value for the dollar right now, though limited offensive production for a Top-6 winger. Will be interesting to see his next contract, and whether they can get value from it.

Anton Slepyshev (1.5 M, 1 more year) - Unproven in a Top-6 role, but at the very least a good depth player for your fourth line. For his new deal, Oilers should probably be looking to pay him a base salary of what he is currently making with his bonuses.

Drake Caggiula (1.4 M, 1 more year) - Basically take everything I said about Slepyshev and apply it to Caggiula.

Laurent Broissoit (0.8 M, 1 more year) - Unproven, but not overpaid.

Iiro Pakarinen (0.7 M, 1 more year) - Depth player getting depth dollars. Easy to bury in AHL if needed.

Jujhar Khaira (0.7 M, 2 more years) - Depth player getting depth dollars. Easy to bury in AHL if needed.

Yohann Auvitu (0.7 M, 1 more year) - Depth player getting depth dollars. Easy to bury in AHL if needed. He's had a solid growth curve the last few seasons too; maybe a late bloomer? Low risk, potential reward.


Borderline Contracts

Leon Draisaitl (8.5 M, 8 more years) - Somewhere between fair value and poor value. I'm glad to have him locked up. But when you look at some of the other contracts signed around the league (Forsberg for example), it doesn't look amazing. Hopefully there isn't regression and there is continued progression. It's a gamble, but it could pay off.

Jesse Puljujarvi (3.4 M, 2 more years) - It is what it is. He is paid according to his draft position. He isn't yet earning that NHL money (and he's unlikely to reach that bonus total), but he can (should?) be playing on Bakersfield. Not only might this be the best for development, it like is best for the cap situation. As it is, they've already pulled a MacTavish / Draisaitl type move and burned a year of his ELC and of RFA for him.

Mark Letestu (1.8 M, 1 more year) - A touch high for a fourth line player, though he was on the top unit of both specialty teams and put up great point totals. Good news is the Oilers can get out of this easily next year if they need to. He's definitely an upgrade on other Oilers 4C options (Khaira, Caggilua), and maybe he can play 3C once RNH leaves, but I think he's probably over his head beyond that fourth line role.


Darnell Nurse (1.7 M, 1 more year) - Getting paid on an ELC what someone in his draft position should. This is one guy unlikely to make his bonuses, which makes this a much easier contract to swollow. What will be interesting is what happens next year. He can get a raise on his base, but I think the Oilers have to keep him in the $1.5 M range. He's yet to rise about a third pairing defenseman, and with Benning and Nurse up for new deals, and Russell locked in long-term, you can't afford to go blowing a lot of money on your third pairing kids.

Eric Gryba (0.9M, 2 more years) - The 2 years on the contract is the bad part; the cap hit can be buried if needed. Not really a bad contract, so much as a puzzling one. As last summer showed, he isn't hugely in demand, and while not a bad PB player, he doesn't belong in the Top-6 of a strong NHL defense group.


Poor Value

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($6M, 4 more years) - Puts up too few points, too far down the depth chart, for too much money. Honestly, I feel pretty confident about the Oilers in their own end when he is on the ice, but he just makes too much money for me to feel as unconfident as I do when he has the puck in the offensive end. He's not egregiously overpaid around the NHL, but for this club, where he is on the depth chart, it's not great and he'll likely be moved to a team that need a Top 1C or 2C.

Zack Kassian (2.0 M, 3 more years) - This is going to rock the boat, and I don't feel great about putting him here. I liked locking him up; but I don't see him as more than a fourth line player, and anytime you have someone on your fourth line making more than 1.5M, that's probably too much.


Anchors

Milan Lucic ($6 M, 6 more years) - I like his presence, I like his leadership and how he has embrace the community. And he probably lived up to expectations of around 50 points. But there is 6 more seasons, and once he hits 30, it is very likely both his health and his production will decrease and this contract will become more and more of a burden. Plus, you need to be a very good winger to justify $6M... there are just too many cheap alternatives available every summer.

Kris Russell ($4 M, 4 more years) - I know, I know. The contract that everyone loves to debate. I hate most aspects of it, but there are definitely better and worse parts of it. For THIS season, while I think the Oilers could have definitely spent $4M better (and while a better option in Travis Hamonic WAS available), the cap doesn't really affect the team in any meaningful way. Russell DID play a Top-4 role last year, and when he had Sekera riding shotgun, he did okay (did less okay when he was separated from Sekera, which will be the case for at least a few months to start the season). It's next year when things get tricky. You have Larsson, Klefbom, and Sekera who all are good bang for the buck. And then you have Benning and Nurse who will be looking for a raise. If either Benning or Nurse pass Russell on the depth chart in the next four seasons, $4M is an awful for a third pairing defenseman. And Benning an Nurse will (hopefully) both likely be improving and wanting both more icetime and more money. Something will have to give in that bottom-three. If it was a stud like Justin Faulk that was blocking Benning and Nurse, then that's one thing, but instead it is a borderline Top-4 defenseman who will be hard to move and is likely to decline during the duration. The Oilers may be forced to move a better defenseman (Benning or Nurse) to create room for the deal they signed Russell too. The cap hit isn't great, but it's the term combined with that cap hit that may be the real issue here.

Mark Fayne (3.6 M, 1 year) - It'll be good to get out of this one next year. A deal that looked okay when it was signed and has deteriorated quickly.

Benoit Pouliot (1.3 M, 4 more years) - Could have been a bad contract for two years, and now is 1.3 M is lost cap space for each of the next four.


One of the problems with the Oilers is they don't have a lot of "outs" among the worst contracts on the team: They can't move Lucic, they can't move Russell, and Pouliot is dead cap space. Thankfully Fayne will free up 3.6M next season.

This is further complicated by the fact that you are losing some of your value contracts during that time (Talbot, Maroon, Benning) that will either need to be re-signed or replaced and in either case are unlikely to hold their "bargain value"; Talbot in particular can expect a huge raise. And all of that is before you look to improve areas of your club and areas of weakness.

Next season they need to create $12 M for McDavid. Let's try:

Fayne - $3.6
Nugent-Hopkins - $6M (no return of roster player in trade)
Letestu - $1.8M
Jokinen - $1.1 M

So there we go. That creates the room ($12.5M), but it creates holes at 3C, 4C, 3RW, and doesn't allow for any increase in new contracts to Benning, Nurse, Strome, Slepyshev, Caggiula, or Maroon (UFA). That money will have to come from elsewhere (not sure where).

For what it's worth, I don't think the Oilers are in as bad of a position as say, Chicago or Los Angeles. LA has dark years ahead of them, and Chicago will get worse as Toews and Kane do. But that said, to not acknowledge there will be cap challenges for the Oilers, I think that's wishful thinking. They can survive and compete and maybe even win, but there isn't much room for error and they need to get VERY good at finding value contracts in UFAs, college signings, and the draft, because they just don't have the room to give significant raises to guys like Slepyshev, Caggiula, Nurse, etc. once their deals are running out.

[Updated on: Wed, 23 August 2017 23:51]


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 Re: Oilers Cap and potential savings. [message #698580 is a reply to message #698566 ]
Thu, 24 August 2017 12:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
RDOilerfan is currently online RDOilerfan
Messages: 2169
Registered: January 2016

2 Cups

mightyreasoner wrote on Wed, 23 August 2017 20:54

I'll go through my evaluation of the contracts:

**NOTE: I'm including bonuses in the cap hit totals, because I think you need to when planning out your cap and your team**


Great Value

Cam Talbot (4.1M, 2 more years) - He'll need a new deal in a few years, and it will likely cost the Oilers a lot to re-sign him, something they'll have to make room for. To be honest, it's probably the only real HUGE contract to a core member of the team they'll have to sign during the next five years, however.

Oscar Klefbom (4.2 M, 6 more years) - A gamble due to his injury history, but last season he was worth well beyond what they paid him. He's probably not a great as some around Edmonton say, but he's very good, and if he gets no better than he currently is, he's still a steal at this price.

Adam Larsson (4.2 M, 4 more years) - Basically the same as Klefbom. Guy is a rock and worth every bit he is paid. The two of them are basically a saving grace that will become more and more valuable the tighter the cap gets.

Connor McDavid (3.8 M, 1 more year + 12.5 M, 8 more years) - He's the best played in the game, a generational talent, and in his prime years. It's not pocket change, but it is far from what he could have demanded, and in NHL dollars, there's no better bet to live up to the contract.

Patrick Maroon (1.5 M, 1 more year) - Basically what the Oilers envisioned Milan Lucic to be, but, $4.5M cheaper. Here's hoping they can find a way to keep him beyond this season at a bargain deal. You love playing with McDavid, right Patty?

Jussi Jokinen (1.1 M, 1 more year) - These are the deals I love, the late summer, veteran cheap signings. He is still productive, in a depth role, and you are almost guaranteed to get good value on a short-term contract. High reward, low commitment.

Matt Benning (1.1 M, 1 more year) - Great value right now, and exactly the type of young defensemen you want to break into the NHL on your third pairing (and the cost you want to be paying your third pairing). Will be interesting to see what he gets next year with him and Nurse both in need of new deals.


Fair Value

Andrej Sekera (5.5 M, 4 more years) - Makes everyone he plays with better, doesn't excel at any one thing but is good at everything. Solid defensively, solid offensively, the guy might be the most well-rounded of all our defensemen. Worth every cent, but is probably paid appropriately.

Ryan Strome (2.5 M, 1 more year) - Good value for the dollar right now, though limited offensive production for a Top-6 winger. Will be interesting to see his next contract, and whether they can get value from it.

Anton Slepyshev (1.5 M, 1 more year) - Unproven in a Top-6 role, but at the very least a good depth player for your fourth line. For his new deal, Oilers should probably be looking to pay him a base salary of what he is currently making with his bonuses.

Drake Caggiula (1.4 M, 1 more year) - Basically take everything I said about Slepyshev and apply it to Caggiula.

Laurent Broissoit (0.8 M, 1 more year) - Unproven, but not overpaid.

Iiro Pakarinen (0.7 M, 1 more year) - Depth player getting depth dollars. Easy to bury in AHL if needed.

Jujhar Khaira (0.7 M, 2 more years) - Depth player getting depth dollars. Easy to bury in AHL if needed.

Yohann Auvitu (0.7 M, 1 more year) - Depth player getting depth dollars. Easy to bury in AHL if needed. He's had a solid growth curve the last few seasons too; maybe a late bloomer? Low risk, potential reward.


Borderline Contracts

Leon Draisaitl (8.5 M, 8 more years) - Somewhere between fair value and poor value. I'm glad to have him locked up. But when you look at some of the other contracts signed around the league (Forsberg for example), it doesn't look amazing. Hopefully there isn't regression and there is continued progression. It's a gamble, but it could pay off.

Jesse Puljujarvi (3.4 M, 2 more years) - It is what it is. He is paid according to his draft position. He isn't yet earning that NHL money (and he's unlikely to reach that bonus total), but he can (should?) be playing on Bakersfield. Not only might this be the best for development, it like is best for the cap situation. As it is, they've already pulled a MacTavish / Draisaitl type move and burned a year of his ELC and of RFA for him.

Mark Letestu (1.8 M, 1 more year) - A touch high for a fourth line player, though he was on the top unit of both specialty teams and put up great point totals. Good news is the Oilers can get out of this easily next year if they need to. He's definitely an upgrade on other Oilers 4C options (Khaira, Caggilua), and maybe he can play 3C once RNH leaves, but I think he's probably over his head beyond that fourth line role.


Darnell Nurse (1.7 M, 1 more year) - Getting paid on an ELC what someone in his draft position should. This is one guy unlikely to make his bonuses, which makes this a much easier contract to swollow. What will be interesting is what happens next year. He can get a raise on his base, but I think the Oilers have to keep him in the $1.5 M range. He's yet to rise about a third pairing defenseman, and with Benning and Nurse up for new deals, and Russell locked in long-term, you can't afford to go blowing a lot of money on your third pairing kids.

Eric Gryba (0.9M, 2 more years) - The 2 years on the contract is the bad part; the cap hit can be buried if needed. Not really a bad contract, so much as a puzzling one. As last summer showed, he isn't hugely in demand, and while not a bad PB player, he doesn't belong in the Top-6 of a strong NHL defense group.


Poor Value

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins ($6M, 4 more years) - Puts up too few points, too far down the depth chart, for too much money. Honestly, I feel pretty confident about the Oilers in their own end when he is on the ice, but he just makes too much money for me to feel as unconfident as I do when he has the puck in the offensive end. He's not egregiously overpaid around the NHL, but for this club, where he is on the depth chart, it's not great and he'll likely be moved to a team that need a Top 1C or 2C.

Zack Kassian (2.0 M, 3 more years) - This is going to rock the boat, and I don't feel great about putting him here. I liked locking him up; but I don't see him as more than a fourth line player, and anytime you have someone on your fourth line making more than 1.5M, that's probably too much.


Anchors

Milan Lucic ($6 M, 6 more years) - I like his presence, I like his leadership and how he has embrace the community. And he probably lived up to expectations of around 50 points. But there is 6 more seasons, and once he hits 30, it is very likely both his health and his production will decrease and this contract will become more and more of a burden. Plus, you need to be a very good winger to justify $6M... there are just too many cheap alternatives available every summer.

Kris Russell ($4 M, 4 more years) - I know, I know. The contract that everyone loves to debate. I hate most aspects of it, but there are definitely better and worse parts of it. For THIS season, while I think the Oilers could have definitely spent $4M better (and while a better option in Travis Hamonic WAS available), the cap doesn't really affect the team in any meaningful way. Russell DID play a Top-4 role last year, and when he had Sekera riding shotgun, he did okay (did less okay when he was separated from Sekera, which will be the case for at least a few months to start the season). It's next year when things get tricky. You have Larsson, Klefbom, and Sekera who all are good bang for the buck. And then you have Benning and Nurse who will be looking for a raise. If either Benning or Nurse pass Russell on the depth chart in the next four seasons, $4M is an awful for a third pairing defenseman. And Benning an Nurse will (hopefully) both likely be improving and wanting both more icetime and more money. Something will have to give in that bottom-three. If it was a stud like Justin Faulk that was blocking Benning and Nurse, then that's one thing, but instead it is a borderline Top-4 defenseman who will be hard to move and is likely to decline during the duration. The Oilers may be forced to move a better defenseman (Benning or Nurse) to create room for the deal they signed Russell too. The cap hit isn't great, but it's the term combined with that cap hit that may be the real issue here.

Mark Fayne (3.6 M, 1 year) - It'll be good to get out of this one next year. A deal that looked okay when it was signed and has deteriorated quickly.

Benoit Pouliot (1.3 M, 4 more years) - Could have been a bad contract for two years, and now is 1.3 M is lost cap space for each of the next four.


One of the problems with the Oilers is they don't have a lot of "outs" among the worst contracts on the team: They can't move Lucic, they can't move Russell, and Pouliot is dead cap space. Thankfully Fayne will free up 3.6M next season.

This is further complicated by the fact that you are losing some of your value contracts during that time (Talbot, Maroon, Benning) that will either need to be re-signed or replaced and in either case are unlikely to hold their "bargain value"; Talbot in particular can expect a huge raise. And all of that is before you look to improve areas of your club and areas of weakness.

Next season they need to create $12 M for McDavid. Let's try:

Fayne - $3.6
Nugent-Hopkins - $6M (no return of roster player in trade)
Letestu - $1.8M
Jokinen - $1.1 M

So there we go. That creates the room ($12.5M), but it creates holes at 3C, 4C, 3RW, and doesn't allow for any increase in new contracts to Benning, Nurse, Strome, Slepyshev, Caggiula, or Maroon (UFA). That money will have to come from elsewhere (not sure where).

For what it's worth, I don't think the Oilers are in as bad of a position as say, Chicago or Los Angeles. LA has dark years ahead of them, and Chicago will get worse as Toews and Kane do. But that said, to not acknowledge there will be cap challenges for the Oilers, I think that's wishful thinking. They can survive and compete and maybe even win, but there isn't much room for error and they need to get VERY good at finding value contracts in UFAs, college signings, and the draft, because they just don't have the room to give significant raises to guys like Slepyshev, Caggiula, Nurse, etc. once their deals are running out.


Good response.
I personally do not think that Letestu is overpaid given the role that he now plays but I think next season they will need to find a cheaper 4th line center. The bad part is to get a cheaper 4th line center, it will be a guy that is ONLY a 4th line center.

I am OK with the Gryba contract. He makes under 1 mill. He's a legit 6/7 guy. Well liked in the room. Has his limitations but when he is in, he gives you what he has and usually its OK mins in a bottom pairing mode. The league minimum is 650 so I don't know how much cheaper they can go to get what he brings.

The thing about Russell is I believe the Oilers were painted into a corner with Sekera getting injured. Yes they said all along they wanted to keep Russell but Sekera will be out until Xmas and it will probably take him another month to get up to speed. They are in win now mode so I don't think you just wait it out until he gets back. Experience wise, the Oilers defense is pretty inexperienced. If Russell isn't here and Sekera is out, the next guy is Larsson at a little over 300 games, then you have Gryba at a little over 250, the Klefbom at 189. You'd be asking Nurse and Benning to carry the load of the second pairing for a contending team. That is a lot to ask. The market was paying guys in Russell's range 4-5 yrs, 4 mill +. When the market pays Alzner gets 4.625 over 5 years, 4 mill over 4 yrs isn't out to lunch for Russell given the market. So if you pass on Russell, you aren't getting anyone better for cheaper. No vet who's any good is going to sign a 1 yr deal with the Oilers. People can bring up Hamonic, well he makes 142k less than Russell so there is no cap relief with him either.

So the defense is where I get hung up on. There was a ton of debate about if trading Eberle this year was the right decision. The thinking by some is they should have stood pat for one more year. So if that is what people think, how shouldn't that apply to the defense?



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 Re: Oilers Cap and potential savings. [message #698583 is a reply to message #698566 ]
Thu, 24 August 2017 19:14 Go to previous message
welcometotheOC  is currently offline welcometotheOC
Messages: 114
Registered: April 2010
Location: Also, sadly, Cowtown

No Cups

I won't comment on the your whole post, but I just wanted to point out that 12.5 - 3.8 for McDavid is 8.7 Million to find from expiring contracts/trades/etc, not 12.


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