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Edmonton Oilers Have Tough Decisions This Summer

Edmonton Oilers Have Decisions to Make on Young Players This Offseason


Every team in the NHL has decisions to make in the offseason when it comes to players in their system. The Edmonton Oilers are no different. 

From players who were drafted and not in the NHL yet to players who are on expiring entry-level deals. While others have been on bridge deals looking for another extension.

As Allan Mitchell of the Athletic writes the next decisions made by general manager Ken Holland will shape what the Edmonton Oilers look like long-term as well as their minor league team the AHL Bakersfield Condors.

A big factor in what Holland does like with any team in the NHL will be the salary cap.

While the younger players needing ELC’s are important, the Oilers have bigger decisions when it comes to defenceman Evan Bouchard along with restricted free agents who have arbitration rights in Jesse Puljujarvi, Ryan McLeod, and Klim Kostin.

The Oilers, like most teams, will see the salary cap go up to likely $83.5 million next season. While there is a sense surrounding the Oilers they have plenty of room to wheel and deal this upcoming offseason as Oscar Klefbom‘s and Mike Smith‘s contracts expire. Not to mention Milan Lucic‘s dead cap space comes off the book, the Oilers don’t have much room.

They have 16 players signed for next season. Edmonton needs seven more. Realistically they only have $9 million in cap space if you factor in bonuses and the cap hit for the buyout of James Neal.

Most believe the Oilers and Puljujarvi are going to part ways. Things have not worked out for him in Edmonton. It will be best for both parties to move even though he is one year left on his deal that carries a $3 million dollar cap hit. Even though Kailer Yamamoto is hurt, once he returns, the Oilers will resume taking calls on Puljujarvi, the 2016 4th overall selection.

Ryan McLeod took a team-friendly deal last offseason worth $798,000. The way McLeod has played this season, he will get a raise on a deal with term.

Klim Kostin is a wild card in all of this. Kostin has been great for the Oilers this season. He has played on the second line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Mattias Janmark. His next contract should be team friendly, but that remains to be seen.

Then there is defenceman Evan Bouchard. Bouchard is in the last year of his entry-level deal. His not having the greatest of years. But the Oilers need help defensively. Bouchard’s next contract could be similar to Noah Dobson‘s three-year bridge deal worth $12 million. That contract carries an AAV of $4 million.

His down year means the Oilers could sign him to a lesser-term deal with a lower cap number similar to Dobson.

The bottom line is the Oilers have to get some of these players on team-friendlier deals to keep this team together. Say you get McLeod and Kostin in under $3 million combined and Bouchard signs a bridge under $3 million, that leaves $3 million to sign four players.

Again this scenario has Puljujarvi remaining in Edmonton. If they can move his $3 million they will have more to sign those four players.




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