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Money Too Tight To Mention

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Whether or not Draisaitl makes 7, 8, or 9 million a year on his new deal, the cap crunch is about to get real in 2018-19.

Edmonton Oilers v Anaheim Ducks - Game Two
Should be paid handsomely. Will be paid handsomely. Not the problem.
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Yesterday I wrote that it would be wise for the Oilers to help themselves to a free agent this weekend. The amount of right handed defencemen will be a very tiny number, but Cody Franson’s name still stands out on the list. I still think they ought to rummage through the bin of UFA right wingers, as they should have some free cap space in their stockings for the upcoming 2017-18 NHL season.

They’ve still got that opportunity, though it may be a little less than they thought.

NEW CAP HITS?

The number “13.25” keeps coming up for Connor McDavid. I’ve seen it circulate a few times, and if the Oilers sign McDavid to that number over eight years, then it’s worth every penny. Getting McDavid until age 29 would feel almost as good as that fateful night when the lotto balls rolled away from Toronto and right to Edmonton. As silly as this may sound to some today, 13.25 AAV would look like a bargain in six or seven years. It already looks great to me today.

For some time I’ve had the number 20 in my head. Twenty was a completely arbitrary number that would work out just fine when you combined McDavid and Draisaitl’s cap hits and rolled them into a single number. Thirteen and seven. Twelve and eight. It had absolutely no basis in fact, it really just sounded good. Twenty million and the Oilers can figure it all out in a year, yeah?

I’ve been screaming “sign, sign, sign!” McDavid’s deal no matter the cost. Oilers simply cannot tool around with the best player in the game today. For eight years? Sign the deal. I expect nothing less than a press conference and an announcement at 10:01 MDT this Saturday announcing this deal.

Draisaitl at nine is a little more than I thought. It’s possible that the Oilers could have this situation all wrapped up and are simply waiting to announce the deal, but it would be strange for Peter Chiarelli to announce a week ago that he’d ‘match anything’ with regards to an offer sheet if the deal was already done.

HOW WOULD THIS IMPACT THE OILERS?

If McDavid and Draisaitl’s deals end up somewhere in the 22 million AAV range, it’s a lot of cap space. I don’t for a second blame either of these two players, because there is still 55 million or so to ice your team assuming the cap goes up 2 million next year like it did this year. It could go up a little more, it could remain flat. I’m going with two million. Surely the Oilers can figure this out, right?

Let’s play along for a second.

We’ll say McDavid is actually 13.25 AAV.

Then just to use our fun 22 number, we’ll put Leon somewhere at 8.75. That’s 22 million.

So what else is on the table for sure?

  • Lucic, 6 MM
  • RNH, 6 MM
  • Sekera, 5.5 MM
  • Larsson, 4.167 MM
  • Klefbom, 4.166 MM
  • Talbot, 4.166 MM
  • Russell, 4 MM
  • Kassian, 1.95 MM
  • Gryba, 900K
  • Khaira, 675K

Add those players up, and you get a hair under 39 million with the freshly bought out Benoit Poulliot. Add McDavid and Draisaitl’s supposed cap hits equaling 22 million, and you’ve got 12 roster players pulling about 61 million. Let’s go ahead and suggest that the numbers for Draisaitl are a little out of wack, and say he makes somewhere closer to a million less. That’s still 60 million on 12 roster players. Add Jesse Puljujarvi to the mix, and you’re staring at about 61 million for 13 roster players.

Who’s left off this list? Patrick Maroon. Darnell Nurse. Matt Benning. Newly acquired Ryan Strome. Anton Slepyshev. Drake Caggiula. Mark Letestu. They’ll all be due a new deal. Maybe they’ll take less in the hopes to play on a championship team.

Depending on how the cap moves, it’ll leave around 15 or 16 million to fill out eight roster positions. That’s going to be an earache to work out, and someone from this list will almost certainly be moved out for pennies on the dollar again. It won’t be Sekera or Lucic (NMC). It’s the price you pay.

HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

You’re going to get different answers from different people here, but maybe getting Lucic on a seven year buyout-proof deal wasn’t such a good idea last year. We’ve covered Kris Russell fairly extensively already. That’s ten million dollars right off the bat. In a vacuum, that's no big deal. When you've got two players commanding big cap hits, it becomes an issue quickly.

It will be interesting to see what develops over the next few days. We’ve heard the story about how the team “had” to trade Jordan Eberle in order to free up cap, only to see it be shoveled off to Kris Russell minutes later. I don’t know how soon the next move is going to come, but there’s no way that Chiarelli goes into 2018-19 with this problem hanging over his shoulder.