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Peter Chiarelli Does Not Have A Fundamental Grasp On How To Manage His Team’s Salary Cap

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A story of two goalies, two different teams, in two days.

Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 15
Mikko Koskinen (not pictured) and Pavel Francouz are goaltenders who both played in the KHL last season. Koskinen signed with the Oilers yesterday, while Francouz signed with Colorado today.
Photo by Matt Slocum - Pool/Getty Images

The Oilers signed a backup goaltender yesterday. That’s good.

Mikko Koskinen finished last season with a .931 SV% over in the KHL. The Oilers were able to get him for a one year, 2.5MM deal. That’s a fair bit of change for a backup netminder, but I see where the team is coming from. The acquisition of Al Montoya seems rather frivolous at this point, and it seems even more frivolous when you account that the team acquired him when the season was all but lost in January.

It’s even more frivolous when you realize that Montoya has another year on his deal, and will likely be buried in Bakersfield this coming season. The Oilers did get a likely upgrade, even if it was a little pricey.

IN OTHER NEWS

The Avalanche signed a goalie today. His name is Pavel Francouz. He’s the guy in the picture atop the page. He had a considerably better season in the KHL by the numbers when compared to Koskinen. He finished this past season with a .946 SV%, and the Avalanche ended up getting him for a one year deal in 2018-19.

The price? 690K. In case you’re not keeping score at home, the Avalanche signed a guy who had a better season than Mikko Koskinen did last year, and they did it for nearly two million dollars a season less than what Koskinen got.

In fact, Francouz’s last three seasons have been better (.945, .946, .953) than Koskinen’s last three (.931, .915, .916).

So why would Peter Chiarelli spend nearly two million dollars more on Mikko Koskinen?

THE CAP

I made a comment yesterday that an errant million dollars durin this year’s offseason could really throw some things out of whack. Here’s a pretty good example of something that could really come back and bite the Oilers if things don’t fall just perfectly from here on out.

The Oilers have some key contracts to figure out (Darnell Nurse, Ryan Strome, Matt Benning), as well as some unknowns that will likely require a trip to the free agency counter (a couple of third line players, a couple of extras to play forward, and a couple of third pair defencemen). Depending on how high the cap goes up, the Oilers will have between 14 and 18 million to figure out eight contracts.

This goes on top of some other gross cap mismanagement; Milan Lucic for the next five years at six million dollars, Kris Russell at four million for the next three. This doesn’t even factor the awful trades that Chiarelli has bumbled through since becoming this club’s GM three years ago. Though, Chiarelli could have made a move or two with the eight million in cap that remained available to the club throughout the season. You know how all of that worked out.

After watching yesterday’s signing (and today’s signing by Colorado), I’ve got even less faith in Chiarelli than I did just 48 hours ago. I didn’t think that was possible.