The Oilers have placed James Neal on waivers for the purpose of a buyout.
Neal finished the 2021 abbreviated season with ten points in 29 games (5-5-10). The Oilers will gain access to nearly four million in cap space for the next two years. The Oilers will carry a 1.9MM dead cap hit between now and 2024-25.
Neal was acquired by the Oilers two years ago when Ken Holland sent Milan Lucic to the Calgary Flames. It’s my opinion that the deal was some of Ken Holland’s best work to date with the Oilers; he moved a seemingly immovable contract that had a NMC latched to it. A lot of the lustre of the move was simply based on the buyout, and that’s where we are at today.
Prior to the buyout, the Oilers had roughly 9 million in cap space available. Neal’s buyout puts that number closer to 13 million. The Oilers will need it, especially if they’re close to signing Zach Hyman as we are led to believe.