The Edmonton Oilers made another astute signing on Monday, inking left-winger Dominik Kahun to a one-year deal worth $975K. It’s one more in a series of smart, low-cost moves by Oilers GM Ken Holland, this time grabbing a player who has a long history with one of the team’s top stars in Leon Draisaitl.
The only potential difference with this signing than the rest is that it puts the Oilers over the salary cap ceiling of $81.5 million for the upcoming season. On the surface, it creates a situation where Edmonton has some salary moves to make and potentially opens up the Oilers to an offer sheet scenario where a team tries to pluck Ethan Bear from a handcuffed Ken Holland.
With the restricted free agent is still a priority for Holland and a player he wants to get signed sooner than later, is there any real concern here? In other words, how does Edmonton going over the cap, specifically because of Kahun’s deal, affect the Oilers ability to get Bear signed?
The answer is, it shouldn’t really.
First off, the Oilers can exceed the salary cap prior to the season starting, which shouldn’t greatly affect their ability to sign Bear if they’re looking at a long-term deal. They’ll need to get under the cap ceiling prior to the season getting under way, but they can do so by placing Oscar Klefbom on LTIR.
So too, if a team comes with an offer sheet for Bear and he signs it, the Oilers will probably match it, saying thank you along the way because any offer will likely be long-term, which is kind of what the Oilers want anyways.
That said, while a long-term deal is preferable for the Oilers it’s not as likely. A bridge deal seems more like the course of action the team will take and that means the Oilers can ink Bear to a lower-cost deal, and use the rest of the offseason to find a quick way to shed a bit of salary.
Nothing on the Bear Contract Front
None of this may matter right now. Recent reports suggest there’s not much cooking when it comes to Bear and a new deal with the Oilers. That’s not to say Edmonton fans should fear a deal not getting done. It’s just that talks aren’t front and center in either side’s world.
Kurt Leavins of the Edmonton Journal writes:
“Nothing doing on the Ethan Bear front. The pending RFA Bear has been qualified, but so far when it comes to an extension all’s quiet on the Western Front.
Leavins suggests it’s because Bear doesn’t have much leverage. He adds that while there’s harsh economic realities facing players who lack arbitration rights, they’re not in a position to really negotiate. Bear falls into that group.
Essentially, the Oilers going over the cap will mean some internal housekeeping at some point, especially once Bear is signed. But, the Kahun deal is not reason to hit the panic button.
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