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Edmonton Oilers

Holland Knows Oilers Will “Pay The Price At Some Point In Time”

Ken Holland is aware that saving money today means less cap flexibility down the road. He called it the cost of “spending” to ice a good team.

Edmonton Oilers general manager spoke with the media after Day 1 of NHL free agency and jokingly called out the media for being on his case since he got there to spend the money the organization had to try and make the team better. Adding Connor Brown for $775K plus bonuses to get the player to a $4 million one-year payday, Holland pointed and said, “I’m doing what you’ve wanted me to do for about three years, I’m spending.”

He added, “We’re trying to win now. You had the heat on me since I’ve come here, so you must love this today.” The comments got a chuckle from the media members in attendance, but there is truth to what Holland is saying… he’s spending every possible dollar he can in an effort to round out his roster as completely as possible. He’s still got work to do — needing to get contracts done for RFAs Ryan McLeod and Evan Bouchard — and it feels like he doesn’t have enough money to do the types of deals he prefers considering the salary cap limitations.

Alas, that is the cost of doing business in a cap world where the ceiling has only gone up $2 million in five years.

“At the end of the day, we’re trying to win,” he said. He also acknowledged that just because the Oilers are only adding a $775K cap hit this season, doesn’t mean the team won’t pay for it later. If Brown hits hi bonuses, which he will inevitably do barring some sort of major catastrophe, the Oilers will be on the hook for the overages this and next season, depending on how much cap space is left when those bonuses need to be applied.

So too, signing bridge deals for Bouchard and McLeod means paying higher prices for them down the road. It’s not at all ideal, but it’s the only choice the Oilers have unless Holland starts making drastic moves like buying out Jack Campbell or trading Cody Ceci or Brett Kulak for pennies on the dollar. Without those moves, Holland will likely pay somewhere in the range of $3.5-$4 million for Bouchard, but in two years’ time, could be forced to pay upwards of $7-$9 million per season depending on what Bouchard does in two seasons as a top-four defenseman quarterbacking the league’s best power play.

Ken Holland NHL Draft 2023
Ken Holland NHL Draft 2023

Every decision has a cost. Holland is looking to pinch where he can now and ice the best possible team this year. He knows that’s going to catch up to Edmonton, even if and when the salary cap jumps next season.

There Is Good News for Edmonton

While the cap could eventually catch up to the Oilers, there is good news that a handful of teams aren’t blessed with. The Oilers have their main core locked into solid deals for the next three-five seasons. The rates players like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Evander Kane, Zach Hyman and others are making won’t go up and there will be money as the next few summers roll along to take care of business without any fear the team will lose its best assets.

Next: Bridge Deal for Evan Bouchard Close, But Could Be a Big Mistake

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  1. Pingback: Kyle Dubas Still Pursuing Erik Karlsson in Trade for the Penguins

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