Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland spoke with Oilers Now host Bob Stauffer on Wednesday and discussed the team, their results, the progression of a few players and the NHL Trade Deadline. The latter of which was telling, especially considering it is assumed the Oilers will be buyers.
While it wasn’t going to take a rocket scientist to figure out that any trade the Oilers make would need to include some salary going the other way, Holland specifically told Stauffer that because of Edmonton’s LTI cap space situation, any deal is automatically money-in, money-out for the team.
What Holland Said About the Oilers Cap
In trying to explain how the Oilers have to look at their salary cap, Holland noted:
“You look at our situation, we’re, you know with Klef, we’re in LTI. What LTI means, you know, if you don’t have a person on long-term injury, whatever cap space you’ve had over the course of the start of the season, it basically doubles in value.”
He added that it doubles and triples and that by the time you get to the trade deadline, in a normal 82-game season, it’s almost four times whatever you’ve got. In other words, if you’re in LTI, they count the cap hit differently and you don’t incur space. So, with Klefbom going on LTI on opening day, “Were dollar in, dollar out.”
What That Means for Possible Deals
Holland did note that he would makes some calls and answer some calls over the next month but it will be interesting to see if any of the “proposed” trade ideas that are out there make sense for Edmonton.
Can the Oilers add a player like Eric Staal without ensuring the Buffalo Sabres retain salary and take a contract back? It doesn’t sound like it. Would the Oilers like to find a top-six forward that can join the team and accentuate the first or second line? Sure, but they can’t just add money without moving another asset that likely has value and is around the same dollar figure.
Case Study: Ethan Bear for Jake DeBrusk
Over the past 24-48 hours, there’s been a bit of a ground swell over the idea that perhaps an Ethan Bear for Jake DeBrusk deal makes sense for both sides. Some suggest Bear has become a bit expendable considering the sheer amount of right-handed defensemen the Oilers have on their roster.
David Staples of the Edmonton Journal wrote on March 5, 2021:
He’s missed a game with the coach sitting him in the pressbox. He’s been injured. While he was out, the team thrived. He’s fought his way back into the line-up, but he’s yet to consistently play his “A” game, the kind of smart, steady and tough hockey that saw him earn a place in Edmonton’s Top 4 on defence last season.
The problem with this type of trade — at least if we take Holland’s comments at face value — is that the money doesn’t work.
Bear is making $2 million this and next season, whereas DeBrusk is making $3.675 million. Outside of the fact fans are suggesting trade might be a bad idea and are evoking nightmares of a Jeff Petry from years ago, the Oilers would have to add more to the deal to make it even out on their books.
So, for fans who were freaking out that Bear might be moved for DeBrusk, it doesn’t sound like Holland is even looking in that direction.
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