Thursday, September 27, 2018

Looking ahead to post-season 2019

There's been some talk about a few boat anchor contracts that need to be dealt with in order to make room to sign several RFAs come July 1, 2019.  The forward RFAs are all proving their worth in the preseason thus far.  Whether that translates to regular season results obviously remains to be seen.  But visually, seeing them up close the other night versus the Canucks, the speed and hockey sense is there for all three of them, except one.

Here is what I predict Chiarelli will deal with the RFAs:

  1. Ty Rattie #8 (current $800k)Based on his 4 game 10 point pre-season performance, he's currently on pace for 191 goals and 273 points.  Highly unlikely.  If he scores more than 20 goals, he'll get $3.5m AAV for 3 or 4 years.  If he gets 30, then he'll be in the $4.0-$4.5m territory.
  2. Jesse Puljujarvi #98 (current $925k)If he scores more than 20 goals, he'll get a bridge contract at $3.85m AAV for 2 years.
  3. Jujhar Khaira #16 (current $675k)If he scores 10 goals and stays on the third line, $2.5mm AAV for 3 years wouldn't be out of the question.
  4. Tobias Rieder (current $2m)
    Like Jokinen and Cammalleri, Rieder is one of those fill-in stop-gap guys until a drafted prospect develops to take his place. If he contributes and scores 10 goals, he could remain at $2m for another year.
  5. Pontus Aberg #46 (current $650k)When Chaisson makes the team, I can see Aberg and Caggiula sitting in the pressbox.  At this point, I don't see him getting re-signed.  The Oilers may pump and dump him.
  6. Cam Talbot #33 (current $4.167m)He's at $4.16m.  If his save percentage stays above .920 and Oilers make the playoffs, it's possible he could get bumped to $5m or more.

That's a top end total of $16.85m where currently, all six of these guys total $9.217m, so that's a $7.63m increase on the cap. 

If the league cap remains the same at $79.5m, the Oilers will have $14.2m in cap space

So $14.2m minus $16.85m is -$2.65m over the cap, meaning some trades for picks will need to happen.

If Sekera returns, his $5.5m AAV returns so let's be conservative and not count on him forever being on LTIR.

Many are predicting Alex Chaisson makes the team. Last year he was paid $660k, and I can see him being signed for $800k.  If he has a decent year, a $1m contract for 2019 isn't out of the realm of possibility, especially if Caggiula makes $1.5m.

So that makes 2019 -$3.65m over.

Then Chiarelli needs to sign a backup goalie again because no prospect in the Bake is NHL ready.  If Koskinen actually pans out, then he'll want another ridiculous $2.5m AAV for at least a year.

Now they're -$6.15m over.

But wait!  They only have six defensemen signed for next year. 
If Bouchard sticks, that's +$925m.

Now they're -$7.075m over.

But wait!  Add Yamamoto's ELC coin because he's making the team too.  That's +$894,166m.

Now they're -$7.969m over.  

Now consider trading these guys for draft picks:
Caggiula @ $1.5m
Kassian @ $1.95m
= $3.45m

Now they're down to -$4.52m over.

Let's say realistically the cap goes up in 2019 to $2m.

Now they're only -$2.52m over.

That means Chiarelli likely can't re-sign Rieder ($2m) AND Chaisson ($800k).

That puts them at $780k under the cap.

So, they'll expect one or two prospects like Benson ($808k), MacLeod (?) and Marody ($925k) to step up.

But that's still not enough.  They'll need to shed another contract or limit the bids on the aforementioned RFAs.  Maybe Khaira signs for $1.5m not $2.5m, saving $1m. 

Now they're $1.78m under the cap.  Benson (+$808k) and MacLeod (say the same as Marody at $925k) = $1.73m.

Which finally puts them at $0.05k under the cap.


Chiarelli has to seriously look at trading one or two boat anchor contracts like Kris Russell and Milan Lucic.  That's $10m in cap space right there.  Kris Russell I can see happening because his no movement clause allows him to pick 10 teams next year, but Lucic's contract is far more difficult.

For the rightshot defensemen, I'm also thinking if Bouchard and Bear both have good years, you could see Benning moved at the deadline in 2020, because he'll want more coin, negating half of Russell's traded AAV.

Ok after all that brainstorm and thunder, what does the team look like starting in October 2019? Not much changes from this season start except the 4th line.

October 2019:
Trades:  Caggiula, Kassian

Nuge - McDavid - Rattie
Lucic - Draisaitl - Puljujarvi
Khaira - Strome - Yamamoto
Benson - Brodziak - MacLeod

Klefbom - Larsson
Nurse - Benning
(Sekera?)Russell - Bouchard


Trade deadline 2020:
Trades: Russell, Benning

Nuge - McDavid - Rattie
Lucic - Draisaitl - Puljujarvi
Khaira - Strome - Yamamoto
Benson - Brodziak - MacLeod

Klefbom - Larsson
Nurse - Bouchard
Jones or Lowe - Bear


So what you're seeing this season is the top 9 forwards and top 3 defensemen forming a core of 12 players--13 including Talbot.