Friday, August 24, 2012

Oilers will have a tough time keeping the Big Four

With the NHL likely headed for another work stoppage, tomorrow's system will undoubtedly be somewhat different than the current landscape. However, the likelihood of any sort of big "rollback" in salaries occurring is frankly non-existent.While the owners may want it, at the end of the day, both sides are going to have to give in.

Having said all that, if the Edmonton Oilers use Taylor Hall's new extension as the organization's salary "benchmark", it would cost this franchise another $12 million to keep the likes of Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in Oiler silks. If that is indeed the case, what effect would it ultimately have on the club's cap situation in the very near future?

While no one really knows what the cap will be once NHL hockey finally returns, long term, does a number like $60 million not make sense? Even if there were to be a marginal rollback of some sort, it would only be a short term hit. Regardless of what is said, we have all seen this song and dance before and know what the result will be. The owners will, once again, start spending their money like drunken sailors in a year or two and the cap will undoubtedly increase.

Some may feel that will lead to nothing but more problems, when in reality, it could have the opposite effect. If the owners can secure a split with the players association on overall revenues, that  they both could live with, and incorporate some sort of revenue sharing into the mix...things should be good. The cap would obviously rise but the system should still work...that is unless the owners continue to try and out smart themselves and spend money they do not have.

So for the sake of argument, lets use $60 million as the cap number for the following exercise: signing Nail Yakupov to his second NHL contract. Let us assume that the Oilers were able to sign both Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins to similar deals as Hall. Which would take $18 million in cap space and leave Edmonton roughly $42 million to fill out the rest of their roster.     

They would need to sign another ten forwards, seven defenceman and two goaltenders. One would have to think, the backend would cost a minimum of $24 million dollars. Say $5 million on your two goalies and a breakdown on the blueline that would work something like $6M, $4M, $4M, $2M, $1M, $1M, $1M. Which means, only $18 million would be left over. for the remaining forward slots

In a perfect world, Yakupov is as advertised and they lockup the talented Russian to a similar deal as the other three youngsters. Problem with that, it would leave Edmonton roughly $12 million for nine more spots. Not exactly ideal, especially if you include the likes of Magnus Paajarvi and Anton Lander  both being on their second NHL contract.

Signing only two of those nine players to $2.5 million deals, that would leave the organization  just $7 million for seven players. Obviously on a team that looks to be as top heavy as the Oilers could be, your bottom six forwards and bottom pairing defenceman can't make much money, which is how it should be. However, this sort of  scenario makes it more than a little tight.

Which simply means the likelihood of the Edmonton Oilers keeping all four of their prized possessions, a near impossibility. In the end, it's tough to say who the odd man out will end up being but keeping all four appears to be nothing more than a pipe dream.

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