The Edmonton Oilers are in a sticky situation.
According to CapFriendly, the Oilers are more than $6 million over the salary cap. They are not alone in terms of needing to shed salary to become cap compliant, but the issue for Edmonton reaches further than that.
It would be one thing if the roster was complete, but the Oilers have to not only clear cap space but also add players to the roster. That combination could force General Manager Ken Holland to make a move that he would prefer not to make.
Speaking of Mr. Holland, it’s interesting that a few weeks ago, the conversation around the Oilers was about how much money was available to spend in free agency. Somehow, we’re now discussing the exact opposite, which is not exactly a glowing review of his moves so far.
The Oilers are in a tough salary cap situation.
One thing that may help save Edmonton is the potential for Oscar Klefbom and Mike Smith to move from the injured reserve to the long-term IR. That would clear a little more than $6 million.
From there, the Oilers must manage to fit in a pair of fourth-line forwards or make a trade that will enable them to pursue a flashier name that’s still on the market. At this point, the biggest concern is Edmonton finding a way to complete its team without losing a key player.
So far, Jack Campbell and Mattias Janmark are the two notable signings that were not on the roster a year ago. While both players will be useful for the Oilers, I worry that there hasn’t been enough improvement to the roster, as most of the offseason has been spent re-signing players.
If a member of last season’s Western Conference Final team is moved in a trade out of necessity, and only two notable names have been added, will the Oilers have done enough to make their team better by the time the season begins?
Some people, such as the crew on NHL Network, have suggested that Phil Kessel could be in the cards for Edmonton if a move was made to clear cap space. That type of signing could bolster the Oilers’ chances to compete for the Cup this season.
No matter what, the Oilers require creativity and sacrifice to simply sign a full complement of players, as they are one of several clubs with their hands tied thanks to the salary cap.