Yesterday we learnt that the Edmonton Oilers will not use one of their two compliance buyouts on Shawn Horcoff this summer. Instead the club will revert to trying to trade the team’s captain and according to Bob Stauffer, the 34-year old is willing to accept such fate.
Earlier this month Oilers’ GM Craigh MacTavish all but said that Horcoff wouldn’t be playing in Edmonton next season but he didn’t state how that move would take shape. Speculation has been running wild that Horcoff could be bought out by the Oilers and while that still remains a possibility, Mac-T would obviously prefer to snag a return for the long-time Oiler than lose him for nothing.
Horcoff comes with a hefty price tag for any club that may take him on with a cap hit of $5.5 million per season for the next two years. Shipping Horcoff out of Edmonton in a one-for-one swap won’t garner much in return for MacTavish given the lack of offensive production he’s put up in the last few years so he could become part of a package deal.
Bob McKenzie of TSN tweeted that Horcoff could be bought out by the team that trades for him, making the whole situation a bizarre one to say the least. If that should happen, it’s forcing Mac-T’s hand somewhat given the deadline to use the buyouts is July 4th at 5pm EST. Meaning a deal will have to take shape in the next seven days or less, otherwise MacTavish might have to eat his words about not using a buyout on Horcoff.
So here we sit with the end of June approaching and while the draft has to be center stage for the Oilers management, subtle distractions like this one could end up taking up precious minutes in MacTavish’s busy day. Will he be able to find a trade partner, someone who will take on Horcoff’s contract for the next two years? Or will the Oilers captain return to Edmonton for one more season? Or will he be bought out and put the Oilers in the same category as the Philadelphia Flyers who told their netminder Ilya Bryzgalov that he wouldn’t be an amnesty buyout; only to change their mind a week later and send him packing.
One thing is for sure. It’s going to be a wild week with the draft this weekend and then the buyout period that will lead up to the beginning of the free-agent frenzy.
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