The Edmonton Oilers find themselves in a position still where they may be able to help a team up against the cap. The Flyers are still in tight and so are the Chicago Blackhawks. Currently, the Blackhawks are over the cap by 2.2 million dollars. Of course, the NHL requires teams to be at or below the cap before they can proceed or they are heavily penalized.
The Oilers, of course, still have some space. They could absorb a contract by way of trade. Players available through both teams could be Vincent Lecavalier, Braydon Coburn, Johnny Oduya and Patrick Sharp. These players carry hefty contracts but they are also excellent players, or at least at one time were. So, then, should the Oilers nibble or not?
One player who is a possibility is Johnny Oduya from the Hawks. Oduya (whose cap hit is 3.375 million) has been a solid part of their blue line and is a seasoned playoff veteran. The Oilers still have some room for more players on the blue line but they would be forcing one of their young upstarts back down to the minors and that may not be the plan. I get the impression that the team is looking to start at least one young defender from OKC and Oduya would undo those plans. Alternatively, they could trade Jeff Petry. Both he and Oduya are UFA next year and the Oilers could hold back 725,000 in salary, saving the Hawks 1 million.
Sharp is a possibility too, but he is 32, has a massive cap hit of nearly 6 million and with Petry going one way plus prospects and likely a little salary, it starts to crowd the Oilers cap as well. They need to resign Justin Schultz still and a signing like Sharp would make things awful tight. At the same time, the team does have 8.6 million in space, but taking on a risky contract could jeopardize the future.
The reality is that unless the Oilers take back a veteran defenseman at a lower hit or a major center from an opposing team, this line up is not going to shift. Lecvalier is on the decline, Coburn may not be a huge improvement, and Sharp is not likely to want to move to Alberta. There will be a ton of discussion leading up to the start of the new season, but while the team will be mentioned in talk about cap space and their relative abundance of it, I’m willing to bet management stand pat.