The Oilers needed more cap space heading into Free Agency and they have just freed up 3 million by buying out Andrej Sekera.
Going into July 1st, the Oilers had roughly 8.3 million dollars in cap space. With the team needing to address holes on the wing, centre, defense, and between the pipes…. simply put that wasn’t going to be able to get done with that little cap space. The buyout of Andrej Sekera announced on Sunday may help to open things up.
A week ago I took a look at some potential buyout candidates for the Edmonton Oilers, and at the time I noted that buying out Andrej Sekera wasn’t the worst idea, providing the team had something specific they could accomplish with the space freed up. Here is how the Sekera buyout ends up playing out.
2019/2020 – $2,500,000
2020/2021 – $2,500,000
2021/2022 – $1,500,000
2022/2023 – $1,500,000
Over the next two seasons, Edmonton will save 3 million dollars a year on Sekera’s contract, and then will still be on the books for 1.5 million the following two years. Now the Oilers have roughly 11.3 million going into free agency to try and be competitive and make some additions.
Is This A Good Move?
Until we see what additions are made it is premature to decide whether or not this was the best course of action. Should the Oilers end up going into the season with empty cap space, similar to what happened when the team traded Jordan Eberle this is a poor decision. Sekera has dealt with a number of injuries over the last two years, but when he returned last year after finally being given enough time to heal, he started to look like his old self again. A healthy Sekera is likely the OIlers fourth best defenseman, well above liabilities like Kris Russell.
Edmonton may still look to move Kris Russell later in the off-season should a trade option be available, likely for a team who misses out on acquiring the likes of Gardiner or Myers and is still looking for another option. Should that happen, Holland and the Oilers may be taking a massive gamble on the young ranks that include the likes of Caleb Jones, Joel Persson, and Ethan Bear to step up.
If the extra 3 million ends up being used to bring in a real top 6 forward or a true top 4 right shot defenseman this is certainly a defendable move by the Oilers organization. If the result is that Edmonton overpays on third line winger Brett Connolly or adding Mike Smith this is a bad move by Ken Holland.