Edmonton Oilers Free Agency: Breaking Down The Salary Cap Situation

Zack Kassian #44, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Zack Kassian #44, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

With trade of Zack Kassian and the retirement of Duncan Keith the Edmonton Oilers went for a team with very little cap space to a team with potentially more than $20 million to spend.

Zack Kassian Trade

The events that have taken place the last couple of days have really help out the Edmonton Oilers in their hunt to become a better team. Trading Kassian for draft picks was the big move Holland made on draft day.

In this trade the Edmonton Oilers were able to shred $3.2 million of cap hit. It wasn’t that Zack Kassian wasn’t a serviceable player in his position, it was his cost. If Kassian was getting paid just over $1 million per season, I think he would still be on this team.

Unfortunately he was getting overpaid for the role that he was in. In this trade Ken Holland cleaned up his own mistake. In 2020 Ken Holland signed Kassian to his current deal, a 4 year deal worth $12.3 million. He got that money because he was playing major minutes with Connor McDavid and put up good numbers.

As the team got better players Kassian was pushed down the lineup and with that his point totals went down as well. I never blame the player for signing the contract, but I assume Kassian had to see at one point that this contract would not look good on him.

Duncan Keith Retiring

Too add to the Edmonton Oilers cap space is the retiring of Duncan Keith. After trading for Duncan Keith last offseason he aided the Edmonton Oilers in getting to the Western Conference Finals this past season.

He was not only a solid defensive player for this team he was a veteran that was able to add his insight to the younger Evan Bouchard. Early in the season Bouchard was playing with Nurse and was starting to struggle.

In season they paired Bouchard with Keith and Bouchard’s game improved. He may not have played against the same level of competition, but as a first season defenseman he should be playing against the weaker players.

With Duncan Keith deciding not to continue his career in the NHL his salary cap comes off of the Edmonton Oilers books. That is an extra $5.5 million for Ken Holland to spend this offseason to improve his team.

Keith was a similar look as Kassian was, he was a bit overpaid for what he delivered. I do think that the Duncan Keith overpayment was better than the Kassian one.

Edmonton Oilers Offseason Spending

With both of these moves, Klefbom on LTIR, and the rumoured Mike Smith LTIR the Edmonton Oilers will have $20.57M in cap room.

With that $20 million this gives the Edmonton Oilers all the room they need to make additions to this team. The first area of need for the Edmonton Oilers is goaltending. The Oilers can’t go another offseason without addressing this issue.

Even if Mike Smith doesn’t go on LTIR the Oilers need a goalie that can handle lots of games. If Smith is healthy he isn’t going to be able to handle playing 50+ games. If Smith is on LTIR you can’t rely on Skinner to take this team further than the goalies of last season.

With free agency opening up on July 13th we only have a couple more days to wait to see what type of moves the Edmonton Oilers will make. Hopefully they don’t overpay to much in both money and term. Unfortunately during free agency this happens a lot.

Next. Kailer Yamamoto Or Jesse Puljujärvi. dark