The NHL is in its slow period. It is the time after the draft, free agency, and before the camps and preseason start. That doesn’t mean there is nothing for the Edmonton Oilers to do. There are still a few jobs that the Edmonton Oilers need to do from now till then.
The two main things the Oilers need to get done is to re-sign their restricted free agents. The two they still need to sign are Ryan McLeod and Evan Bouchard. Both of these players are crucial to the makeup of this team.
Ryan Mcleod has arbitration rights and has chosen to file for arbitration this offseason. He is set to have his hearing on August 4th. After that day we will know what McLeod’s cap hit will be. Hopefully, for the Edmonton Oilers, it will be a relatively low number.
The problem with going to arbitration is at the end of it there is a lot of dirty laundry aired. The team basically picks apart its own player in order to make the arbitrator seem like the player isn’t worth that much. It can really have a negative effect on the player.
If it is possible the Edmonton Oilers want to get this signing done before it goes to arbitration. This way there is no rift between the player and the team. From McLeod’s point of view, he is a young player that only has so many years in the NHL and wants to get as much money as possible.
McLeod already took a cheap deal last season, that was favourable for the Edmonton Oilers. I doubt he will be doing that again, and why should he? He is worth more than the $798,000 he was getting last year and I think he knows that. He is a Swiss Army Knife for the Edmonton Oilers and he knows that.
The problem for the Edmonton Oilers is they only have so much cap space and they need to sign both McLeod and Bouchard. That is why the arbitration hearing is an important piece to the Edmonton Oilers offseason plans.
The way I see the Evan Bouchard signing going is the Oilers are going get a deal done with Ryan McLeod, either before the arbitration or through arbitration then they are going to give the remaining money to Evan Bouchard.
It is the only play that makes sense for the Edmonton Oilers. Not only that, it is the only way they can guarantee they are cap compliment moving forward. If they were to sign Bouchard to an amount, then the arbitrator give McLeod too much they are over the cap.
In a perfect world, they sign Bouchard now for a cheap bridge deal, then the arbitrator rules in the Edmonton Oilers favour and McLeod has an even lower hit than expected and the Edmonton Oilers have room to spare. That’s the thing about a perfect world… It doesn’t exist.
Edmonton Oilers Dominos
The rest of the offseason is going to be a bunch of dominos waiting to fall. The very first domino for the Edmonton Oilers is the Ryan McLeod deal. After that, it will be the Bouchard contract. Then depending on how the cap scenario for the Edmonton Oilers looks decided what is left to be done.
The offseason is far from over and there are lots of things the Oilers can do from now to puck drop on opening night. If you are expecting a big move, don’t get your hopes up. I don’t really expect much to happen aside from internal signings.