Two Players the Edmonton Oilers Could Use But Don’t Have Cap Space For

Nov5, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators center Mika Zibanejad (93) and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Schiefele (55) battle for position in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Nov5, 2015; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators center Mika Zibanejad (93) and Winnipeg Jets center Mark Schiefele (55) battle for position in the first period at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Edmonton Oilers have been a team on the rise in recent years, but with limited cap space, there are a few players they could use but simply can’t afford to add to their roster. Here are two fantasy players they could have in a dream world.

Fantasy acquisition #1 – Mark Scheifele

Scheifele is a rare NHL talent – an elite talent you can only get through the draft. Drafted seventh overall by the Jets the year the Thrashers moved from Atlanta to Winnipeg to become the Jets – in 2011. He had a seven-game audition after his second junior year when he was sent back to the farm team in St. John’s….for a whopping 10 AHL playoff games (I guess the years played limit in the CHL doesn’t apply to AHL playoff games). Those 10 AHL games were the last games he ever played in the minors, going back to junior for one more season and another four games with the Jets before making the NHL for good in 2013-14. He broke open in year three of being a full-time NHL player to go 29-32-61 in 71 games. Ever since then, he’s had seven seasons of 20+ goals, two seasons of 30+ goals, and one season – this past one, in fact – of 40+ goals, going 42-26-68 in 81 games, albeit with a terrible -16 to boot. Scheifele is capable of playing better defensively, we know this from previous seasons.

Anyway, in recent seasons Winnipeg has become the Central Division’s version of the Flames – a team that should be doing better but perpetually underachieves. The Jets 2.0 made the Western Conference finals in 2018 and ever since then have either bowed out in the first round or not made the playoffs at all.

This brings us to why Scheifele is actually available – he’s tired of the Jets underachieving and wants a change of scenery to a place where he has a chance at winning a cup. He hasn’t officially asked the Jets for a trade (yet) but is showing malcontent behaviour in a Jets uniform these days. Stuff like this certainly doesn’t help the situation either.

Scheifele is a natural center but shoots right and as such from a hockey perspective would probably make a fantastic addition for the Edmonton Oilers at RW on either their first or second line – there’s no room for him at center seeing as how Mcdavid and Draisaitl are pretty much firmly entrenched in the 1-2 center positions here in Edmonton for the foreseeable future with Nuge as a great alternate if Woodcroft wants to change things up.

But Could He End Up On The Edmonton Oilers?  No

Scheifele would no doubt make the Edmonton Oilers top-six forward group the best in the league in my books, but it won’t happen because the Oilers simply don’t have the cap space unless Holland either trades for an LTIR contract, like Shea Weber’s from Arizona (which IMO he would’ve done already if he was going to do that) or makes major surgery to the roster.

Even if he somehow does manage to pull off a trade for Scheifele, whose cap hit is $6.125 million by the way, Holland has to consider this move with an eye to the future, as Scheifele’s contract is up after next season and any new contract for him will likely start with an eight – at minimum.

But considering the balls in the air Holland will have to juggle for the next few seasons. For starters, the bulk of the remaining cap space the Edmonton Oilers have for this season – $5.609 million – will be used on the Ryan Mcleod and Evan Bouchard contracts. From what we’re hearing of the former’s negotiations on the grapevine, things are not going well.

Furthermore, Leon Draisaitl and Connor Mcdavid – our franchise players – have contracts that will be expiring in two seasons (for the Deutschland Dangler) and three seasons (for the original superstar Connor [no disrespect to Connor Bedard intended]). Who knows what the cap will look like when Mcdavid’s contract is up, but per NHL rules no one player can make more than 20% of the season’s cap. Mcdavid can basically ask for anything short of that, so negotiations will not last long between his agent and Holland, because Holland basically has no choice but to offer Mcdavid something close to a maximum contract. Draisaitl’s next deal will probably start with a $10 million minimum, and could even be something close to Mcdavid seeing as how both players are similar in stats and Draisaitl’s agent may ask for something close in dollar value to Mcdavid – and rightly so. That’s not even getting into the likely scenario that the Oilers will have to pay the piper on Connor Brown’s bonuses that are likely due two seasons from now. Evander Kane will also need a new deal at the same time Mcdavid does – assuming the Oilers will even want to re-sign a 33-year-old Kane, who will be close to the age when players – especially physical ones like Kane – start to decline. Cody Ceci and Mattias Ekholm will also need new deals by then as well.

Acquiring Scheifele would severely complicate Holland’s ability to keep the team together.