Latest on the Oilers and Capitals – May 12, 2017
A look at possible offseason moves for the Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals in your NHL rumor mill.
SPORTSNET: Luke Fox suggests Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli should lock up captain Connor McDavid to an eight-year deal this summer. He’s a restricted free agent next summer and the Oilers can open contract talks this July. Fox believes a $12.5 million annual cap hit for McDavid isn’t out of the question.
Fox also imagines it could cost $7 million annually to re-sign RFA forward Leon Draisaitl. Given the $6 million annual cap hits of forwards Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, it could take creativity to ship one or both to teams in need of scoring depth, such as Carolina, Vegas and New Jersey, that must reach the salary-cap floor for next season.
Fox also thinks the Oilers should try to re-sign shot-blocking defenseman Kris Russell but that’ll depend upon what he seeks in his next contract. Fellow UFAs David Desharnais and Matt Hendricks probably won’t be back. He wonders if the Oilers will get aggressive and try to peddle winger Benoit Pouliot in a package deal to the Vegas Golden Knights and if they can trust Laurent Brossoit as Cam Talbot’s backup next season.
ESPN.COM: Craig Custance also believes the Oilers should get McDavid’s contract extension done this summer, re-sign pending Russell and try to find a way to convince the Golden Knights to take Pouliot and his $4 million annual cap hit off their hands. The Oilers have extra picks in the third and fifth round of this year’s draft but Custance isn’t sure packaging them with Pouliot would be enough to tempt the Golden Knights.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples cites Sportsnet’s Drew Remenda offering his opinion that the Oilers could try to move “one, two or maybe three” of Jordan Eberle, Benoit Pouliot and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins this summer.” He also cites TSN’s Darren Dreger saying the Oilers must free up salary-cap space to re-sign McDavid and Draisaitl. Dreger wouldn’t be surprised if Eberle’s played his final game with the Oilers but believes they still value Nugent-Hopkins.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman suggested St. Louis, the New York Islanders, Vancouver and Los Angeles as possible trade destinations for Eberle. Staples has no issues with the Oilers trying to shed Eberle or Pouliot but believes trading Nugent-Hopkins could be a mistake, considering it unfair that he’s lumped in with the other two as an underachiever.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could cost potentially up to $20 million combined to re-sign McDavid and Draisaitl. Rest assure, they’re going to get paid big bucks. The problem, of course, is freeing up the cap space for those two and still have enough left for other potential signings over the next couple of years and to make other additions as required.
Moving Eberle and/or Pouliot are the obvious choices but it won’t be easy. The combination of their hefty cap hits and declining production makes them a tough sell, meaning Chiarelli must toss in some sweeteners to move their full salaries from the Oilers books. It’s not impossible, but it will be costly.
THE WASHINGTON POST/SPORTSNET: Scott Allen reports ESPN.com’s Barry Melrose and NBC Sports Network’s Mike Milbury suggest it’s time for the Washington Capitals to consider the possibility of trading team captain Alex Ovechkin. CSN Network’s Joe Beninati, however, doubts the Caps will completely overhaul their roster, including Ovechkin and center Nicklas Backstrom. Luke Fox, meanwhile, examines the pros and cons of trading the Capitals captain. He concludes that Ovechkin will likely finish the remaining four years of his contract with the Capitals.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Isabelle Khurshudyan believes change is coming to the Capitals this summer. With their salary-cap constraints, she speculates they could be unable to re-sign pending UFAs Kevin Shattenkirk, T.J. Oshie, Justin Williams, Daniel Winnik and Karl Alzner.
She anticipates restricted free agent Evgeny Kuznetsov could receive a long-term extension while Andre Burakovsky will get a shorter bridge deal for less money. Dmitry Orlov and Nate Schmidt also need raises while Brett Connolly’s future is uncertain after he was a healthy scratch in the playoffs. Schmidt or goalie Philipp Grubauer could be selected by Vegas in the expansion draft.
Khurshudyan also wonders if the Capitals will attempt to reacquire some draft picks to restock for the future, though that could cost them valuable roster players or prospects. She also expects some younger players, such as Jakub Vrana, Riley Barber, Travis Boyd.Madison Bowey and Christian Djoos could be ready to make the jump into the roster full time next season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ovechkin and Backstrom aren’t going anywhere. Most of their UFAs are likely goners, though I can see them trying to retain Oshie. They’ll lock up their key RFAs and likely try to shop Connolly this summer. As Khurshudyan suggests, one or more of those younger players could be ready to join the lineup next season.