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"This page is all about the Edmonton Oilers"
Boyle, AB • Canada • 40 Years Old • Male
Are the Oilers truly capped out? It's an interesting question to ask. There still are free agents available, such as Nikolai Zherdev and Petr Sykora, that could improve the Oilers team. Could they take a run at adding another UFA before the season begins?

Before getting into this, it should be noted that the Oilers presently have 48 players under contract, two below the NHL limit of 50. The Oil also have too many NHL-skilled players competing for jobs with the team as it is. The Oilers might have the greatest collection of third and fourth line players ever assembled. And that's the problem - They have lots of decent players, but very few stars on the forward lines. Players like Gagner, O'Sullivan, Cogliano and Penner all have potential, but have yet to completely achieve star status. Hemsky is a legitimate NHL star, and Horcoff could be considered one in respect to his two-way play. That's it.

The cap number includes all the players who "make the team," meaning, the contracts that count against the cap include the 22 or so players the Oilers keep on their roster. A player like Robbie Schremp, who may or may not make the team this year, will not see his NHL salary count against the Oilers cap number if he is sent down to Springfield.

Keeping this in mind, and factoring 21 salaries (because the discussion here is what would happen if the Oilers went and found another player), the Oilers cap number would look like this October 1 (in millions):

Forwards (12): Horcoff $5.5, Hemsky $4.1, Cogliano $1.133, Gagner $1.625, Penner $4.25, O'Sullivan $2.925, Moreau $2, Pisani $2.5, Brule $800K, Stortini $700K, Nilsson $2, Comrie $1.125 = Total $28.658 million

Defenseman (7): Souray $5.4, Visnovsky $5.6, Gilbert $4, Grebeshkov $3.15, Smid $1.3, Staios $2.7, Strudwick $700K = Total $22.85 million

Goaltenders (2): Khabibulin $3.75, DesLauriers $625K = Total $4.375 million

Allowable Cap Number ($57.971) minus Total Spending $55.883 = $2.088 million space

What does this all mean? It means Zherdev and Sykora are too expensive for the Oilers to add without making a move first. I expected Zherdev to sign with the KHL almost immediately after being cut from the Rangers, but it did not occur. What could he be signed for by an NHL team? I suspect he'd go in the $3mil per season range. A decent deal if you are a team like Edmonton, but slightly beyond what cap space would allow. Sykora, who can play center and is known to be a serious and responsible player, is likely to go in the $2.5mil range. Still beyond Edmonton's reach.

Keep in mind a couple of things when looking at the Oiler's situation: For one thing, if they try to deal away salary, they still will need to replace the player moved with someone else. The 22 player roster is pretty much an NHL standard way to function. So you can't just completely shed salaries. Another thing to keep in mind is that teams need to keep a million or two space from the top of the cap, to ensure they can deal with issues as they arise during the season. The Oilers, at best, only have $1 million free to play with right now.

The bottom line is, the Oilers definitely have some holes to fill - They need a second face-off center to assist Horcoff; they need one more legitimate Top 6 forward for scoring, and they still are, overall, undersized as a team. While adding Zherdev or Sykora is not impossible to suggest, the Oilers would need to ship away at least one reasonably sized contract to make room. There could be some deals before the season begins, but the Oilers, like many other teams in the league, are restricted by the laws of cap management.
Filed Under:   Oilers  
September 13, 2009 7:34 PM ET | Delete
September 13, 2009 8:41 PM ET | Delete
Horcoff is not a star, he's just getting paid like one...
September 13, 2009 9:40 PM ET | Delete
I had a great couple of comments to make and F my life when I post them they don't show!!!!!!!!!!!
September 13, 2009 9:41 PM ET | Delete
Love the blogs Max keep em coming
September 13, 2009 9:47 PM ET | Delete
You'd be surprised how well thought of Shawn Horcoff is in the NHL, Dash. While he is miss-cast as a first line offensive player, there are few better two-way players in the league.
September 13, 2009 9:48 PM ET | Delete
BTW Napoleon, I had a cat named Napoleon. Is it possible my former kitty has learned how to type?
September 14, 2009 2:04 AM ET | Delete
Those numbers are also assuming that Shremp and Eberle don't impress the coaching staff to the nth degree. I believe that Eberle signed a similar contract to that of Cogliano or Gagner. If he sticks with the big club he'd have to clear waivers to go to the AHL.
September 14, 2009 2:16 AM ET | Delete
wow i was surprised about the Oilers being so close to the cap despite not having many star players looking over those salaries only two roster players making less than 1M i guess that is why.
September 14, 2009 11:02 AM ET | Delete
Considering what Tanguay and even Burt/Comrie signed for, guys like Sykora will likely be going dirt cheap. Also, you keep talking about Zherdev, but ever report out there says he's signed in the KHL?
September 14, 2009 12:08 PM ET | Delete
Sykora to minny camp. I wonder who we would be better off with Sykora or Comrie?
September 14, 2009 12:35 PM ET | Delete
Again folks, Eberle must either play at the NHL level or Junior. Players must be 20 years old to play in the AHL, but can play in the NHL at 18. Horcoff is very similar to Rod Brind'Amour - close to a PPG player and very sound defensively. Yes, he's not a 'true #1 offensive centre', but most teams don't have that true 1 centre...
September 14, 2009 12:58 PM ET | Delete
Eberle is just going to be given the experience to play with some NHLer's and pick up a few pointers. The coaching staff will evaluate him and let him know what he has to work on.
September 14, 2009 1:42 PM ET | Delete
Eberle is going back to the WHL, there is no spots for him to play on. I would love to see him get the 9 games to try his stuff out but i dont even see that happening!! Unless the Oil have a deal up their sleave we will start the season with this team to see what we got, dont expect any deals till game 20. Coaching staff will asses the team and go from there.
September 14, 2009 1:45 PM ET | Delete
I think its time to part ways with Staios. He's 2.7 million cap hit is too high for what he brings to this team. Peckham is a cheaper version of Staios. Leadership can come from other sources, i.e Souray, Horcoff, Moreau, Pisani. I could definitely see the oilers signing Zherdev if that happens.
September 14, 2009 2:08 PM ET | Delete
No one will take Staios. And at this point in time I don't think Peckham is a good enough replacement for him.
September 14, 2009 2:15 PM ET | Delete
I don't see how he is not good enough. He is just as physical and defensively he is great, he block shots. And he is still young and learning. And he doesn't give the puck away as much as Staios which I think is by far is glaring weakness. The man just cannot handle the puck.
September 14, 2009 3:02 PM ET | Delete
Peckham was caught out of position on numerous occasions. He needs another season in the AHL to learn how to position himself better.
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