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What Is Left For The Oilers This Offseason?

July 25, 2022, 2:17 PM ET [20 Comments]
Sean Maloughney
Edmonton Oilers Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
First off, Calgary Flames fans you are welcome. I called out the franchise and stated they needed to rebuild and after reading my blog, Brad Treliving decided to stick it to me. You're welcome.

Overall it has been a successful offseason for the Edmonton Oilers, bringing back key pieces in Kane and Kulak while also finally upgrading in net by signing Jack Campbell. The key pieces that remain are in signing the RFA's, McLeod, Puljujarvi, and Yamamoto.

Currently it is being reported that Ryan McLeod and the team will likely sign a one or two year deal worth around 1 million a season. For argument sake I will give him a deal worth 1.1 million. Assuming Dylan Holloway is on the roster to start the season, that leaves the team with around 4.2 million to sign both Yamamoto and Puljujarvi. That is not going to be enough.

How much should each player get in arbitration? Puljujarvi finished last season with 36 points in 65 games while Yamamoto ended with 41 in 81. If both cases go through arbitration it's likely that each will receive north of 3.4 million. Even with some cap juggling, the most I could come up with is around 5.2 million. Something is going to have to give.

There is talk that the Oilers and Yamamoto could sign a deal before arbitration, potentially a two or three year deal. Arbitration deals can only be on one or two year terms so if the player wants some security and assurance he is here for longer, there is incentive to sign with the team prior.

In the case of JP and the Oilers I just don't see an agreement being made ahead of time. There continues to be discussions on the future of the player and where he would fit in the roster. It is clear the team is trying to push him more into a secondary role as a third line winger where the player and agent believes he should be a top six staple. I tend to lean more towards what the agent and player believe; Puljujarvi is one of the few players on the Oilers who is defensively sound enough to be a positive force at 5 on 5 regardless of where he is in the lineup. Honestly the organization may believe that as well but they have a cap to consider and are trying to play hardball so they can pay a top six winger like a third line player.

Puljujarvi had 36 points in 65 games this season and 25 points in 55 games the season prior. In terms of arbitration he has a solid case and I expect his deal will end up being a smidge higher than what Kapanen just received at 3.2 million over two years. Kapanen just put up 32 points in 79 games, scoring at a lesser pace than what Puljujarvi did.

What are the options for the Oilers assuming both players make north of 3 million? In order to keep both players, someone else is going to move and the obvious answer would be Warren Foegele. Foegele has a cap hit of 2.75 million and while I do not hate what he brings to the team, he is potentially a fourth liner on this team and for the minutes he could play he could be substituted for a league minimum option. The Janmark signing in particular stands out to me as a player who could be a Foegele replacement.

Alternatively, Tyson Barrie is the other name that stands out as a cap victim. Barrie is an excellent PP quarterback but an expensive option on the third pairing at 4.5 million. Barre could be traded to a team looking for more offense on their blueline in return for a more defensive veteran who would need to come at a lower dollar amount.

The third less favorable option in my mind is trading, likely Puljujarvi after his contract is set. Reports have come out that there are a number of teams that are interested in Puljujarvi but are holding off because they are worried about his arbitration number. Once the cap number is established it would give other organizations a better understanding of how he could fit into their existing cap. Puljujarvi in that case would be traded for picks and Holland would then likely turn his eye towards a free agent like Sonny Milano or Evan Rodrigues at a lower number in order to replace Puljujarvi's perceived value.

Jesse Puljujarvi's arbitration date is set for July 29th while Kailer Yamamoto's is set for August 7th. By these dates or earlier we will have more information. These are crucial decisions that will effect the rosters for not only next season, but the years to come as well as players like Evan Bouchard will soon get paid.

Time will tell.
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