The Edmonton Oilers continue to clear cap space, placing Benoit Pouliot on unconditional waivers today for purposes of a buyout. The forward has two years remaining on his contract at $4MM per season, meaning a buyout cap-hit will be structured as follows.
- 2017-18: $1.33MM
- 2018-19: $1.33MM
- 2019-20: $1.33MM
- 2020-21: $1.33MM
Pouliot’s career in Edmonton will end on a sour note, scoring just 14 points in 2016-17. He fell completely out of favor with the coaching staff, and at 30 seemed to see his game take a considerable step backwards. The fourth-overall pick from 2005, Pouliot has never been able to keep up with his draft contemporaries. Following Sidney Crosby, Bobby Ryan and Jack Johnson, and selected one spot ahead of Carey Price, Pouliot has bounced around the league and registered a career-high of 36 points (last year and in 2013-14).
Interestingly, Pouliot has long put up solid possession metrics and even recorded a better than average career shooting percentage. Despite that, and the prime ice time he received in Edmonton prior to this year, he never could be relied upon as a top offensive producer.
His career is far from over, as he’ll surely garner attention from several teams around the league now that his price tag has come considerably down. Likely having to settle for a short-term deal on a relatively low salary, teams will be interested in his upside as a third-line winger who could move up if he can find the right fit. It will be interesting to see if he can find a team with it’s eyes on the postseason, or if he’ll rebuild along with a young team.
For the Oilers, saving $2.6MM for the next two years is important as they try to get both Leon Draisaitl and Connor McDavid under contract long term. Recently it was hinted that McDavid might cost as much as $13.25MM per season, and with Draisaitl looking like he might cost as much as $8MM each year, they need all the room they can get. It’s why they moved out Jordan Eberle—though, immediately committed most of that room to Kris Russell—and why they’ll have to look at other cost saving measures in the future. Pouliot was simply not needed on this team, especially as younger players like Drake Caggiula step into bigger roles.
Wow 13.25 million is insane. I know he’s great, but can any team really do that while not damaging the rest of the team significantly? That’s like what, over 1/8 of the cap? Plus Drasaitl makes the 2 of them 1/4 of Edmonton’s cap space. I don’t even think Kane and Toews or Crosby and Malkin take up that much.
They don’t, Toews/Kane take up 20 mil, Crosby/Malkin take up ~18 mil while McDavid/Drasaitl will take up 21.25 mil if those are what they sign for.
Worried about Draisaitl signing an offer sheet. He wasn’t happy with Edmonton when they sent him down before 40 games so he has to wait 1 more year for UFA status when he is like 26. The contract battle last summer was ugly. If a team like Arizona or Vegas or Vancouver or Carolina or anyone with a lot of cap space long term comes in and gives him 7years/70m the Oilers would be forced to match and it would ruin any chance of building a contender.
I don’t think you need to worry about the Canucks – If the Canucks did offer $10m per year then, if successful, they would have to give the Oilers their next 4 first round draft picks.
If you follow the Canucks at all these would be very good picks… :-)