Before making the Mike Green trade last night, CapFriendly reports that the Edmonton Oilers placed Kris Russell on long-term injured reserve due to a concussion, which will free up a significant amount of cap room that the Oilers now can use to acquire another player before the trade deadline. Russell, who has a $4MM AAV, will now head to LTIR, freeing up $2.97MM in cap room LTIR relief. The Oilers have not confirmed the transaction yet.
Russell has been out since Jan. 29 after sustaining a head injury. While the shot-blocking blueliner has been skating recently, head coach Dave Tippett has also been clear that Russell isn’t ready to return to the ice any time soon. However, that doesn’t mean that Edmonton expects Russell to miss the rest of the season, although that is a possibility. If Russell does return this season, however, it means this cap savings may not be a permanent solution for rest of the season. However, the roster move helps explain the Green transaction as the Oilers added a $2.69MM contract to its books, which they would have struggled to fit into their structure as of yesterday.
The Oilers have expressed interest in several players before the trade deadline with rumors that Edmonton has shown significant interest in Ottawa’s Tyler Ennis, but with $2.97MM in available cap space to work with, the team has now opened more options to them, although general manager Ken Holland has been clear that he doesn’t want to trade the team’s first-round pick in any deadline deal.