With the Oilers looking to add to their roster over the summer with limited cap space, they had to get creative. Since Connor Brown missed most of last season with a torn ACL sustained in the fourth game of the year, he was eligible for a bonus-laden one-year contract. Accordingly, Edmonton inked him to a one-year deal worth only $775K as the base salary but also gave him a $3.225MM bonus that becomes payable when he reaches his tenth game of the season.
The 29-year-old got off to a slow start and was held off the scoresheet in Edmonton’s first nine games of the season despite averaging close to 15 minutes a night while spending a lot of time in the top six. However, Brown suffered a lower-body injury a little over two weeks ago, delaying him reaching that bonus.
That will change on Saturday as Brown confirmed today (video link) that he will be good to go against Tampa Bay, meaning he will play in his tenth game and reach that bonus.
Whatever amount, if any, Edmonton finishes under the $83.5MM salary cap will be applied to cover some of Brown’s bonus. The remainder will then roll over to their 2024-25 cap charges, meaning that the majority of the projected increase in the cap will be spent on paying for Brown’s deal this season.
Brown remained on the active roster for the Oilers during his injury so no corresponding roster move needs to be made. While Edmonton now has 13 healthy forwards on its roster, there isn’t any benefit to sending one down after the team went into LTIR following the injuries to Dylan Holloway and Mattias Janmark; they won’t be able to bank any extra cap space if they sent their spare forward back to AHL Bakersfield. In the meantime, they’ll hope that Brown can become the key two-way forward he was back with Ottawa where he had his best three seasons from 2019-20 through 2021-22.