It has been a busy offseason for the Oilers. Jack Campbell is their new starting goalie while they parted ways with Duncan Keith (retirement) and Zack Kassian (trade). They were able to re-sign Evander Kane, got new deals done with RFAs Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto, and had enough left over to add Mattias Janmark.
All in all, not a bad summer for GM Ken Holland. However, he told TSN 1260 (audio link) that he might not be done with his offseason work just yet:
There are some players out there that I’m still kind of looking at for the bottom part of the roster. Maybe would like to add someone on a one-year deal that is sort of undervalued because they didn’t get swept up over the first couple weeks of free agency.
Looking for late-summer bargains is becoming more of a common practice around the league especially as players continue to feel the squeeze of a leveled-out salary cap. There should be some quality players that have to settle for PTOs or low-cost one-year deals next month and Edmonton should be an appealing place for several of them.
However, how Holland plans to fit in another addition remains to be seen. Per CapFriendly, Edmonton is roughly $6MM over the Upper Limit right now while their two LTIR-bound players – Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom – combine for $6.367MM. That only leaves a few hundred thousand to work with when the league minimum is $750K. For that matter, RFA Ryan McLeod is also in need of a new contract and after a 21-point season, he’ll almost certainly cost more than the minimum.
Accordingly, if Holland wants to make another addition – he specified his preference would be someone in their mid-to-late-20s – a trade will need to be made first. He has seen firsthand how difficult it is to move money this offseason after parting with a pair of draft picks (and sliding down in the first round) to move Kassian and with numerous teams in spots where they either have to clear money or want to clear money, he’s going to be hard-pressed to get fair value in any sort of cost-clearing swap.
Tyson Barrie had been speculated as a possible trade possibility earlier this offseason although the departure of Keith (even though they play different sides) could push Holland towards keeping the veteran around. Puljujarvi has been in trade speculation for months as well while Warren Foegele is another player who makes more than most bottom-six players do which could put him at risk of being moved.
If Holland has his way, there will be another newcomer on Edmonton’s roster in the fall. But to get there, someone else is going to need to be on the way out first.