As they looked to free up salary cap room at the trade deadline, the Oilers and Canucks held some discussions regarding defenseman Brandon Manning, reports Postmedia’s Jim Matheson. However, he suggests that Vancouver wanted winger Jujhar Khaira to be included in the trade as a sweetener, something that Edmonton clearly wasn’t willing to do.
After signing a two-year, $4.5MM deal with Chicago in July, it looked like Manning was going to have some stability after being in and out of the lineup during his time in Philadelphia. However, he quickly became a scratch with the Blackhawks and was dealt to Edmonton in late December as part of a trade involving winger Drake Caggiula.
Unfortunately for Manning and the Oilers, he lost his lineup spot rather quickly, wound up clearing waivers, and was subsequently assigned to the AHL. He has only played seven games with Bakersfield and is a frequent scratch down there as well.
It will be interesting to see what Edmonton does with the 28-year-old as clearly, he’s not in their plans moving forward. A buyout would carry a cap hit of just over $916K for 2019-20 and a little more than $666K the following season. For a team with limited cap space, having any dead money on the books is a tough sell, especially when he could be sent back to the minors and only count on the cap for $200K more than the buyout cost next year without any commitments beyond that. A trade with up to 50% retention is also an option.
With that in mind, expect that whoever winds up with the full-time GM job with the Oilers to continue to actively shop Manning’s contract as a buyout is probably the least-ideal solution. But with a roster player appearing to be the required attachment to get a team to take on the final year and $2.25MM of his deal, that’s going to be a steep cost to pay to do so considering they gave up a roster player in Caggiula to get him in the first place. Talk about a rapid fall from grace for Manning in the span of less than a year.