The Edmonton Oilers are up against it, both figuratively and literally.
The Oilers, who are riding a four-game win streak up the Pacific Division standings, are over $9 million into long-term injury relief, according to Cap Friendly, to help aid a cap situation made a bit trickier with the early return of Evander Kane on Monday night.
Edmonton has stop-gapped a solution by shuttering forward Kailer Yamamoto and defenceman Ryan Murray to the LTIR, joining the likes of Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom in the relief department.
It looks like they’ve tried to take it one step further, according to NHL insider Frank Seravalli.
The Oilers are shopping a trio of players around the league with Yamamoto eligible to come off the injured list on February 12.
“That is the target date to circle, because if the Edmonton Oilers remain healthy otherwise to that point, they’re going to have to make a corresponding salary cap move then to be cap compliant to ice the same roster. This does kick the can down the road,” Seravalli said on Daily Faceoff’s Icebreakers episode Monday.
“The Oilers were preparing for this type of circumstance before Yamamoto was injured on January 11. Ken Holland, their GM, put some feelers out to the rest of the NHL. Not really a secret that the Oilers would’ve had to waive one of Derek Ryan, Jesse Puljujarvi, or Warren Foegele to make the cap situation work. They did make those players available to other teams.”
Foegele has the balance of this season and next on a contract that pays him $2.75 million annually. He’s managed five goals and four assists in 33 games. Ryan has 10 points (six goals, four assists) in 44 games, and is set to see his two-year, $1.25 million contract expire at season’s end.
Puljujarvi, the No. 4 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, has four goals in 45 games this season and has long been the subject of speculation and trade rumours that extend well beyond Edmonton’s current cap crunch.
The 24-year-old is a pending restricted free agent making $3 million this season.
He was a healthy scratch when Kane returned to the lineup against the Seattle Kraken.
“I’m told the Oilers engaged in conversation with a couple teams about someone like Jesse Puljujarvi and I think the conversations were actually pretty promising on that front,” Seravalli said. “Puljujarvi did generate some interest from a handful of teams in the NHL, which is good news for the Oilers as it gets closer to the trade deadline because a lot of people were wondering if the Oilers might have to actually trade an asset in order to move on from Puljujarvi and his $3 million cap hit.
“Right now it remains to be seen what kind of cap issues the Oilers have over the next month when Yamamoto does end up [getting] healthy. Keep in mind, Puljujarvi is potentially an exit ramp for the Oilers to get out of those issues for their cap.”