So today I thought about how this team can free up some needed cash. Let’s face it, we have some needs on this team that this could help with (hello face-off/PKer, and perhaps a defensive D-man).
First off, let’s start with Robert Nilsson. I’ll skip the big reason why, as it’s been mentioned enough, but he brings the least to the table of our one-dimensional, skilled forwards (arguably, Gagner and Hemsky).
The other idea I have came from nosing around to see which teams are still below the floor for the cap. One – the Nashville Predators. Looking at their roster, I saw one other interesting thing – their defence is younger than ours. The average age is a mere 24-years old. The oldest d-man on the team (not including UFA Greg De Vries) is Dan Hamhuis at 26. Sounds like they could use a bit of cap hit and a d-man with some experience. Getting the hint yet? Steve Staios, perhaps? Granted, the Predators may just go the safe route and re-sign the player they know, De Vries. But he hasn’t shown to play the big minutes that Staios has. That would be 2.7M freed up if they are willing to take his contract on.
So, Nilsson’s 2M + Staios’ 2.7M leaves us 4.7M to sign Betts or Malhotra (finally), for starters. The rest left over gives some other options for us – trade for a sniper, or shutdown d-man, or save the cash for next year (since Grebeshkov, Gagner and Cogliano will need to be re-signed).
Just to close this off though, I will say that Staios is one of my favorite Oilers players (although granted every player is a favorite to a degree). He’s an Oiler in every sense, so seeing him go would be like seeing Smyth go, but on a lesser scale. I also think his grit would need to be replaced, and before we suggest Strudwick or Peckham (both of whom could easily replace that), we’re also losing one of only 2 of our right-handed d-men. So it would be nice to replace him with another right-hander somehow. But that’s a whole other matter.