Frank Seravalli spoke A recent daily faceoff was live when the Edmonton Oilers needed to move salary Kyler Yamamoto returns from LTIR. With Evander Kane on the roster, GM Ken Holland has pushed the salary cap issue down the road for now, but needs to move salary to be cap compliant when Yamamoto returns. That led the GM to call around to see if he could interest a team in one of the three forwards.
Seravalli says Derek Ryan, Warren Fogel and Jesse Puljujarvi are all being shopped. Although it is possible (probably) that one of these players has been removed, is there an alternative solution? Let’s take a look at the deal that makes the most sense, not just from the Oilers’ perspective, but from a team that could look at each of these three players. Then, let’s see if there are better alternatives.
The Jesse Puljujarvi Conundrum
When it comes to Puljujarvi, the Oilers don’t seem to know what to do, and other teams aren’t sure either. When a fan pointed out that a team could go ahead and steal a pre-deadline trade because the Oilers are facing cap issues, Sportsnet’s Mark Spector True noted, “With 31 “teams” you’d consider the most analytics-leaning in the NHL, these players could have been around for the past two-plus seasons. For a steadily decreasing price. Nobody stepped up to the plate.” Are there any buyers now?
Seravalli thinks so. In his report, he noted that teams are showing interest and possibly more than the two players the Oilers are making available. Basically, the Oilers have been trying to move Puljujarvi for a while but he’s still here because of Holland’s lowball offers. Is it time to take the best deal possible? Or, should Holland stick to his guns?
If the Oilers can’t move Puljujarvi, one has to wonder if they’ll consider waiving him. It’s a huge risk but with his $3 million salary and rumors that could pan out there’s an NHL team unwilling to take his cap hit without throwing the Oilers a sweet spot. Plenty of fans out there will suggest there’s no way the Oilers can waive the player, but if Edmonton is interested in moving his money, it could be a gamble for Holland. He has been a healthy scratch and his ice time will only decrease as the rest of the roster heals.
Moving Puljujarvi could mean giving up an asset. If the Oilers can’t move him, it could mean losing him for nothing. Maybe it’s better to just use him?
Warren Fogel can be very expensive
problem with Warren Fogel is doubled. First, he has one more season left on his current contract at $2.75 million per season. Second, he’s a good player, but his production comes in spurts. He’s been solid the past few games, but that’s not always consistent production, and the question will be if a team is open to taking on his contract without asking for anything in return.
Latest news and highlights
As the Oilers know well, salary cap space is hard to come by. There are only a handful of teams who have the space to play with and even fewer who will happily grab an inconsistent, yet useful winger when priority centers seem to be up for grabs. There are plenty of other wingers available.
Moving Derek Ryan may not help the Oilers’ woes
If the Oilers waive Derek Ryan, there are two risks. First, he claimed. Second, moving him doesn’t do what ultimately needs to happen for the team — which is the Oilers moving enough money to solve their cap problem and potentially have the flexibility to make a deadline move if they feel the need.
Of the three players, Ryan is probably the one the Oilers want to move the least. Not only is he a center, but he kills penalties, has produced for the offense in limited minutes and understands his role — which may not include playing every night. On the other hand, when the Oilers need a jump in minutes, Ryan is usually good to do so. That’s a factor, especially considering the depth of the playoffs. He can play wing and middle. That is also important.
The small dent he makes compared to his asking price could lead to the Oilers not eating peanuts.
Are there other solutions?
The player that fewer people are talking about is Yamamoto himself. This is a player who is passionate about the Oilers and likes as much as his teammates. At the same time, he’s small, his style of play lends itself to multiple injuries, and his $3.1 million cap hit off the books solves Edmonton’s many problems this season and next.
There’s a question of what the demand for his services will be around the league, but this is a situation where Yamamoto isn’t on the team long-term anyway – simply because big-name players like Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, and maybe even Evan Bouchard will need that money. Not currently available to the Oilers — Holland is better off moving him now. Regardless of Yamamoto being the odd man out, he’s probably the most logical choice.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumours, as well as writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source at The Hockey Writers for five-plus years, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talks. For those who want to be “in the know”, the gym is a daily must.