Still waiting to see if James Neal will be redeemed – .

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Still waiting to see if James Neal will be redeemed – .


With free agencies opening on Wednesday, they likely will if they can’t trade the winger for a team with plenty of cap room.

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James Neal’s numbers on the ice here are good: 84 games, 41 points, 24 goals.

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But off the ice, his cap of $ 5.75 million for the next two seasons, especially for a fourth line / power play, looks like a point of no return.

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has yet to redeem him with the free agencies opening on Wednesday, but he likely will if he can’t trade the winger to a team with a lot of margin. and adding a sweetener.

He’s got to have Arizona’s Bill Armstrong on speed dial.

If Neal leaves, that will come two years and a week after he joined Milan Lucic’s business on July 19, 2019. If they are bought out two-thirds of Neal’s number, the Oilers will save around $ 3.8 million this year. and next year to give Holland some extra money to spend on a free agent on Wednesday. Maybe he can use it on a third line cross.

Additionally, Holland needs to re-sign second-row right-winger Kailer Yamamoto in an instant (maybe in the $ 2million a year range on a bridge deal) and give his best a big boost. defender, Darnell Nurse. a planned eight-year contract, starting in 2021-2022, with winger Jesse Puljujarvi.

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The downside to a buyout: The Oilers will have $ 1.92 million in dead money on their cap for Neal over the next four seasons. They also have $ 1.5 million for Andrej Sekera, following his buyout in 2019 for this 21-22 season.

“James gave us a really good boost for the first 40 games of his rookie season,” said Holland. “Then he injured himself (broken foot) and dried up. This season he got COVID (before camp). At his $ 5.75 million, with his age (34 in September) and where is he (fourth line) … “

Too much. If he won $ 1.5 million in fines, but not $ 5.75 million.

The situation of redemptions / exchanges / reports of the guardians of Mikko Koskinen remains very fluid. Holland investigated a trade, likely eating up some of his $ 4.5 million. There does not appear to be any takers currently. While it appears that a Koskinen trade is thin, so too was the Lucic trade.

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SEE WHO’S AVAILABLE

It is always interesting to see which players are not receiving qualifying offers and are now unrestricted free agents. Josh Archibald was once in this boat, rejected by Arizona. The UFA roster now includes Blackhawks forward Pius Suter, who had 14 goals and 27 points last season as an NHL rookie but couldn’t agree on a new deal. Newly added Duncan Keith is said to have the scout report, up close, on the Swiss player.

Also Anaheim, unsurprisingly, did not qualify winger Danton Heinen for his $ 2.8 million. What about him $ 1 million for the last six here? Good shot, decent skill, not some crusher type.

Boston did not offer winger Nick Ritchie.

WHO CALLS

After Edmonton-born Luke Prokop proudly stepped out of his status as a gay hockey player, he received universal support, even from people he never knew would contact him. Like Elton John.

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“I was driving, I picked up my phone, I saw it was a New York number and it was Elton John’s publicist. She was looking for Luke’s number. After talking for a while, I knew it was legitimate. Pretty cool, ”said local Prokop agent Gerry Johannson.

This ‘n’ that: Best place for Tyson Barrie if he’s not re-signed here: Seattle. They don’t have a power-play QB after their draft… Adam Larsson’s four-year contract in Seattle isn’t as clear as his former six-year contract here, where he was making $ 4.16 million each. year. He’s making $ 2.5 million in salary this season, then $ 3.5 million, $ 5.5 million, and $ 4.5 million for a total of $ 16 million. If Mark Giordano stays with the Kraken and isn’t traded they are expected to be partners … Before the Oilers cede 20th pick to Minnesota for No.22 and 90th pick, Holland said. to Wild Bill Guerin’s general manager he had to see who Nashville took at 19 first. When they beat Russian forward Fedor Svechkov, the Netherlands called Guerin to give the green light to trade at number 20. So maybe the Oilers were looking at Svechkov at 20? … Speaking to scouts, everyone is very complimentary of Xavier Bourgault, the Oilers’ choice at No. 22. They praise his vision and his deception by making plays. They feel he has a good chance of making the Canadian Under-20 team for the world championships here… One name to watch out for in free agency: Mikael Granlund of Nashville is playing on the wing or could be a 3C… Jesper Wallstedt, Swedish junior goaltender The Oilers are deceased, could come to play for juniors in Portland and not stay with Lulea in the Swedish Hockey League. Always a chance if signed, the teenager also plays for the Minnesota farm team in the AHL … Oilers are hopeful winger Matvei Petrov, their sixth-round pick, decides to play in the league Hockey League in North Bay after being the first 2020 Import Draft… Former Carolina Oilers farm goaltender Dylan Wells has been on the Edmonton taxi team for many years. months and actually dressed for a game in Montreal when Koskinen had irregularities in COVID testing. The Oilers have done Wells a favor by awarding him there because they probably weren’t going to qualify… We’ll see if Caleb Jones and his brother Seth are a blue line partnership for the Blackhawks at any point this season… The Oilers will likely see defenseman Kris Russell played about 50 games this year as a sixth or seventh guy. If Holland signs another third D pair on the left to play with Evan Bouchard, it will likely be in the $ 1 million range. UFA Slater Koekkoek? No better than 50-50, he’s back.

E-mail : [email protected]

On Twitter: @jimmathesonnhl

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