Who would take over Edmonton Oilers defenseman Oscar Klefbom’s contract?
All signs clearly point to the Edmonton Oilers attempting to clear Cap Space. It is a necessity at this point.
Edmonton have a number of players to sign and a number of holes to fill. Zack Kassian is likely to buy out or trade, and I think there’s enough market for a puck-moving, right-shot defender in Tyson Barrie. He’s just a luxury the Oilers can’t afford.
But what happens to Oscar Klefbom’s contract?
“My expectation is that next year we’ll be in LTI with Krefbom,” Oilers GM Ken Holland said, adding that as of last year’s deadline, he had to close deals where Montreal paid the salary for Brett Kulak and Philadelphia for Derick picked up Brassard. “That’s the reality I’m looking at at the close of trade next year because I don’t expect Klef to play.”
When asked about trading the contract, Holland stated that you only get cap space at the close because cap space accrues throughout the season.
In theory, the Oilers could undoubtedly postpone the Klefbom contract. His deal is in its final season and could help teams like Arizona, Buffalo, Detroit or Anaheim hit the cap floor.
However, there is a small crease that complicates matters. While his cap hit is $4.167 million, his salary owed is $5.169 million. That’s an expensive price for a team like Arizona, which has announced it would be willing to accept contracts but has less revenue. Might Detroit be ready to step up?
Either way, it won’t be an easy clearing. Despite slightly different circumstances, the Toronto Maple Leafs were forced to defer a first-round pick to get out of the final year of Patrick Marleau’s contract.
Daily Faceoffs Frank Seravalli listed the Oscar Klefbom contract as the 20th asset on his first list of off-season trade targets.
It’s worth noting that the Oilers don’t have any picks in the second, third, or fourth round as of today. Reading the tea leaves, it seems to me like the Oilers might have a hard time getting out of this LTIR jam. And the other question remains: would it be worth it?
As Holland mentioned, it might create some space for the team around the deadline, but that’s about it. The Oilers don’t have any mid-round assets likely to be moved into these kinds of deals, so maybe a team would consider a prospect like Dmitri Samorukov as a sweetie? What about Tyson Barrie? Who knows.
I have no hopes that the Oilers can move Klefboms LTIR.
Zach Laing is the news director and senior columnist for The Nation Network. You can follow him on Twitter at @zjlaingor reachable by email at [email protected]