Friday, March 6, 2009

Budgeting for 2010-11 After the Trade Deadline

The trade deadline was a good one for the Edmonton Oilers. The gist is, Erik Cole and 5th round pick are going out while Patrick O'Sullivan and Ales Kotalik are coming in. The trade has been looked at in numerous places around the Oilogosphere, and I'll add my voice to the chorus that thinks that this is great value for what is essentially a quarter of a season of Erik Cole. Kotalik is a free agent after this season and may or may not be in the long term plans of the organization. O'Sullivan however has a contract that runs through 2010-11. Prior to the deadline I was hoping to avoid getting any more salary on this team for that time period, but O'Sullivan's contract is small enough that it should be manageable. This is where the Oilers sit in 2010-11 right now (grouped into five categories, 1st line F; 2nd line F; Bot 8F/3D; Top 4D; G):

Horcoff (5.5M), Hemsky (4.1M) and Penner (4.25M) = 13.85M

Nilsson (1.85M), O'Sullivan (2.95) = 4.8M

Moreau (2M), Stortini (0.7M), Staios (2.7M) = 5.4M

Visnovsky (5.6M), Souray (5.4M), Gilbert (4M) = 15M

No Commitments = 0M

I’ve addressed their situation heading into 2010 already but with the addition of O'Sullivan a few things need some tweaking. First, I'd start with the assumption that the cap will be moving toward 50M for 2010-11 and will start with the following budget:

1st line - 30% = 15M
2nd line - 15% = 7.5M
bot 6F and bot 3D - 20% = 10M
top 4D - 30% = 15M
2G - 5% = 2.5M

The first line has been struggling for a few games lately, but with Penner on the left flank they've been outchancing most of this year. It's somewhat frustrating that line isn't staying together since they're effective and they're all locked up long-term, combining to make an effective line. Any trade involving Penner will almost surely be a mistake since the perception seems to be that he's less than his results and as such a salary dump is likely to be coming back. Total savings: 1.15M

For the second line, it's quite possible that Nilsson is on his way out. Personally, I'd be inclined to move him if Cogliano is willing to sign for that figure or less. If he isn't, then I think Cogs is the one on the way out, though they should keep him until he goes RFA. If the cap doesn't decline so greatly they can then use the extra cash to keep him and perhaps use him on the third line. I'm a huge Gagner fan and would try to sign him to a long-term deal this summer at no more than 3M over a period of 4 to 6 years. I'd prefer 6 but can understand how some might find that too big a commitment. His counting numbers this season are hiding some real progress in his game and it would be good if the Oilers could take advantage. Further, the kid probably won't feel too hard done by either with a guaranteed 18M in his pocket. Total extra cost: 0.3M

The depth on this team is where there's some trouble. It's absolutely essential to ditch Moreau and Staios. The contracts simply don't fit the roles that they play on this team. They need to be moved. A lot of these slots will need to be filled with depth from the farm or veteran journeymen. I'd try to distribute the cash for the forwards as follows: 1.3 (Pisani?), 1 (Brodziak?), 1 (?), 0.7 (Stortini), 0.7 (Reddox?), 0.7 (?), 0.6 (?), 0.6 (?). This summer is an important one for re-signing Ladislav Smid to an affordable deal. Something around 1.4M over three or four would be my goal and I really wouldn't want to budge much higher. The guy's not going to have much of a case going into arbitration so they should be able to put the screws to him by using that as a hammer and offering the longer term deal if he wants it. The three D-men would be assigned as follows: 1.4 (Smid?), 0.7 (?), 0.6 (?). Total savings: 0.7M

I'll go out of order here because the top 4D is the most up in the air. Basically, I don't believe in paying goalies. Pick three or four all signed at a million and let them fight it out in training camp. In the end, two get waived and two get to play. Keep them all on one or two year deals and rotate them through. Total savings: 0.5M

With three top 4D signed we already have 15M tied up. That's the entire budget. That's a problem. 2.05M has been saved so far to punch in a replacement. It's really too bad that Grebs is RFA this season because it would be nice to wait and see where the cap goes before making any kind of deal with him for the long haul this summer. Earlier on, I had thought that the Oilers should try to keep all four but now I'm leaning toward moving one of the big four defenders (unless Grebs feels like signing either a one-year deal or a deal with some term at 2M per). Under no circumstances Vishnovsky. Probably not Gilbert. As for the last two, I think it really depends on the return. I'd assume Grebs gets you more but hope Souray can be moved somewhere in his stead, though the NTC complicates that. Ideal trades might include either one to Phoenix for Kurt Sauer or to Boston for Mark Stuart. Sauer, because his cost is under control going forward and Stuart because he's RFA in 2010-11 and the team can re-evaluate their situation when they know the actual number. Otherwise, one is gone for picks and a stop-gap moves in for a year as the fourth D.

I'll probably do another update just before the trade deadline when there will hopefully be more information on whether or not the cap is headed for 2009-10. At that point, we can analyse how to fit things together for next season while still looking ahead to 2010-11.

No comments: