Tuesday, January 08, 2013
Except ... except.
I don't think its going to happen. Let me qualify that. I don't think its a slam dunk.
The buyout can happen either this summer or next so first things first. I am almost one hundred percent sure it doesn't happen this summer. Again, it may. Sure it may. But I don't think so and here's why.
The Oilers' window isn't open yet. While some of us are cautiously optimistic that the club has a playoff shot this season the reality is that next year is probably the first year where a playoff spot should be expected. By Lowe's own pronounced timetable he figured they would be contenders (as in Cup contenders) in 2015, iirc.
What does that mean? Well, the club has talked about adding to the young cluster for a while now and I would guess that a top four defenceman is coming this summer. But other than that I don't see them loading up quite yet. And while the reasoning behind a Horcoff buyout is 'to pay the young kids' this summer they don't need the money. Capgeek says they will have 14 players signed with 16 million in cap space as the following players come off of the cap - Whitney, Khabibulin, Sutton, Jones, Hordichuk, Petrell and the Souray buyout.
The key here is that Hall and Eberle are signed so the only two guys looking for a raise will be Smid and Gagner. Smid makes 2.25, Gagner 3.2. I think its reasonable to say that the total of their raises would be ~ 3 million, yes? Unless Gagner absolutely goes mental this season.
So you have 13 million to sign seven guys and who are you signing? A backup goalie. Klefbom is coming in to replace one of the Dman and he is cheap. Except for Whitney the rest of these guys are fringe players, you could probably sign the lot of them for ~ 6 million which means you have seven million for the Dman (lets say he costs four to five).
So they have plenty of room to pick up deadline reinforcements if they want to because here's the thing.
Katz isn't going to want to spend money if he doesn't have to. And the reality is the Oilers remain thin up the middle. RNH, Gagner, Horcoff, Belanger. And then Vande Velde and Lander. If you're trying to make the playoffs next year are you going to spend a couple of million to dump one of your top three centres (and still your top defensive guy at that)? What will you do, go with Belanger in the three hole? Lander? And if you want to go out and get a Horcoff replacement well Belanger commanded 1.75. Do you think Katz is going to okay giving Horcoff his money and then giving another guy 2.5 to 3 to do his job?
I don't think so.
I think Horcoff is an Oiler for next season.
Now the issue is the following year. The following players are coming off that year - Schultz the older, Eager, Belanger, Smyth and Potter. That's only nine million in savings plus we have the extra two million (I am assuming) from the previous year. The good news is that again, these are mostly guys on the fringe, or will be by this time. Hopefully they are anyhow. So replacing them will be cheap.
Here's the problem: RNH. Schultz Jr. Dubnyk. Petry.
If Hall and Eberle have set the marker for salaries on this club (the Lidstrom idea) then Nugent Hopkins and Schultz are looking at raises of just over two million apiece. Dubnyk will, if he plays well and I believe he will, get a raise. But not much. Unless he wins a Cup. In which case who gives a shit, blowjobs for everyone. Or cunnilingus. Whatever, you get oral.
Its Petry who is the guy who will get paid. But even then, what? 4 million per?
So what? Seven million in raises? Plus three million in replacements?
Its cutting it close.
And you have three wildcards.
1/ Ales Hemsky. If Hemsky comes off the books in two years that's another five million in play. If he stays (and Taylor Hall wants him to stay so if he's healthy he's staying) then Horcoff is likely a goner but if he goes then that's another chunk of change plus ...
2/ The cap may go up. Sure it may not either but if its rises, even by five percent, then you're looking at another three million to play with and ...
3/ Don't underestimate the loyalty factor. Horcoff has Katz in his corner one would think, based on what is apparently a close relationship. And ... Craig MacTavish. Its a business and if they have to cut him loose they will but if not don't underestmate this. MacT has been a Horcoff backer forever.
Am I full of shit? Sure maybe I am. Like I said though I think they keep him this summer. There's no reason to cut him loose. As for next summer, well my guess is he is a goner but if things work out maybe not. Its not a sure thing lets just put it that way. Probable but no guarantee. If they have the cap space, and they may, then they're not going to spend a couple of million bucks just to get more.
EDIT - LOL well I never said math was my strong suit, that's my only excuse. As noted by the first comment below I did not include the base salaries for Smid and Gagner in my calculations for next year.
Plug those in there and suddenly the chances of Horcoff sticking around next season drop. Whereas before I figured it was 95% that he would remain, I'm guessing now maybe 50/50. And next summer well, he was probably a goner, now most certainly he will be.
Posted by Black Dog at 12:44 PM