Edmonton Oilers

Predicting what the Edmonton Oilers lineup could be for opening night

With the Edmonton Oilers training camp right around the corner, it’s time to start looking at the possible opening night roster options for the team.

The Oiler’s current cap situation is in dire straits, almost $7 million over before the LTIR reductions of Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom. This leaves the team with little flexibility, and it’s clear a trade is imminent in order to sign their last restricted free agent Ryan McLeod. Even if a trade gets done and McLeod signs, the Oilers are most likely looking at a shortened roster.

Let’s look at some of the possible lineup options for the team come opening night.

21-man roster with no trades


If the Oilers are not going to make a trade, Ryan McLeod would need to sign a very cheap deal; I put $850,000 to make the money work, but my guess is it will be closer to $1 million. For the team to make it under the $82,500,000 salary cap, Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan have been placed on waivers and moved to the Bakersfield Condors.

With this lineup, we see some unexpected players making the team such as Tyler Benson and Dylan Holloway. However, I believe Holloway has a good chance with how he has played at the Young Stars tournament in Penticton this past weekend. I think he will be on the team quickly if he is not already at the start of the season.

On the back end, the team will stay pretty much the same as last year, plus the addition of Ryan Murray as the seventh defenceman. As expected, Jack Campbell as the starting goaltender and Stuart Skinner as the backup.

21-man roster with a trade


For the Oilers to ice this lineup, they would need to trade Foegele to a team looking to take on bad contracts, like the Arizona Coyotes who are looking to tank for draft picks. This would be a tough trade to get done as Foegele’s value is currently low, and other teams know that the Oilers are desperate for cap relief.

If the Oilers can get a deal done, this would free up $2.75 million of cap space. They could then use it to sign Ryan McLeod between $850,000-$1,000,000 and that still leaves the Oilers with around $1.4 million in wiggle room.

Running with a 21-man roster can be risky because of injury, so general manager Ken Holland could use this room to sign a PTO player (eg. Jake Virtanen, Jason Demers) if they show well in training camp or he could save it for free agency later in the season.

The Oilers may have to get creative

When looking at the Oiler’s cap situation, it is clear that Ken Holland will have to get creative to ensure that the Oilers are cap compliant 24 hours before the start of the regular season. This is likely great news for players like Brad Malone, James Hamblin, and Tyler Benson, who are trying to make the team and are signed to cheaper contracts around the $750,000-$800,000 range.

Only time will tell what tricks Holland has up his sleeve to solve the cap issue; these are just a couple options I was able to find using the CapFriendly roster simulator.

What do you think the Oilers lineup will look like come opening night? I would love to hear what you folks think!

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

One Comment

  1. I predict:

    Janamark/____ Virtanen (or McKegg or Malone or Griffith)



    I don’t want to waive/assign D. Ryan, I want his PK and right shot face-offs but the $400K savings between Ryan and a $750K player for 4RW is going to be needed to start the season.

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