Cap Conscious Defence

Cap Conscious Defence


Cap Conscious Defence


Banging the Drum

Oiler fans are all fairly united. We are all banging the drum. Add two defencemen, Chiarelli!

We are also mostly united in that we want the two defencemen to shoot right-handed.


Paying for a Defence

In the salary cap era, teams have to be conscious of the cost of adding players. So as we speculate as to who the new additions on defence will be, don’t forget that the Oilers can’t spend unlimited cash to fix the defence.

We also need to keep in mind that both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl are on ELCs. We could add Darnell Nurse or a few others in there, but so far their play hasn’t warranted talk of long-term deals. It is also possible that Leon’s second contract could be a bridge deal, but that hasn’t been happening with young top 6 forwards around the league. We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that Leon could be in line for a long-term deal bigger money deal, in the mold of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle coming off their Entry Level Contracts.

I decided to dig into what the actual costs for Defenceman are on a league-wide scale. In order for us to hold a shared reference when we are discussing what the cap costs are and what we can handle going forward, when we look at acquiring these much discussed players. One thing to keep in mind: these contract numbers are currently what General Fanager has listed as of today (2015-16 Season). Some of the numbers will move up and some will go down when new deals kick in and others expire.

I have decided to sort them into 7 categories for dividing them into what each level of defenceman are paid. Some players are paid way more then their contributions are and typically we see a free agent premium when signing them on the unrestricted market. What I mean by this is quite simply you typically have to outbid another team in terms of dollars and term.

Defencemen Contracts Salary Range
1st defenceman (1-30) $5,400,000 to $9,000,000
2nd defenceman (31-60) $4,250,000 to $5,250,000
3rd defenceman (61-90) $3,600,000 to $4,250,000
4th defenceman (91-120) $2,500,000 to $3,600,000
5th defenceman (121-150) $1,100,000 to $2,500,000
6th defenceman (151-180) $925,000 to $1,075,000
7th defenceman (after 180) $925,000 and below


Oilers have the following contracts:

1st defenceman Sekera $5,500,000
2nd defenceman
3rd defenceman Fayne $3,625,000 & Klefbom $4,167,000
4th defenceman
5th defenceman Davidson $1,425,000
6th defenceman
7th defenceman Nurse $863,000


  • Remember that this is using 2016-17 contract values for the Oilers when the first chart uses the league wide numbers for defenceman based on 2015-16. There will be quite a few contracts redone in the next couple of months that might move the numbers somewhat.
  • Also please note that these contract numbers are done with just ELC base salaries. This is how General Fanager lists their contracts.
  • I also didn’t include Andrew Ference as we expect him to either be bought out or put on LTIR for the upcoming season.


What does this tell us?

This season, Sekera was paid in the number one category league-wide. He might move into a highly paid number 2 Defenceman category like a Jay Bouwmeester in St. Louis. Sekera was a much needed signing for the defensive depth on the team.

Oscar “Dreamy” Klefbom moves into a new contract this next year. This contract will slate him as a number three defenceman, and after WheatNOil’s look at his games, this already would be a value deal for what he brings to the defensive core. I would say he is value already if he can bring what he has brought the last few seasons (and hopefully he is able to play a full season).

Fayne was paid like a number three defenceman, but he likely will move into the number four category after contracts are renewed. There has been much debate around Fayne his play and his contract value. Prior to doing this I actually thought Fayne was overpaid by a fair amount, after seeing the league wide numbers I have changed my thinking slightly, he is only somewhat overpaid. If new Salaries move Fayne into the Number 4 category league wide that is pretty close to fair value for what he brings, perhaps slightly overpaid but not in a major way.

Davidson looks to bring value on his current deal as he is paid like a number five but also on the low-end of those number five defenceman. He doesn’t have a long track record but from what we have recently seen it should be expected that he can produce at a number 5 defenceman value.

Nurse is on his ELC and, with how General Fanager lists his contract, he is properly slated as a number seven. Even if he achieves his bonus max he also would max out at $1,713,000, so he isn’t cost prohibitive.


Where does this leave us?

This is what the Oilers currently have:

#1 Sekera
#3 Klefbom #4 Fayne
#5 Davidson
#7 Nurse


Right now this chart tells us we need a number 1 or 2 right shot defenceman, as well as a 5 or 6 right shot defenceman. I am not trying to lay this out in terms of pairings or playing partners, just looking at it in terms of salary hits.

I have seen many fixes out there that say we need two top 3 defenceman. If we follow the money we need and add two top 3 defenceman, then we would have to eliminate someone in our current defence core. The obvious player to offload is Fayne, but if we have to retain money in that deal, that doesn’t help us any.

We need to look at something different from what I currently see mentioned around Oiler land a lot.

In my next post I will dig into the actual solutions that I think will help us complete our defensive core.


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