The Edmonton Oilers have placed D Andrej Sekera on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout. The club announced the decision at 12:00 pm est today, the final possible moment for club’s to place players on waivers for buyout purposes.
Sekera was due to make $5,500,000 in each of the next two seasons, a significant financial investment for a player coming off of two major injuries. The move will open significant cap space for Edmonton in both 2019-20 and 2020-21. The Oilers will deal with a $2,500,000 penalty in each of the next two seasons. That’s a cap savings of $3,000,000 per year.
Edmonton will also deal with a two year penalty of $1,500,000 in both 2021-22 and 2022-23.
Sekera, meanwhile, will become an unrestricted free agent tomorrow afternoon.
I can’t help but think this is a mistake by Ken Holland. Sekera has dealt with injury in each of the last two seasons, but he made a positive impact when he was on the ice. He was Edmonton’s best defender in 2016-17, and I thought he played quite well late in 2018-19 when he returned to the ice.
Sekera’s mobility and puck moving skills will be missed. For a team desperately trying to transition the puck better, this is a loss. Quite frankly, I think Holland has made a grave mistake keeping Kris Russell over Sekera.
The cap space created from this buyout is not insignificant. Expectation is that this space will be used to acquire a forward. Edmonton is looking into top-six options like Gustav Nyquist and Brett Connolly. Holland is also shopping for a third-line center, and perhaps this money will be reallocated there.
Sekera is a good player and could have helped Edmonton in 2019-20. The Oilers have elected to move on from the veteran, opening $3,000,000 in cap space for the next two seasons.
Holland should be trying to move Kris Russell via trade. If you’re going to move slower veterans, the overpaid Russell should 110% be next.