Ken Holland has responded to a pitiful effort from his Edmonton Oilers at Rogers Place on Friday night. After a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Calgary Flames, the Oilers have waived veteran forward Markus Granlund and defenseman Brandon Manning. Neither player handles a big role for the Oilers, but both take up a chunk of valuable cap space and simply are not helping the team win games.
Manning has been an expensive seventh defender simply waiting out his contract. I give Manning credit for not complaining about a less than ideal situation, but bottom line is this club cannot be paying a depth piece $2,250,00 to sit upstairs every night.
Granlund was signed to a one-year deal on July 1st for $1,300,000. His addition was designed to add speed, penalty killing ability and secondary scoring to an Oilers lineup in need of all three. Outside of a solid stretch at the end of November, Granlund never provided those things to the Oilers. His penchant for taking bad penalties likely sealed his fate as an Oiler.
Both will be assigned to AHL Bakersfield should they clear waivers tomorrow at noon eastern. The Condors play Stockton later tonight and also will be in San Jose tomorrow afternoon. If the Oilers are to make recalls, they likely won’t come until Monday.
The Right Decision:
There are not enough players playing good hockey for the Edmonton Oilers right. Key pieces like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Leon Draisaitl and Darnell Nurse are not getting the job done. The depth pieces are not picking up the slack right now.
Last night’s loss pushed the Oilers into a wildcard spot, and likely will have them outside the playoff picture when they resume play on Tuesday night. Something has to change, or this team will become the first in NHL history to miss the playoffs in 13 of 14 seasons.
Granlund and Manning were not helping the Oilers win hockey games. In fact, to my eye, these two were just soaking up valuable cap space. Although both will still negatively impact the cap in the AHL, both will count less against Edmonton’s final number.
According to cap friendly, Granlund will count $225,000 against the cap should he clear waivers and be assigned. Manning, meanwhile, will count $1,175,000. The Oilers would carry a dead cap hit of $1,400,00 should both players go to Bakersfield.
That isn’t ideal, but it is a lot better than the $3,550,000 that they currently count for. The Oilers, in this scenario, will open a little over $2,000,000 in cap space. Of course, most of that will be taken up by recalls.
Bottom line is, this team needs a change. Granlund and Manning are two of the many players not helping the team right now. They earned these waiver assignments.
My money is on Matt Benning getting cleared and returning to the active roster. If he is not healthy, expect William Lagesson to be summoned to Edmonton. Benning did skate with the main group on Saturday.
Among the forwards, it is possible that the hard-nosed Colby Cave gets the recall. The Oilers know they will get hard work, responsible play and penalty killing ability from Cave. That recall doesn’t exactly move the needle, however.
Tyler Benson and Kailer Yamamoto are also options for recall, but I’m not sure Yamamoto is ready for a look in the NHL. Benson, to my eye, is the most NHL ready prospect that the club has in Bakersfield among forwards.
The other potential option? A trade. The Oilers were in on Taylor Hall and appear to be in on Brandon Saad right now. Ken Holland has been looking to add a forward since training camp, and I highly doubt he has called off the dogs on his search. It’s possible, although unlikely, that progress has been made on trade negotiations.
Lastly, I’d claim Eric Comrie and try like hell to dump Mike Smith. That experiment has been a massive failure.