Edmonton Oilers General Manager Ken Holland has been busy re-signing members of the 2019-20 club. In January, the Oilers re-signed Zack Kassian to a four-year deal. Josh Archibald, Joakim Nygard, Caleb Jones and Gaetan Haas have all been extended in recent months.
Riley Sheahan, around the NHL All-Star break in January, was rumored to be next on the list. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on January 22nd that the Oilers would “investigate the possibility” of re-signing Sheahan, Archibald and Nygard. Since then, both Archibald (two-years) and Nygard (one-year) have new contracts. Sheahan, to this point, does not.
Sheahan signed a one-year deal with the club in September, agreeing to a salary of $900,000.
Although Sheahan struggled a little early in the season, he settled in quite nicely a bottom-six center. Sheahan served as Edmonton’s top penalty killing center, and was one of their better two-way forwards.
The offense wasn’t spectacular, but Sheahan had respectable totals. Through 66 games, Sheahan scored eight goals and added seven assists for 15 points. For a depth center, he chipped in enough to be more than a non-factor.
Sheahan was a strong depth option for the Oilers, but how much of a raise does he deserve? His penalty killing ability is vital, but his five-on-five play leaves something to be desired. On a playoff team, Sheahan is a fourth line center, not a third liner.
Sheahan, according to reports and sources, is looking to be paid like a third line center. Sources have indicated that Sheahan is hoping to land a contract worth $2 – $2.75 million per season. That should be considered too rich for Holland’s blood.
The Oilers have, in the past, gotten into trouble when overpaying bottom-six players. Although Sheahan served a role for the club, this would be considered an overpayment.
The NHL’s salary cap is going to stay flat moving toward the 2020-21 season due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Oilers will be tight to the cap, and likely can’t afford to overpay depth players.
If Sheahan is going to be asking for somewhere in the $2 million neighborhood, his Oilers career is likely over.