NHL Rumors: Tippet, Sabres Pressure, Oilers Salary Issues

In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there is pressure on Buffalo Sabres GM Jason Botterill to win a trade this summer, the Seattle franchise is looking for a new GM but could also lose one of their senior advisors, and there are some ideas floating around the Edmonton Oilers and how they might solve their salary cap issues for next season.

Sabres Feeling the Heat

GM of the Buffalo Sabres, Jason Botterill might be feeling the heat this offseason as his team looks to win a trade in an effort to improve the roster. His trades sending Ryan O’Reilly to the St. Louis Blues and Marco Scandella did not boost the Sabres as intended.

Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen
Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

There is talk the Sabres might consider trading defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen and this would be an opportunity for Botterill to make good on a deal that could help the organization. That said, it could also backfire as he’s only 24 and is signed through the year 2021-22 at $5.4 million per season.

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Three Possible Salary Cap Solutions for Oilers

Allan Mitchell of The Athletic suggested three ways the Edmonton Oilers might be able to get out from under their salary cap issues for next season. Outside of hiring a GM and securing a coach, restructuring this team financially is the organization’s top priority.

Andrej Sekera a buyout option for Oilers? (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)

The plan is to take whatever money that can stir up and put it towards speed, skill, and goaltending depth and right now, Milan Lucic, Andrej Sekera and Kris Russell are expensive contracts that don’t solve many of the Oilers problems in those areas. They will be high on the list of players the Oilers try to move out.

Mithcell suggests packaging a prospect plus retaining some salary on Milan Lucic’s contract would be where the Oilers need to start. He also wonders if the team should buy out the final two years of Sekera’s deal, saving $3 million each season. Finally, if the Oilers can trade Russell and his $4 million per season salary, they should try to do so.

Mitchell writes:

I think the offloads start with a buyout or trade of Lucic or Sekera, with a secondary hockey trade of Russell also possible. Edmonton could free up big money by doing all three but would be exposed on the blueline. Jones is probably ready to step in as No. 3 LHD, making Sekera expendable this summer.

source – ‘Lowetide: Trimming cap fat and adding speed and skill will shape Oilers’ offseason’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 03/21/2019

Moving both Sekera and Russell would create an issue for the Oilers in terms of their new mantra not to rush prospects out of the AHL. If they create a large hole on the blue line, they’ll need to acquire other defensemen or call up players who might not be ready.

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Tippet for GM In Seattle?

Emily Sadler of Sportsnet writes of Chris Johnston’s comments during the Saturday Headlines report that the new Seattle franchise could hire their GM this summer. Johnston says, “The Seattle expansion group has not ruled out the possibility of bringing someone in to lead their hockey operations department now, even though it’s still two years until the expansion draft.”

Dave Tippett Seattle
FILE – Seattle advisor Dave Tippett (AP Photo/LM Otero, file)

Johnston said added that the team isn’t working off a firm timeline but they want the best man for the job and if it means hiring that person now, they will. In short, Seattle won’t let a team like the Edmonton Oilers scoop a name they are interested merely because Edmonton can offer that person a job immediately.

Nick Kypreos said that Dave Tippett is already a senior advisor for Seattle and that he should be someone to keep an eye on because his future with the organization might not be etched in stone. He might wind up as the coach, but that job isn’t for another two years. , so Kypreos said he’s someone to keep an eye on. Maybe he winds up in Seattle and maybe he winds up taking one of the other coaching jobs that open up around the NHL.

If he sticks it out waiting for Seattle, he potentially leaves $3-$4 million per season on the table. That’s not an easy thing to ask anyone to do.