Oilers 3 Biggest On-Going Worries Going Into 2022-23 Season

The Edmonton Oilers have a good team. In fact, they have a playoff team that is poised to make a run and anything less than a 2nd-round appearance in the postseason would be considered disappointing. That doesn’t mean the team is void of issues.

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With only a few weeks until the season begins and with many members of the team already on the ice and skating in informal sessions and practices, the window to fix the issues is slowly closing. The Oilers have a player that still needs to be signed, a salary cap issue that hasn’t gone away, and waiver concerns are now very much a real thing.

What About the Ryan McLeod Extension?

The last name the Oilers still need to sign that was a part of last season’s roster is Ryan McLeod. Most expect this deal to get done and fall somewhere between $900K and $975K on a one-year term, but to date, nothing has been announced. McLeod is in Edmonton and participating with teammates but he’s not under contract yet. What’s taking so long?

Ryan McLeod Edmonton Oilers
Ryan McLeod, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Daniel Nugent-Bowman of The Athletic writes:

Not only are the Oilers trying to secure the best deal they can, but management isn’t through trying to clear up some cap space before McLeod puts pen to paper. Jesse Puljujarvi, Warren Foegele and Tyson Barrie have long been the most likely trade options. However, the market for a multi-million-dollar player isn’t exactly robust considering it’s September and most teams are at or near the cap and have their rosters largely figured out.

source – ‘What I’m hearing on Oilers’ looming roster crunch, Ryan McLeod contract and more’ – Daniel Nugent-Bowman – The Athletic – 09/08/2022

The fact the Oilers haven’t been able to finalize a trade that would allow the team to clear the necessary cap space to get McLeod inked to his new deal means potentially running with a shortened roster. The other issue is that teams who are taking on players with salary are asking for sweeteners and the Oilers may have to decide what they’re willing to part with to move money.

More on the Oilers’ Salary Cap Issues

Edmonton keeps bringing in players or is rumored to be attached to them and that’s an issue that doesn’t solve itself if the cap situation doesn’t get worked out. Ryan Murray was inked to a league-minimum deal — which is good but also adds to the cap issues. Meanwhile, the Carolina Hurricanes have given a PTO to Calvin de Haan and Vancouver Canucks have signed Danny DeKeyser to a PTO. These teams could lose the players, but they are also not locked in or committed to them.

Related: Edmonton Oilers Hot Takes for the 2022-23 Season

Where the money is going to come from to sign anyone the Oilers extend a PTO to is unclear. They’ve brought in Justin Bailey and there’s talk about bringing in someone else, potentially Jake Virtanen. The way things stand, the best scenario is these players get to practice with the team and move on. There’s no money to sign them.

Potential Waiver Issues are Becoming a Story

As Allan Mitchell of The Athletic points out, the Oilers’ decision to sign Murray creates a waiver issue that could have a significant impact on the team’s future. Defenseman Dmitri Samorukov will have to clear waivers if he doesn’t make the team and considering the Oilers need to have Philip Broberg and Dylan Holloway on the opening night roster for cap reasons, there’s a change Samorukov will not be on the team when the season begins.

Dmitri Samorukov Bakersfield Condors
Dmitri Samorukov, Bakersfield Condors (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Mitchell explains:

One of the areas of need for the organization is a shutdown defenceman who can hit hard and stifle offence. Samorukov is not an established NHL player but does have those elements in his game. There may be some growing pains during the development process with Edmonton, but if he gets into 50 games (on merit) Samorukov will tell them who he is by spring.

source – ‘Lowetide: Why Edmonton Oilers fans should be worried about waivers’ – Allan Mitchell – The Athletic – 09/09/2022

He’s a rugged and talented prospect and it would be a shame if the Oilers lost him. There is a chance he could clear through waivers, but it’s hard to know what will happen.

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