Oilers News & Rumors: Gagner, Ryan, Neal, Chiasson, More

In an Edmonton Oilers news and rumors update, there are reports the Oilers have decided not to exercise any buyouts on players this offseason which means contracts like James Neal’s will stay on the books. Meanwhile, around the league, teams are signing players and releasing players in decisions that could affect what the Oilers had planned and will plan to do moving forward. Finally, could the Oilers be looking to move Alex Chiasson?

Oilers Won’t Buyout Players

According to Jim Matheson, the Edmonton Oilers won’t be using the buyout window that opened on Friday to remove any players from their active roster. He writes, “Again no buyouts planned for Ken Holland, already on hook for Andrej Sekera $2.5 million and Benoit Pouliot’s $1.33 million for this upcoming season. Plus, paying $750,000 of Lucic salary…” He adds that their current commitments to former players is not optimal to adding more buyouts to their list.

James Neal Edmonton Oilers
James Neal, Edmonton Oilers (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

If the Oilers aren’t electing to move any salary, the only real options become a trade. Perhaps the team is comfortable with the idea of going in with the same group of forwards, adding only a less expensive option that might shake loose as other teams buyout players or move out salary.

The news of no buyouts specifically means that James Neal will be back with the team despite some speculation the organization might look to buyout his final three seasons. The Oilers might still look to trade Neal to see if that will free up some room to make moves, but if it happens, it will probably only be with a team that is willing to buy him out and take a sweetener for doing so.

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Could Bobby Ryan Be An Option?

It’s difficult to know what Bobby Ryan is thinking after he was waived by the Ottawa Senators for the purposes of a buyout, at least as far as his NHL future is concerned. It’s not expected any team will be willing to pay anywhere close the $7.25 million he was making on his last deal with the Senators. But, how low will he go?

Bobby Ryan Ottawa Senators
Bobby Ryan, Ottawa Senators (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Is Ryan a $2 million player? Is he a $3 million player? Will he want a long-term deal or does he understand that some teams might want him to prove himself on a one-year contract before they extend him long-term? For the Oilers, he’s the kind of player that fits on paper. A right-winger who could play on a top line (or top-six role) if healthy and productive, he could be a tremendous steal for a hockey club and the Oilers have some incredible top end skill that could help him produce at a high level.

At the same time, the Oilers have a surplus of right-wingers and are looking to move someone to fill in holes on the left side. It doesn’t seem like a fit based on the other players deployed as they currently are. But, if he’s available at the right number, the Oilers might want to take a look at it.

Sam Gagner Signs With Detroit Red Wings

One player that some believed the Oilers might look at again this offseason was Sam Gagner. The Oilers won’t get that chance now that Gagner has signed an extension with the Detroit Red Wings.

Gagner inked a one-year, one-way deal for $800K on Saturday and essentially secured his employment for the upcoming season. It was probably a smart move considering a number of NHL fringe forwards could have trouble signing deals in the offseason.

Another former Oiler signed a big deal this week as well as Jeff Petry secured a four-year contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

Could Alex Chiasson Be on the Move?

If the Oilers are thinking about moving a right-winger for a left-winger, does that mean that Alex Chiasson will find himself on the trade block? There’s been some talk the Oilers might be trying to swing a deal with the Boston Bruins that would see Chiasson go to Boston in exchange Anders Bjork.

The deal would actually save the Oilers around $500K and give them a decent depth forward on a three-year cost-effective contract. But, would the Bruins do it?

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