Monday, June 14, 2010

A buyout or two will happen before June 30

Daryl Katz will soon have a lot in common with American TV network NBC. 

The network spent tens of millions in cash — wastefully, I might add — to buyout TV talk show star Conan O’Brien and his Team Coco. Possibly, it was a polite way to replace him with old-school late-night host Jay Leno, but it wasn’t the right move.

Yup, O’Brien got screwed, and Leno is, well, Leno. But good things did happen for Team Coco. O’Brien is hosting a late-night talk show on another network and everyone lived happily ever after.

The story, on the other hand for the Edmonton Oilers, will take a new twist beginning tomorrow for a two-week long drama.

Sometime between tomorrow and June 30, Steve Tambellini could go to Daryl Katz and beg him to sign off three gigantic cheques to buyout a trio of forwards who have been absolutely dismal. That trio is none other than captain Ethan Moreau, Patrick O’Sullivan and Robert Nilsson.

And just like NBC, a big buyout is a waste of money for the Oilers because it was management who agreed to sign Patrick O’Sullivan to $2.95 million, or signing Nilsson to $2 million after being hot for one half of a season. Thank you, Kevin Lowe.

Expect a buyout or two to happen during or after the NHL Entry Draft June 25. Tambo will try to make a trade to dump O’Sullivan or Nilsson at the draft, but that won’t happen.

On the other hand, Toronto might bite on O’Sullivan simply because the Leafs are in dire need of forwards, but that’s a very, very long shot.


Keep in mind, buying out both of those contracts will shave close to $5 million off the cap and odds are Moreau and his $2 million salary will be traded for a third or fourth round draft pick to a contending team that’s desperate for some grit. Now there’s an easy salary dump.

A team like the Boston Bruins might consider taking on a player like Moreau, especially after blowing a three game series lead to the Philadelphia Flyers in the Eastern Final.

The Flyers physically dominated the injury-plagued Bruins, and a player like Moreau could have been a difference, especially on the penalty kill. 

And after Boston drafts Taylor Hall (yup, that’s a blog post I’m working on for tomorrow), Moreau would be a great third or fourth line addition in Beantown.

Or there’s the Washington Capitals, a team that was in dire need of leadership in Game 7 of the opening round of the playoffs against the Montreal Canadians.

With the three contracts gone, the Oilers have plenty of cushion room when it comes to next season’s salary cap, so long term, they can afford to keep their young stars by signing them to long-term contracts. That’s if Tambo and Katz are smart about it.

By the way, go Team Coco.


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