Hall Signs for 7: Predicting the Future

Well the Oilers have done something that since Chris Pronger, they haven't been successfully able to do -- that is sign a potential superstar player to a long-term deal to play in Edmonton. Granted Taylor Hall may yet be a superstar, but the arrows are pointed in the right direction with this young man.  The Oilers realize the ceiling for Hall versus what he's shown to date (which is fairly spectacular) is a "skies the limit scenario" and have attached $6 million per and seven years to Taylor Hall starting the season after this next.

Most fans in Edmonton are happy. Based on comparable contracts, Hall's isn't out of whack. Term is fair, price is fair, and while injuries may be a slight concern, there is plenty of space for Hall to outplay his dollar value and his attitude and pedigree suggests he'll do just that.

This does pose some interesting questions going forward for a young team with more than just a Taylor Hall who will be looking at similar contracts.

Jordan Eberle is next on the docket and there is no reason to suggest he sees much less money than Hall did. That's $12 million per season in two forwards. Expect that Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov might be in the same range, and $24 million per season goes out the window fairly quickly. It's a pretty potent offensive core on the team for many years, but in net and on the blue, the Oilers will have to figure out where to allocate the other $30 million or so available should the cap drop to $54 or $58 million after the new CBA.

The question becomes, is it possible? Should the Oilers use Taylor Hall as a baseline for what to expect with the other stud young players on this team, how many times can Edmonton hand out these types of contracts before running into a problem?

The answer is, it all depends on the new CBA. There shouldn't be a problem if the cap starts at $55 and goes up each year. Should it not, the Oilers will have issues.

Let's look at what could happen (we're going to make some general assumptions to keep things simple).

At forward (the core):

Taylor Hall - $6 mill
Jordan Eberle - $6 mill
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - $6 mill
Nail Yakupov - $6 mill

Total: $24 million

On the blue (the core):

If we assume that Justin Schultz is everything he sounds like he could be, $5-$6 million per might not be a stretch after his first two seasons. Petry could round into shape as a legit top four and Smid could be that stud stay-at-home d-man every team needs. Klefbom is a wild-card, but we're predicting two-seasons from now, so we'll aim on the side of glass is half full thinking.

Justin Schultz - $6 million
Jeff Petry - $5 million
Ladi Smid - $4 million
Oscar Klefbom - $4 million

Total: $18 million

In Goal:

If all goes well and Devan Dubnyk does become the starter Edmonton is banking on, he'll likely receive a $5 million multi-year deal. A notable back-up should be available for $2 million a season or less.

Dubnyk - $5 million
Backup: $2 million

Total: $7 million

So far, that's $49 million tied up out of a potential and estimated $55 million cap coming out of the CBA. We have to assume that over time regardless of the new CBA, the cap will rise proportionately over the years as revenues grow. In three seasons $62 to $63 million would be a very reasonable expectation of team salary at that time. That leaves $13-$15 million in space to fill out the rosters. (this is if the players take a lower-ball offer than they are likely seeking).

Rounding out the forwards:

A Horcoff similar at $2.5 instead of $5.5, a Ryan Smyth type at $2.5. a second line center (Sam Gagner or the like) at $3.5 or $4. That's 7 of your 12 forwards at a total of $ 9 million more. Puts us at $58 million. Six more players at $6-$7 million dollar total means a $64 million payroll.

Rounding out the blue:

Allocate $2.5 for a 6 and 7 defenseman and you have your roster at $66.5 million. Well below the current cap with some room to add a few contracts to put you over the top on your third and fourth lines.

It's fair to guess that after this CBA, $70 million dollar cap hits may be a thing of the past. But $65 million? Maybe. And to have seven major proven commodities making $5-$6 million in that range within that cap is exceptional.

It means that the Oilers will have to convince the Nuge and Nail to stay in that $6 million a season range. Winning may depend on it. Can it be done without a total team shake-up? I believe so.

Edmonton will need to ensure however that these $6 million dollar deals are communicated to the players as the potential ceiling of where their salaries will extend. If a Nail Yakupov or Justin Schultz demands $7-$8 million, they'll need to be moved.


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