Imagine how happy former Oilers "capologist" Scott Howson would have been to be part of the organization today. In the Katzian era, he would have unlimited financial flexibility to put this team together. And judging him based on how he did in the 2005-2006 season, you gotta think he would have pulled some major moves.
Well the Oilers are once again healthy spenders this season, after spending to the cap in 2007-2008.
Let's look at the breakdown, all numbers being in CAP HIT (all this thanks to nhlnumbers.com):
FORWARDS: $26.478 M
The ones I'll list right now are the ones pretty much guaranteed to stay in the lineup all year long.
1st line (11.7 M):
Cole (4, UFA)
Horcoff (3.6, 5.5 EXT)
2nd line (4.591 M):
3rd line (7.247 M):
Brodziak (0.497, RFA)
4th line (3.525 M):
DEFENSE: $21.236 M
1st pairing (9.6 M):
2nd pairing (8.1 M):
3rd pairing (2.386 M):
Smid (0.886, RFA)
Grebeshkov (1.5, RFA)
Reserves (1.15 M):
Jason Strudwick (0.650, UFA)
Mathieu Roy (0.500, RFA)
GOALTENDING (5.417 M):
Garon (1.1, UFA)
Roloson (3.667, UFA)
So as of right now, the Oilers have a minimal cap commitment of $53.131 M, which is $3.569 less than the cap maximum for this year.
The Oilers are right around the middle of the pack in terms of spending on forwards, while they spend 5th most in the league on defensemen. For a team that gets a lotta flack for overspending on Roloson, the Oilers manage to be in the bottom-half of the league in terms of spending on goaltending.
All this seems to bode well in Lowe's mission to replicate the Wings. They too spend greatly on their defense and forwards, while really limiting how much they give their goaltender. If the Oilers can implement the same puck-possession game, they should be successful with their cap distribution being in this manner.
The aforementioned cap is for a roster including 12 forwards, 8 defensemen, and 3 goalies.
The Oilers are likely to waive Mathieu Roy early in the season, as riding with 8 defensemen when you have great prospects like Peckham, Chorney, and Hrabal in the wings is pointless. This knocks off 0.5M off the hit (now at $52.631 M), leaving them with $4.169M to spend. Another thing to consider is a 13th forward. The Oilers will have to be careful with who they choose, for the sake of conserving cap space.
Brule would have a cap hit of $1.247M
Schremp's hit would be $0.775M
Potulny's hit is $0.708M
By electing to go with one of Schremp or Potulny, the Oilers would save $0.5M over the course of the season, an amount that would come in handy around trade deadline day. It's yet another reason for Brule to at least start the season down in the AHL. Also interesting is Potulny's waiver eligibility. If the Oilers play Schremp with Brule in Springfield, and keep Potulny up with the big club, they can choose to waive Potulny if they feel one of Schremp or Brule is ready to step up, and thus they lose Potulny's cap hit if he gets picked up.
Another thing to consider is with Roy and Potulny's ages, they are still considered prospects. Both are on cheap contracts, and will likely go to teams seeking depth if they're waived.
So considering Roy is waived, and the Oilers ride with Potulny early in the season, we're looking at a cap hit of $53.411M to begin the year, leaving the Oilers with $3.289 in flexibility come deadline day.