Tha Sports Junkies 101

Three teams that spent themselves into a corner prior to expansion draft

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These three teams have put themselves in a bad position in the near future

The Pittsburgh Penguins have captured Lord Stanley’s Cup for the second straight season, and now the off-season is in motion for all 30 NHL teams. There will be the usual amateur draft, as well as free agency beginning on July 1. But the new wrinkle, the expansion draft of the Vegas Golden Knights, has put some teams in a pickle. These teams have spent themselves into a pickle, and it looks like they will be there for a short while.

Detroit Red Wings

The Red Wings’ run is over.

The franchise’s 25-season consecutive playoffs streak came to an end in 2017 and the Wings could be starting a long playoff drought. The Red Wings are in a cap bind because they gave large contracts to older players.

According to CapFriendly, $5.9 million is available to re-sign Andreas Athanasiou, Tomas Tartar and Xavier Quellet. The 2018 off-season sees Dylan Larkin, Anthony Mantha and Petr Mrazek become restricted free agents. Most of the overpriced contracts will be running long through then. Mike Green becomes a free agent after next season, dropping a $6 million cap hit off the book

The Red Wings may have to utilize a few buyouts in order to keep all of their young talent.

Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers fell victim to handing out contracts to what they thought would be their future. The Oilers are paying Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins $6 million each. Luckily for Edmonton, Eberle’s contract will be up in 2020.

The current front office regime, headlined by general manager Peter Chiarelli, is not responsible for these deals. But that does not mean they can get out of them. The Oilers need a veteran defenseman presence, but Kris Russell may be too expensive to re-sign. The deal to Milan Lucic was way too much for his low production, so the Northern Alberta franchise hopes he will pick his point total up.

Most importantly, Leon Draisaitl’s contract is up, and he may command a deal similar to Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau. The Oilers will also have to make some sacrifices before the 2019 offseason, when Connor McDavid becomes a free agent.

Chiarelli should explore trade options for Nugent-Hopkins, but he may get pennies on the dollar because of the price tag he carries.

Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks are in the same boat as the Oilers. They made a few bad signings, way before the thought of an expansion draft.

The major problem for the Ducks is that they will have to expose one solid player. The no-movement clause Kevin Bieksa’s contract means the Ducks will have to protect him. Injury-prone Clayton Stoner will be hard to trade with a $3.25 mil cap hit, though his placement on long-term IR gave the Ducks some cap relief this season. Timing is everything, as both of the contracts expire at the end of next season.

The Ducks can either protect seven forwards/three defenseman/one goalie or eight skaters/one goalie. Because they are forced to protect Bieksa, as well as Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, the Ducks will have to expose a top forward or defenseman.

The Ducks made it clear that they do not want to expose defenseman Josh Manson, or any of their defensive prospects for that matter, so it will most likely be Jakob Silfverberg or Rickard Rakell that will be exposed. The Ducks cannot ask Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause, but they can buy him out. This might be the route the Ducks have to take to open up another protection spot.