The Edmonton Oilers have just exercised one of their buyouts, but it is going to be a difficult one for fans to swallow.
According to an official announcement from the Oilers organization, the team has made the decision to buyout the remaining years on the contract of veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera. There had been rumblings that newly appointed Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland had been contemplating such a move for weeks now, but now the rumblings about the Oilers potentially losing an important piece of their blue line are no longer mere rumblings.
The buyout will clear significant cap space for the Oilers moving forward, $3 million in each of the next 2 seasons to be exact, and the belief is that Holland and the organization will use that money to try and woo a free agent forward to come play alongside Oilers superstar Connor McDavid. Of course the problem there is that the Oilers have just become an even less attractive free agent destination than they normally are by losing Sekera and I find it hard to believe that they will be able to get one of the top free agent forwards available this summer unless they end up massively overpaying him.
The problem for Sekera of course is that injuries have made him a rather unreliable part of the Oilers blue line and I believe that this, as well as the additional cap savings, are why the Oilers chose to move him over a player like Kris Russell. Additionally Russell earns relatively little in the final year of his deal which will likely make him easier to move in a trade down the line than Sekera would have been, especially if his injury woes continued. I know fans in Edmonton likely won't be loving this one, but it's a bold move from Holland and we will have to wait and see if it pays off.