According to Bob McKenzie the Oilers have placed Lauri Korpikoski on waivers for the purpose of a buy out.
I’m not sure that this move is really a surprise to anyone, right? It’s a move that was expected and ends up saving the Oilers some cash and cap space. The buy out on the remaining year of Lauri Korpikoski’s contract will be spread out as a $500K cap in 2016-17 and a $1 million cap hit in 2017-18. The bright side is that the Oilers will save themselves $2 million in cash for this year, and rid themselves of a guy that was making too much money for the role he plays. Considering the level of play that Korpikoski has provided in his year as an Oiler the savings will likely be welcomed.
All the other shot metrics, from Fenwick to scoring chances, are similarly skewed. Individual contributions to scoring chances say the same thing; Korpikoski has easily the worst numbers of any regular Oilers winger. The numbers for high-danger chances are most damning of all; Edmonton is out-chanced by a 70-30 margin when Korpikoski is on the ice. That’s worse than even Steve MacIntyre managed during either of his two 20-plus game seasons as an Oiler.
Lauri Korpikoski has a 41.1% Corsi For percentage this season with the Oilers. It is by far the worst on the team. The shot attempt ratio is one thing, but the goals for and against are another. He also has one of the worst Goals For percentage on the team at 37%. In raw CF% he is among the worst NHL forwards given at least 400 minutes of 5v5 ice-time. And, as per his usual, his teammates do significantly better without him than with him. Relative to his teammates he is the 4th worst forward in the NHL, ranked 310 of 313 players.
Back when Chiarelli traded Boyd Gordon (a roster player) for Korpikoski he said, “I have time for Korpikoski and I know he underperformed.” Apparently he didn’t have all that much time for the boy name Lauri as he bought out the contract that he traded for less than a year after it happened. As I mentioned above, I’m not sure that anyone will be surprised by this decision. Frankly, it would have been way more surprising had the Oilers opted to bring Korpikoski back for another year.
For me, Lauri Korpikoski was an expensive fourth line option for a team that, arguably, spends too much on bottom six guys. The takeaway from this buy out is that the Oilers feel that they can (and will) find a cheaper option that can bring whatever it is that Korpikoski brings to the table. Maybe that means they open up a spot for JJ Khaira on the fourth line? Maybe they bring in a cheaper veteran? It’s still too early to say what will happen to the “energy line” but it’s fair to say that there really isn’t much downside in this buy out.
What (if anything) will the Oilers do with the savings? As Lowetide would say, we wait.
KORPIKOSKI AS AN OILER