Edmonton Oilers Free Agency: Making the case for Dominik Kahun

Edmonton Oilers, Dominik Kahun (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Edmonton Oilers, Dominik Kahun (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The Edmonton Oilers would be wise to take a risk on Dominik Kahun

Continuing my series on cheap scoring help for 1st line LW on the Edmonton Oilers, here’s another candidate, playmaker Dominik Kahun.  Kahun is a German and Czech player who was signed as a European free agent by Chicago after he put up 41 points in 42 games for Munich in the German pro leagues as well as 14 points in 17 playoff games.

Interestingly enough, he and Conor Sheary were traded for each other at the deadline this past season.  His stats don’t exactly jump out at you, as he’s only played 138 games in the NHL and has yet to crack the 20 goal mark.  But I see two things of note in his boxcars.

After the trade to Buffalo last year, he put up 2-2-4 in 6 games on a lousy Sabres team – and finished +2 to boot.  Imagine what he could do on a better team playing shotgun to Connor McDavid.  Short sample size, yes, but definitely shows potential and that perhaps the light bulb has come on with this player and he’s about to break out.

Outside of his time in Buffalo, he’s finished with higher assist totals than goal-scoring totals, which to me says that Kahun is a pass-first player, a playmaker if you will as opposed to a sniper.  Are you seeing the potential here if he plays on the 1st line with McDavid?  I’m seeing it.  Kahun gets the puck and passes to McDavid, who snipes it home.  Rinse and repeat about 50-100 times.  In theory, it should work well.  Both players feed off of each other.  He’s also finished on the + side of the +/- ledger on all 3 teams in the league.

It’s also worth noting that Kahun turned 25 in July, which means this upcoming season he’ll be entering his prime producing years.  That lines up with the Oilers being in win-now mode.

What would a contract look like for him?  Let’s see.

*Puts on my Ken Holland mask and gets into armchair GM mode*

1 year, 1 way, $1 million contract

*Takes off Ken Holland mask and goes back into blogger mode*

Now granted, Kahun comes with more risk than Sheary does because he’s got less of a track record – only 138 NHL games, so it won’t be until the end of this season that you truly know what kind of player he is when he either comes close or cracks the 200 game mark.

But again, just like Sheary, IMO this is a low risk, high reward scenario.  If he falters, no biggie – play him in the bottom 6 or waive him to the minors, and his cap hit goes down to a mere US$100,000.  At the end of the season, he walks.

Does Kahun do anything else besides make plays at even strength? 

Just like Sheary, he gets just over 13 minutes of ice time per game and played about 1:03/game on the PP and 28 seconds a game on the PK.  He could do the 2nd units of both special teams here, too, if Dave Tippett wants.

Not very physical – 5 hits and 22 blocked shots all season prior.  I’d expect him to be a winger, so this wouldn’t factor much into my decision. Not great at faceoffs at 48.3% but he only took 60 of them last year.  He only produced 1-2-3 of his 12-19-31 of offence last year on the PP, so he’s not being propped up by the PP.

Bottom line

Kahun will come with more risk than Sheary because he isn’t as experienced.  But the flip side of that is he’ll come cheaper than Sheary would.  IMO it’s at least worth a look as a short term flyer.  What do you think?