Edmonton Oilers: Looking at expiring contracts – RFA edition

Jujhar Khaira #16, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Jujhar Khaira #16, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /
1 of 5
Jujhar Khaira #16, Edmonton Oilers
Jujhar Khaira #16, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

It’s a good time now to take a look at all the expiring contracts the Edmonton Oilers need to be dealing with.

Let’s start with the RFA’s – or restricted free agents, for those who don’t know. Restricted free agents are still under team control due to not qualifying for full free agency yet.  Maybe they’re not 27, which is the age at which NHL players are allowed to be unrestricted free agents.  Maybe they haven’t played enough games yet to qualify.

Restricted free agents have a hard deadline that the Oilers must have tended what’s called a QO – or qualifying offer.  This is only the opening salvo in negotiations, but due to the fact the incumbent club has more control, RFAs will need to have an offer sheet tended to them by other teams, and sign it themselves.

This is rarely done due to the extensive compensation needed to pay to the incumbent club.  It’s usually used to target top 6 forwards or top-pairing defencemen due to the fact that it only works if the incumbent club doesn’t match the offer sheet, so the compensation must be worth it and the offer needs to be something the incumbent club wouldn’t match.

Now, let’s look at this year’s edition of RFA sweepstakes.  It’s all forwards, no D or goalies are RFAs.

C/LW Jujhar Khaira expiring contract $1.2 million cap hit

Khaira started out the season invisible just as he ended the last one.  After being humbled by time on the taxi squad and as a healthy scratch, and being in and out of the lineup, he eventually worked himself into Dave Tippett’s good books and became a bottom 6 regular again.  He became the big body that provides physical play, some secondary scoring, good defensive prowess against soft competition, and penalty killing.

Noteworthy is the fact his +/- was bettered from -19 2 seasons ago to -1 last season.  He finished tied for 4th with Kris Russell in PK TOI/game on the team with 1:58.  Khaira ended up with 3-8-11 in 40 games last season.  In a full 82 game season, that works out to 6 goals and 22 points.

That’s decent for a 3rd line center, and solid for a 4th line center.  He even carried that over into the playoffs, notching a goal in the 4 games and putting himself on the board for depth scoring in the playoffs.  Expect him to be a 4th line center next season if the Oilers can find someone to succeed where Kyle Turris failed last season, at 3rd line center.  Formed a good line with Josh Archibald and at different times, Zack Kassian or Alex Chiasson.

Chances he get’s re-signed – 90%.  Khaira ended the season favorably with Dave Tippett, so as long as he maintains or betters the play he had this season he’ll be a full-time player in the bottom 6.

Predicted contract – 2 years, $2.64 million (1.32 million per).  Bottom 6’ers aren’t going to make big money, this is the mandatory 10% raise for him, that’s it.