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) /
3 of 5
Kailer Yamamoto #56, Edmonton Oilers
Kailer Yamamoto #56, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

C/RW Kailer Yamamoto, expiring contract $894,166

Yamamoto broke through 2 seasons ago, allowing the Oilers to spread the superstar wealth over 2 lines for the first time in a long time.

I was excited to see what he could do in a full season, and while he didn’t have the luster of last season, he did have a fairly solid season nonetheless.  Hey, very few NHLers develop in a straight line, and this winger will only be 23 before training camp starts.  The organization is very high on him, and I can’t blame them because he has a good toolbox.

He doesn’t play a lot on special teams, so like Kahun, he has to produce at even strength to be useful.

Yamamoto finished at 8-13-21 in 52 games last season.  In an 82 game season that’s 12 goals and 33 points.  Not sexy numbers but they will likely improve with more experience.  He’s only 105 games into his career so far and while he’s not elite yet he could turn into that 2 or 3 seasons down the road.  Also important to note that his shooting % 2 seasons ago in his debut was 25%.  That’s not sustainable and predictably came crashing down to 11.6% last season.

His +9 is down from last season’s +17, but I won’t split hairs as that’s still on the right side of the ledger.  Yamamoto isn’t a hugely physical player but he was still top 10 on the team in both hits and blocked shots last season.  He’s most well known for his chemistry with Leon Draisaitl.  He was also 10th on the team in ice time at 16:22 per game.

I see Yamamoto as a future version of Martin St. Louis or Theo Fleury – the small sniper who plays above his weight class.  I can’t wait to see what he does in his prime.

He’s just exiting his ELC, and his performance this season will net him nothing more than a bridge contract.  He made small progress in his playoff performance by putting up an assist in the Winnipeg series, which was 1 more point than he had in his playoff debut against Chicago 2 seasons ago.  Look for that to improve with experience as well.

Chances he gets re-signed – 100%.  There’s no question in my mind.  Yamamoto is beloved by the players and Tippett.  He’s a homegrown Oiler and that’s not changing for the next 2-3 seasons at least.

Projected contract – 3 years, $3 million ($1 million per season).  This is a shade higher than what the 10% maximum would be, and Holland isn’t stupid he sees an opportunity for a cheap top 6 winger and I guarantee you he’ll take it.  This could be one of the NHL’s best bargain contracts by the last season.