Oilers trade Klim Kostin and Yamo

Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring the game winning goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Edmonton Oilers forward Klim Kostin (21) celebrates scoring the game winning goal. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 3

Just before the start of free agency GM Ken Holland and the Edmotnon Oilers made a trade with Detroit, sending Klim Kostin and Kailer Yamamoto off to Detroit in exchange for……future considerations, which is basically NHL code for nothing.

Let’s go through the two exports that went to Detroit:

Kailer Yamamoto

It always amazes me how short the memories of Oilers fans, bloggers, and paid media types are. Everyone was crapping on Yamo for his performance last season but conveniently seem to forget that he went through two major injuries which not only kept him out of the lineup for long stretches of time but also created two periods of recovery time, which is always necessary after injuries and can only be achieved by playing NHL games.

Did everyone forget this is the exact same player who scored 20 goals just two seasons ago? Why does everyone conveniently forget his injuries? Don’t you think that would’ve played a role in his performance last season?

Stop being a bunch of tools and use your brains, Oilersnation.

It’s also worth noting that Yamo hasn’t even hit his prime producing years (PPY) yet, but he’s right on the cusp of it – he’s turning 25 in September which is right when it usually kicks in.

By making this trade we’re at risk of seeing whether we’ve repeated the colossal mistake of Miroslav Satan.

Remember Miroslav Satan? This was a player the Oilers drafted in 1993 and was on track to become one of the best fifth-round picks of all time that the Oilers made, but GM of the day Glen Sather made the boneheaded mistake of giving up way too soon on the player and traded him to Buffalo in exchange for two prospects who would go on to play a mere 40 NHL games combined and would be out of the NHL in short order.

And what becomes of Satan, you ask? Well, he played seven full seasons in Buffalo along with the time after the trade deadline in the 1996-97 season.

During those seven full seasons, Satan put up seven seasons of 20 goals, two seasons of 30 goals, and one season of 40 goals.

The Sabres traded him to the Islanders where he put up another season each of 20 and 30 goals before bouncing around to Pittsburgh (where he won a cup in 2009) and Boston before finishing up his career in Russia and his native Slovakia.

Could the Oilers have used him in the 90s? You better believe it. Imagine if they had Satan to go along with the firepower of Ryan Smyth, Bill Guerin, and Doug Weight in the top six…..that would’ve been legendary, or at the very least the Oilers could’ve traded Satan for a return that wasn’t so lopsided in the other team’s favour.

Worst Oilers Trade Ever?

In my books, this was hands down Glen Sather’s worst trade as Oilers GM – yes, even worse than the Gretzky trade.

Satan went on to play 1050 NHL games, scoring 363 goals and 735 points, a very solid career, but he only played a mere 126 of those games for the Oilers – it should’ve been a lot more.

Is Yamo the same guy? Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a good illustration of what happens when you give up on a player too soon.

If Holland was looking to save cap space he should’ve traded away Warren Foegele or Brett Kulak. Both would’ve saved the Oilers almost as much cap space and Foegele would be much easier to replace at a lower cap hit while Kulak’s replacement at third pairing left D is arguably already on the roster in Philip Broberg.

Yamo may have spent most of last season in the bottom six but there’s no doubt in my mind that when healthy he’s a legitimate top-six forward, and the Oilers threw him away for literally nothing.

Klim Kostin

Holland’s first choice was to re-sign this player but the agent was putting enormous pressure on him to sign him for between $1.75-2 million and was digging his heels, as the Oilers rightly would’ve rather signed Kostin for $1-1.5 million at the absolute most. I mean, putting that much cap space on a player in your bottom six is just not a good use of cap space – especially when you’re a cap team already and you need to save money wherever you can at the bottom of the roster. It also didn’t help that Kostin and his agent were talking to teams in the KHL as well who were willing to pay Kostin what he wanted, which is why they dug in their heels so much.

I know Kostin is from Russia, but for the life of me, I don’t know why he’d want to go back there now. Russia’s war with Ukraine has thrown the country into chaos – they’re cut off from the global financial system due to economic sanctions, there’s mass unemployment, rumours of a renegade general currently making his way to Moscow to overthrow Putin, and the Russian people are growing angrier with Vladimir Putin every day for a war they see as unnecessary. Even Putin’s closest supporters have either fled the country or cut off financial support for him.

Here in Edmonton – or anywhere in North America, for that matter – he’s safe from all of that. If he was going to go back to Russia it would be safer to bide his time here and then go back to Russia when the political temperature has been turned back down to normal.

But then Holland’s former mentor Steve Yzerman came to his rescue. He was very interested in Kostin as he sees him as a top-six forward – which I personally don’t know where he’s getting that from. He can do well enough defensively in the top six but scored the bulk of last season’s offence in the bottom six against easier competition – and bolstered by a gaudy 19.6% shooting % that he is unlikely to replicate, especially since Detroit’s top-six forward group is vastly inferior to Edmonton’s at this point.

But Yzerman sees him that way, for whatever reason only he knows. It’s a risk that’s unlikely to yield the reward he’s looking for, but good on him I guess.

Not soon after the transaction Yzerman inked Kostin to a two-year, $4 million deal ($2 million per).

Yamo Re-signs

Yamamoto has since signed a deal with the Seattle Kraken. Yamamoto is from Spokane which is also located in Washington State. This signing will make his home team a lot closer to where he grew up.