Kailer Yamamoto signs two-year deal with Edmonton Oilers. What does it mean?

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This in from the Edmonton Oilers, news that they have signed winger Kailer Yamamoto to a new two-year deal at $3.1 million per season.

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My take

1. One of the final pieces of business for Oilers GM Ken Holland is now complete. Yamamoto is now signed for two years. This means when he’s up for his next contract, he’ll still be a Restricted Free Agent. Notably, the two year commitment is one more year than Jesse Puljujarvi got, and Yamamoto also got one hundred thousand more in pay per year. In other words, the Oilers have shown him more commitment than Puljujarvi received.

2. Yamamoto earned $1,175,000 million last season, so this represents a hefty raise for the player. He earned the raise with solid play, putting up 1.64 pts per 60 at even strength, the level of scoring you’d expect from a third line winger. He was just behind Jesse Puljujarvi, 1.82 per 60, and Derek Ryan, 1.75 per 60, but ahead of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, 1.52 per 60.

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3. Some players, such as Warren Foegele and Jesse Puljujarvi, wilted during the playoffs in terms of their two-way play. Others, such as Zach Hyman, Zack Kassian and Evander Kane, stepped up. Yamamoto remained about the same in terms of his major contributions to Grade A shots for compared to his major mistakes on Grade A shots against. He was the Oil’s third most effective winger in the playoffs by this metric, compiled through intensive video review at the Cult of Hockey.

4. It’s long been reported that players like Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl like to have Yamamoto on their line. Why is this so? For one thing, Yamamoto is a smart defensive player who fills in defensively when McDavid or Draisaitl leave the defensive slot. For another, he’s been a member of the three of the most successful Oilers lines in the McDavid/Draisaitl Era, according to Natural Stat Trick data.

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He’s combined exceptionally well on lines with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (13 goals for, five against), Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (44 goals for, 23 against) and also with McDavid and Evander Kane (17 goals for, nine against) .

5. On Twitter, Jim Matheson, the Hall-of-Fame hockey writer, said of the signing: “Very fair contract for Yamamoto but absolutely Oilers have to trade somebody to get under cap ceiling with McLeod likely getting $1m to 1.5 m in new deal to come. Still feel Foegele is most likely to go. I would not trade Barrie. Too valuable to PP.”

And Oilers insider Bob Stauffer said: The EdmontonOilers avoid arbitration with Yamamoto, who is a tenacious spark plug that EDM’s best players like playing with! Strong on puck retrievals. Continue to develop his offensive game…and is part of both PP2 and PK units.”

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6. The most significant info came from PuckPedia: “After signing Yamamoto for 2 years $3.1M Cap Hit, #LetsGoOilers are $6.8M over cap with 21 players (12F/7D/2G) on the Projected Roster. With Klefbom ($4.167M) & Smith ($2.2M) to LTIR, effectively $423K over the cap.”

This new comes as the Oil still needs to sign Ryan McLeod. Clearly, a key player still has to be moved out if the Oilers are going to be under the cap. Who will it be? Jesse Puljujarvi and Warren Foegele are the top two candidates, it seems, with Tyson Barrie a distant third.

Staples on politics

Wild West politics: Danielle Smith wrestles sacred cow, Leela Aheer battles raging bull

Leela Aheer, second from left, walks with her sons and and husband Malkeet Aheer, second from right, on the boardwalk in Chestermere, east of Calgary, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. She has joined the race for the Alberta UCP leadership.
Leela Aheer, second from left, walks with her sons and and husband Malkeet Aheer, second from right, on the boardwalk in Chestermere, east of Calgary, on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. She has joined the race for the Alberta UCP leadership. Photo by Jim Wells /post media

At the Cult

McCURDY: Bouchard graduates with honors

STAPLES: Coming to grips with Tyson Barrie’s value

McCURDY: Ryan McLeod is Oilers’ new poster boy for developing from within

LEAVINS: Ken Holland’s options during the Dog Days of August

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