The Edmonton Oilers and Kailer Yamamoto have avoided arbitration.
Both sides agreed on a two-year deal that paid him an AAV of $3.1 million, the club reported Wednesday night. Yamamoto was scheduled for an arbitration hearing on Sunday.
According to PuckPediaYamamoto will earn a $2.7 million salary and a $300,000 signing bonus in the first year of the deal, while he will earn a $3.2 million salary in the second year. Upon completion, he will be an RFA with a qualifying offer of $3.2 million and will be two years away from unlimited free agency.
Drafted by the Oilers 22nd overall in the 2017 draft, Yamamoto is coming off his most prolific season in the NHL, scoring goals (20), assists (21) and points (41). While he started the year slow with just 16 points in the first 41 games of the year, things turned for him in the second half of the season.
He later scored 25 points in the last 40 games of the season and scored a further two goals and seven points in 14 playoff games. He broke onto the scene with the Oilers midway through the 2019-20 season, scoring 11 goals and 26 points in the second half of the year, but struggled in his sophomore season. In the 2020-21 season, he scored just eight goals and 21 points in 52 games.
As a whole, his playing still feels quite raw. A great forechecker who puts a lot of pressure on opposing defenders and has great success rates when stripping pucks, his defensive play still leaves a lot to be desired. After all, he is only 23 years old, so there is a lot of room for improvement in his game.
His underlying numbers are about average. At 5×5 with him on the ice, the Oilers control 50.04 percent of shots, 48.65 percent of goals scored and 48.76 percent of the expected target share.
With the signing of Yamamoto, the Oilers are in a slump to be cap compliant next season. Ryan McLeod, an RFA, is still in need of a new deal and the team is already a hair more than $6 million above the salary cap. McLeod’s deal will fall below $2 million, and even with Mike Smith and Oscar Kefbom’s combined $6,367 million for the LTIR, the Oilers will still be above the salary cap. The club also has yet to sign an RFA in Tyler Benson.
Another move is likely to come for the Oilers and the most logical players to share are Warren Foegele ($2.75 million cap hit) and Tyson Barrie ($4.5 million).
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. You can follow him on Twitter at @zjlaingor reachable by e-mail at [email protected]
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