Early days, but Jujhar Khaira is looking good and in a more prominent role at this year’s training camp. He appears ready to start exhibition games as 4L, alongside center Mark Letestu and right winger Zack Kassian. That’s the Matt Hendricks role, and for Khaira, playing consistent hockey this fall may be the key to establishing an NHL career.
BRODZIAK VERSUS KHAIRA (ahl)
There’s always a danger in comparing era’s, but I like the Kyle Brodziak comp for Jujhar Khaira. Both men came to pro hockey out of the WHL and both men spent almost the entirety of their entry-level deals in the AHL. The difference in offense from era to era (269 goals for Brodziak’s team in his 22 year-old season, 199 for Khaira’s) is certainly a factor but I think we can say with some confidence that both men improved offensively during their AHL careers.
Khaira’s offense is only one element of the game he’ll be asked to play for the Oilers. Part of that fourth-line job description is work on the penalty kill. Matt Hendricks did a lot of it, Mark Letestu and Zack Kassian, too. In the AHL last season, JJ Khaira was on the ice quite a bit on the PK based on goals against. Patrick Russell (14), Josh Currie (12 PPGA), Ryan Hamilton (11), Jere Sallinen (11), Anton Lander (7) and Khaira (6) were the top six forwards in the category. He also scored a SH goal.
CONDORS FORWARDS EV ON-ICE GF-GA 2016-17
This is an important category, information made available via Eric Rodgers and his fine work. When on the ice during even-strength situations, Khaira was +5 and the second best forward on the Condors.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Jujhar Khaira is eligible for waivers and he has done everything asked of him leading up to this training camp. He scored on Saturday in scrimmage and today, too. That doesn’t mean much, but Todd McLellan has him lining up with NHL forwards and that means quite a bit. You know, Kyle Brodziak had a fantastic training camp beginning September 17, 2007 and he rode that TC all the way to an NHL career. Perhaps history repeats.