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Photo Credit: NHL.COM

Mark Spector speculates roster shake-up: Yamamoto and Khaira out, Kelly and Rattie in

During today’s loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Sportsnet columnist and veteran Oilers insider Mark Spector predicted that the team is going to shake-up its roster tomorrow.

Spector suggested that the Oilers will return Kailer Yamamoto to Spokane (WHL) as his nine-game trail is up, depth forward Jujhar Khaira will go on waivers to be assigned to Bakersfield (AHL), and Chris Kelly and Ty Rattie will fill their spots. Source.

The main catalyst for this, of course, is Yamamoto. The 22nd overall pick from the 2017 draft has impressed thus far after earning a cup of coffee with a strong pre-season showing. That said, if he plays one more game, he’ll have one years of his entry-level contract burned. As we saw with Leon Draisaitl back in 2014-15, keeping him up at the NHL level and burning a year of his cheap deal isn’t prudent.

The obvious choice to replace Yamamoto seems to be Jesse Puljujarvi, but the former fourth overall pick hasn’t been lighting it up at the AHL level this season. On the broadcast, Spector said the Oilers can’t call up Puljujarvi from the AHL until he earns it with consistently strong play. He suggests that it’ll be Ty Rattie coming up instead. He has nine points through 10 games with the Condors and, despite having high draft pedigree, has never been given much of a chance to show himself at the NHL level.

The other move Spector discussed that seems a little more out of left field is waiving Khaira in favour of adding veteran pivot Chris Kelly. The Oilers brought Kelly, who has a connection with peter Chiarelli from his days in Boston and Ottawa, on a professional tryout contract back in pre-season and he’s stuck around with the team since.

Khaira has only played in six games so far this season and seems to have been passed on the depth chart by Iiro Pakarinen. Signing Kelly gives the Oilers a veteran option who can play centre, but he turns 37 years old this week and it’s hard to say how much he has left in the tank. Kelly would also be Edmonton’s 50th contract unless someone scooped Khaira on waivers, but that seems unlikely at this point.

EDIT: Once Yamamoto goes down, his contract does not count against the 50-contract limit.

What do you think? How should the Oilers handle their roster decisions moving forward?

  • gregolas

    Excellent. Rattle has earned his chance, Yam needs to go.
    Also, Lol @ Khaira fan boys. Pakarinen has produced actual numbers and has given solid consistent play, yet idiots here act like Pakarinen has nothing on Khaira , when it’s the other way around.

    Also Maybe Kelly can do something for the PK. Got to try something.

    • Big Nuggets

      But if Kaira gets claimed it will still suck to lose a big young and cheap player in favour of old balls Kelly. This season is getting out of reach so losing a player for the future is bad. Even if you are not a Kaira fanboy.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Yamamoto to Spokane is a no-brainer and Kharia being exposed to waivers for the purpose of re-assignment is fine.

    Rattie as the offensive replacement is also fine but signing Kris Kelly is a non-sensical move – is this player really going to help this team? I don’t think so, in fact, I think he’ll make them worse. He is slow and no longer effective on the PK let alone at ES.

    Malone is essentially a career AHLer, however, I’d rather seem him over Kelly – I don’t think there is anything that Kelly brings that Malone couldn’t.

  • slats-west

    Yamamoto – is the logical and smart move. He’s just not ready.

    Khairia – sad to see him go but he’s not playing with any edge and i am wondering if he still has issues from concussion.

    Kelly – he’s a smart player and we need guys with this. I would be taking out Joikenen who’s been a bust.

    Rattie – good message for young players on the farm especially Pujarvi as this should be his spot.

  • belair

    Chris Kelly is likely no more effective than Khaira is at this point. Why would we waste one of our few roster spots left on him? Trade for a winger, Chia. Leivo is right ****ing there.

  • TruthHurts98

    I watched only the first period and it was enough. This is a very poorly coached team from my perspective at the moment. The players aren’t supporting each other well or playing like they give a crap. Roster moves won’t do much, either they tank (which is a horrible option) or they get someone to get them going. I don’t think TM is a bad coach and I like him but something is off. This whole season is beyond bizarre. They shouldn’t be this bad. One good game and then 2-3 not very good ones. It’s beyond frustrating. How long before some real changes are made? Or is this just an off season or month?

  • Bringer_Of_Snow

    If you have a team that has Jokinen, Kelly and Letestu all in the lineup at the same time, you are not making the playoffs
    If you have a team where Lucic and Russel at making $10M combined or 4+ years, you aren’t sustainable.
    If you have a team where your incompetent GM managed to waste all of the greatest player of our generations entry level contract, by making no moves or additions in the offseason besides downgrading a RW for a cheaper option, you are not going to make the playoffs.

    He has no problem paying Lucic $36M, but god forbid he acquires a skilled RW, with speed to play with Connor.
    Jokinen should no longer be playing in the NHL. He is slow, not physical, can’t shoot the puck harder than a Bantam player
    Russell just lies on the ice in the defensive zone, and when he gets a puck, he just fires it off the glass. It is like he’s scared to make a breakout pass.
    The coaching is just a joke. Woodcroft and Mclellan are both clueless on handling the team. Obviously Chia hasn’t done anything to improve the team, but with a player like Connor, there is no excuse to having one of the worst GF and PP’s in the league.
    Maroon is a fan favourite, but he has been gifted the top spot position.
    Drai is getting paid like a top 10 player in this league, and I love him, but only in the absolute best case scenario, will he be atop 10 player by the 8th year of his contract. I get the idea of buying out his UFA years, but why is that 1 season prior, guys like Scheifele, MacKinnon, Barkov, and Gaudreau sign long term for around $6M after producing on teams with no support. Hell, even Taresenko is making $1M less per year, and he has been one of the most dangerous scorers for the last 4 years. If you want to compare them to the Crosby-Malkin or Toews-Kane duos, they shouldn’t be playing together. They should be running thier own lines. Its not the end of the world if Drai’s points drop by 20 if it means he is running his own line. Then thats what you pay him for. Kucherov is making $4.8M for 3 years… Why not bridge Leon. Even if he puts up terrific numbers again, GOOD. He wouldn’t deserve over $9M anyway, so no real discount taken at all.

    The fact that this was McDavids last year on his ELC, and Chia did jacksh*t in the offseason tells a lot.

    I could go on but I don’t want to sound too bitter.

    • DXB

      Tend to agree with most of your points. Don’t think Drai was a gross overpay though more a function of salary inflation and term. My biggest concern at the moment is coaching. I don’t believe TMC thinks the modern game like he needs to. This old school grind out a win, start the forth line to send a message is ridiculous. Detroit showed up with a strict team D structure and TMC made zero adjustments to it. He got out coached again. This was a must win from an emotional/momentum perspective after the NJ win, they needed to carry some momentum and confidence. They came up against a D first team and had zero answers. Throwing the lines in a blender has proven to not work and it seems thats all Todd has. Writings on the wall for me

    • Glencontrolurstik

      Is Sutter the answer?… What else is available….?
      I thought maybe Alain Vigneault, a couple of weeks ago with the Rangers woes, but they may have turned it around?
      What’s that old coach of Buffalo the last time they were good? Nolan??? He was Coach of the year nominee & got fired…? Everyone thought it was because he was first nation’s that he got overlooked, remember that? Went somewhere else & was very successful, what’s he doing now?
      McLellan has to go, can’t motivate “millennial’s”…
      Sooner, the better……

  • rivid

    The oilers are a sinking ship right now, everything they do at the moment looks terrible. Someone explain to me how they are so slow, what happened. None of these moves are going to help this team. Lack of significant moves over the summer are costing this team. If things don’t change fast oilers will be out of the playoffs by the end of the month.

  • Homer

    If Chris Kelly is the answer I don’t know what the question would be and if Yamamoto goes down who’s his replacement? What a complete disaster this season is turning into

  • chasing#6

    What about the Nurse punching Draisaitl deal? I heard that from someone I trust who has access to insider information. I think that if that does hold weight that it explains a lot of the the team chemistry. This team is playing like it’s divided and not focused.

    • OldOilerFan

      I don’t like making up rumours, I’m not in the dressing room obviously. But IMO I think there is a problem in the dressing room. Either the problem is the players aren’t buying into Mclellan or there is an issue. Last year they all talked about how great the dressing room was and positive, upbeat, had Hendricks keeping everyone loose etc. This year …..?

  • TKB2677

    I agree with Yamamoto going down. I thought he should have gone down several games ago. I think he is going to be a player but he’s not ready for the NHL and it’s pretty obvious. I think when he is on a line, he drags it down because that line is playing short handed. Not a knock on the kid, he’s just not NHL ready yet.

    Khaira is a disappointment. I thought he was decent in camp, I thought he was the logical replacement for Hendricks, I thought he figured it out but he hasn’t. He’s still a tweener and if you happen to lose a tweener on waivers so be it. He’s currently a 13th forward at best and if your teams fortunes rest on losing a 13th forward, you are screwed.

    Rattie getting called up makes sense. He’s a RW. He’s supposed to be offensive, he’s on fire right now in the minors. When guys are crushing it in the minors, you have to reward them with a call up because you have to have a carrot for those minors guys.

    Kelly I don’t see the point in signing him. The whole roster isn’t playing well. They could use some bottom 6 scoring and use some help on the PK but Kelly doesn’t score and they already have Malone signed. Why not call him up.

  • Vanoil

    So Joke-inen, and Strome haven’t worked out, so lets take another flier on Kelly … somehow I don’t think the problem is with the fourth line. Adding more fourth-liners isn’t going to solve the problems higher up the roster or on special teams. Kelly isn’t an upgrade on the PK or PP (or 4th line for that matter. Would love to have the OIL’s money to spend!!!