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Photo Credit: Tom Kostiuk

Monday Mailbag – Contract decisions for Jesse Puljujarvi, Kailer Yamamoto, and Evander Kane

Happy trade deadline, friends! As always, I’ve got a brand new Mailbag set and ready to help you get your week started and make sense of everything that’s going on with our beloved Edmonton Oilers. This week, we’re talking about the new deadline boys, contract extensions, Jay Woodcroft, and more. If you’ve got got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.

1) Calvin asks – How would you rate Ken Holland’s trade deadline day? Did he do enough?

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Jason Gregor:

There wasn’t a goalie who was a clear upgrade they could acquire (Fleury said he wasn’t coming to Edmonton, mainly for family flight accessibility reasons), and Lindholm wasn’t coming here and signing an extension. So I’m not sure which other players would have been massive upgrades who were available. If goaltending isn’t good in the playoffs, Holland will have to own that, but I don’t think he could have fixed it at the deadline.

Robin Brownlee:

It was fine for having a tight budget. Two solid players in Brassard and Kulak with salary retained.

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Baggedmilk:

I’d give him a C grade. Not great, not horrible. Goaltending is still a problem.

Mar 24, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; The Edmonton Oilers celebrate a goal by forward Derick Brassard (16) during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

2) Dallas asks – Thoughts on Brett Kulak bringing number 27 back to the ice, or Derick Brassard taking number 16 while Tyler Benson is still in the organization?

Jason Gregor:

No issue with Kulak. Mike Green wore #27 when he was acquired from Detroit. Brassard has played over 900 games. Benson isn’t on the NHL roster, and if he was he likely would have given it up for Brassard, so I don’t see an issue.

Robin Brownlee:

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No real thoughts as far as either being significant. We’re into double-digits on the number of players to wear both numbers. Some numbers used to be put aside by the equipment staff and not handed out even if they weren’t retired, but that went by the wayside years ago. It’s a stretch to think somebody like Benson has any claim to a specific number.

Baggedmilk:

I wonder if Brassard bought him a watch or something? Isn’t that a thing when vets come in and take numbers like this?

Mar 24, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Derick Brassard (16) and San Jose Sharks forward John Leonard (43) battle for position during the third period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

3) Oilers fan in Van asks – By the time the mailbag gets posted, we’ll have a couple of games for Brassard and Kulak and I’m wondering everyone’s way too early first impressions on both?

Jason Gregor:

Brassard has fit in very nicely on a line with RNH and Puljujarvi. Kulak has been fine. He adds some much-needed speed to the blueline.

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Robin Brownlee:

Brassard has more goals in two games than Benson had his entire time here. He is what the Oilers hoped Benson could become in the bottom six group of forwards. Provide some grit, score a little. I’ve liked Kulak’s ability to get around. Smooth skater. He can, and does, play second-pairing minutes without a problem. I like both of them.

Baggedmilk:

Solid first impression, I’d say. Both guys have found a way to contribute and that’s a plus in my books.

Mar 21, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Kailer Yamamoto (56) celebrates his second period goal against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena.

4) Gregg asks – There are obvious variables that come into play that I don’t expect anyone on the panel to know the answers to, but if you were Ken Holland, which two of Puljujarvi, Kane, and Yamamoto would you bring back next year if you can only have two of three?

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Jason Gregor:

Great question… let’s assume you get the right contract and term. Kane on a shorter-term deal is the best of the three players so he is one. I’d take JP second because of his size and skill. I wouldn’t sign Kane on a longer-term deal, so if that is what he wants then JP and Yamomoto would be the two I’d sign.

Robin Brownlee:

Puljujarvi and Yamamoto. Kane has a right to want to get paid in dollars and in term based on the season he’s having, especially considering his financial situation and bankruptcy. I just wouldn’t be the GM to give it to him for all the reasons discussed before he first arrived. I hope he’s turned a corner and can fly straight from now on, but I’m not going to be the GM to bet five or six years and $30 million that’s the case.

Baggedmilk:

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I bet it’ll be Yamo and JP. Kane is having a hell of a season and that’s going to be costly.

Feb 14, 2022; San Jose, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft stands behind the bench before the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

5) Allen asks – Now that we’re over 20 games into his tenure as head coach, do you think Jay Woodcroft is doing enough to merit an extension behind the bench or will the Oilers look at other candidates that may emerge in the off-season?

Jason Gregor:

I don’t think it is much of a debate. I’d sign him and Dave Manson.

Robin Brownlee:

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Of course he’s done enough. What possible reason could there be to fire up the coaching carousel yet again? Woodcroft knows the players here now and he knows those who are on the way from Bakersfield.

Baggedmilk:

Bring him back for real, for real. Let’s go.

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