The Edmonton Oilers and Kailer Yamamoto have avoided arbitration.
Both sides came to an agreement on a two-year deal paying him an AAV of $3.1-millon, the club reported Wednesday night. Yamamoto was scheduled for an arbitration hearing Sunday.
According to PuckPedia, Yamamoto will earn a $2.7-million salary and $300,000 signing bonus in year one of the deal while in year two, he will earn a $3.2-milion salary. On expiry, he will be an RFA carrying a $3.2-million qualifying offer and will be two years from unrestricted free agency.
Drafted by the Oilers 22nd overall in the 2017 draft, Yamamoto is coming off his most productive season in the NHL notching career highs in goals (20), assists (21) and points (41). While he started the year slow scoring just 16 points in the first 41 games of the year, things turned around for him in the back half of the season.
Down the stretch, he scored 25 points in the final 40 games of the season, and chipped in another two goals and seven points in 14 playoff games. He broke onto the scene with the Oilers mid-way through the 2019-20 season coming in and scoring 11 goals and 26 points down the back half of the year, but struggled in his sophmore season. In the 2020-21 campaign, he scored just eight goals and 21 points in 52 games.
As a whole, his game still feels fairly raw. A great forechecker who applies tons of pressure on opposing defencemen and has great success rates at stripping pucks, his defensive game still leaves a lot to be desired. He is, after all, still just 23 years old so there’s lots 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 the shot attempts, 48.65 percent of the goals scored and 48.76 percent of the expected goal share.
With the Yamamoto signing official, the Oilers find themselves in a crunch to be cap compliant for next season. Ryan McLeod, an RFA, still needs a new deal and the team is already a hair over $6-million over the salary cap. McLeod’s deal will fall below $2-million, and with even with Mike Smith and Oscar Klefbom’s combined $6.367-million destined for the LTIR, the Oilers will still be over the salary cap. The club also needs to sign another RFA in Tyler Benson.
Another move is likely to come for the Oilers and the most logical players that could be dealt are Warren Foegele ($2.75-million cap hit) and Tyson Barrie ($4.5-million).
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