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Monday Mailbag – How will Ken Holland solve the hole at RW?

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Photo credit:Tom Kostiuk
baggedmilk
10 months ago
Happy Monday, Nation Citizens, and welcome to another fresh edition of the Mailbag to help get your week started and break down all things Edmonton Oilers. This week we’re looking at moving on from Kailer Yamamoto, VinnyDesharnais, the Heritage Classic, and a whole lot more. If you’ve got a question you’d like to ask, email it to me at baggedmilk@oilersnation.com or hit me up on Twitter at @jsbmbaggedmilk and I’ll get to you as soon as we can.
Apr 29, 2023; Los Angeles, California, USA; Edmonton Oilers right wing Kailer Yamamoto (56) celebrates his goal scored against the Los Angeles Kings with defenseman Darnell Nurse (25) during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
1) Ian asks – Kailer Yamamoto is the one that seems to be getting moved in everyone’s cap saving scenarios but is that the right move given that he just had a down year? He did have a 20-goal season the year before last so would it not make sense to give him a chance to rebound?
Jason Gregor:
He could rebound and score 20, but he might not, and if he does, will he produce in the playoffs. Edmonton will construct their team with playoff success in mind. Yamamoto has three goals in 26 games in the past two playoffs. Can he be productive in the postseason at his size is the question they will be asking themselves.
Robin Brownlee:
Can’t pay an unproductive, undersized winger $3.1 million with the cap situation being what it is. His timing is bad. Can’t wait on him right now.
Liam Horrobin:
I think it’s fair to argue that, however, there were points in the season the future of Yamamoto’s health was uncertain. It’s best to get away from that whilst you can. Additionally, the Oilers are in a position to win and they need everyone contributing at a consistent rate. If Yamamoto was playing bottom six minutes I would say sure but the Oilers need someone more reliable to play on the 2nd line with Draisaitl.
Baggedmilk:
I love Yamo’s hustle and I’m going to miss it if he does get moved, but the Oilers need more than they’ve got from him if they’re spending $3.1 million.
Dec 9, 2022; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto (56) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Minnesota Wild during the second period at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
2) Hank asks – How is Ken Holland going to solve the RW problem? He already moved Jesse Puljujarvi at the deadline and now it seems like Yamamoto could be next. How can he find scoring for the right side with money as tight as it is?
Jason Gregor:
Scoring isn’t much of an issue for Edmonton. It would be nice to find a 20-goal RW, but they’d be better off finding a defensively reliable winger first. Connor Brown would be a good option, but I don’t’ see him signing a $1m contract with bonuses. Yes, he is coming off an injury, but he also made $3.6m last year. I sense he could get a guaranteed AAV. Maybe he will sign for $1m plus bonuses, but I’d be a bit surprised.
Evan Rodrigues and Jesper Fast are other options. They could look at Corey Perry, although I don’t see him as a top-six forward now, and another cheap option who has scored 16 goals before is Vinnie Hinostroza if they are looking for a cheap AAV who could score 12-15 goals.
Robin Brownlee:
Puljujarvi wasn’t part of any answer. The Oilers will likely be light on scoring from the right side, but that doesn’t mean other forwards can’t contribute. Scoring, or lack of it from RW, hasn’t been the problem.
Liam Horrobin:
He needs to be creative. Moving Yamamoto and Foegele is the best option because then you free up around $5 million. Your left side is still strong with Klim Kostin and Dylan Holloway holding it down in the bottom six. A player I would be targeting is Travis Konecny.
Baggedmilk:
I’m also curious about how this is going to go. Fascinating situation given the general lack of available dollars to do something about the problem.
Apr 11, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Vincent Desharnais (73) passes the puck in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
3) Oilers fan in Van asks – Do you think the Oilers have Vincent Desharnais’ spot in the lineup written in ink for next year given his usage down the stretch and team friendly contract?
Jason Gregor:
I’m a big fan of Desharnais. As is often the case, people focus too much on one bad game and overlook how he played in games 2-6 vs. Vegas. He was solid. His size is a big advantage, and he’s a defensive-minded defender. He plans to spend a lot of time working on his puck skills this off-season and that should make him more valuable next year. He’s a lock for me to be in the starting lineup on RD.
Robin Brownlee:
Yes as to being in the line-up on the right side. No as to whether he’s a second or third pairing guy. He’s still making the transition to being a full-time NHL defenceman. Despite his age, he’s only played 36 regular season games in the NHL.
Liam Horrobin:
I think it’s fair to assume he will be on the team next season. A summer of knowing you’re in the NHL next season will help Vinny out a lot.
Baggedmilk:
He’ll he there. The Oilers need him to be at that dollar amount.
Edmonton Oilers 2023 Heritage Classic Jersey Mock Up by @LEBL4NC on Twitter
4) Brandon asks – The Heritage Classic logo was released last week, which makes me wonder what everyone thinks about outdoor games these days? When the Oilers and Habs first played at Commonwealth in ’03, the idea of playing outside was special but now it seems like these happen all the time.
Jason Gregor:
It is still awesome for me. It doesn’t happen in Edmonton all the time, or most cities. Many fans who go this year will be experiencing it for the first time. I love them for the home fans and hope every fanbase gets a chance to host an outdoor game.
Robin Brownlee:
There’s been 36 outdoor games since the first one here in November of  2003, so it’s not the spectacle it once was. If fans like it and attend, it’s fine by me. The novelty wore off long ago.
Liam Horrobin:
Agreed, the “special” part does seem to be fading away. However, I do think it’s a cooler event when your team actually plays in one. This will be the 1st NHL event hosted by Edmonton in the Connor McDavid era, which should mean something. Also, a lot of the stuff that makes it special comes off the ice for the fans, so I am excited to see what Edmonton can do.
Baggedmilk:
I generally don’t care about these things unless the Oilers are in them. I was lucky enough to be at the Heritage Classic in Winnipeg and you can be damned sure that I’ll be at Commonwealth in October.
Dec 27, 2022; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers right wing Jesse Puljujarvi (13) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
5) Clay asks – Jesse Puljujarvi only picked up three points in the 24 games (playoffs and regular season) he played in Carolina which makes a qualifying offer at $3 million seem unlikely. What’s your best bet on where he ends up and for how much?
Jason Gregor:
He isn’t getting qualified. He wasn’t going to be before he was traded. I don’t see him getting more than $1m from any team. Where he signs is a good question. If I was him, I’d sign with a  non-competitive team where I’d have more chance to play. I’d call Chicago first if I was him. It isn’t out of the question to suggest he signs in Finland.
Robin Brownlee:
Unlikely? There’s zero chance, none, he gets qualified at $3 million. I think he’ll play back home next season, likely with Karpat. Good luck to him.
Liam Horrobin:
Is it unfair to say he goes back to Finland next season? If not then 900k with the Arizona Coyotes.
Baggedmilk:
Nah, it’s not happening. I do like Gregor’s idea of hitting up Chicago, though, because they need NHL players.

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