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The Detroit Red Wings are buying out Kailer Yamamoto. Should the Edmonton Oilers re-sign him?

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Photo credit:edmontonoilers.com
Zach Laing
8 months ago
Hockey’s worst-kept secret since seasons end — at least in Edmonton — was that Kailer Yamamoto’s contract was just too rich for the Oilers’ blood.
Talk began after the team was eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs there were likely to be cap casualties and Yamamoto’s $3.1-million owed for next season turn out to be exactly that. On Thursday, it became a reality when Ken Holland sent him and Klim Kostin to the Detroit Red Wings for future considerations.
Word started to trickle out not long after the deal the Red Wings, who have money to spare, were really after the services of Kostin in the deal and that Yamamoto was a buyout candidate. That, too, became reality as the Red Wings placed Yamamoto on unconditional waivers for the purpose of being bought out this morning.
It’s not like Yamamoto’s a bad player, per se, but the fact of the matter was that he was a player making just too much for where the Oilers were at heading into next season. It begs the question: should the Edmonton Oilers try and re-sign him?
It had seemed all along the Oilers might have needed to attach assets to Yamamoto in the first place, which turned out to be true in the end. It signals other teams around the league didn’t view Yamamoto as a positive asset at the salary hit he was at. At $1-million, or $1.5-millon — that’s a different story even so with the Oilers.
His biggest issue last year, beyond the fact concussions and a lingering neck problem made life difficult and forced him out of 25-odd games. He managed to score 10 goals and 25 points, a decent clip, but the points came in bunches and often, he disappeared from games. At $3.1-million, that just wasn’t acceptable for the top-six role he was in.
At that $1-million, or maybe $1.5-million mark, it’s an entirely different story should it happen again next season. If the Oilers were smart, they would, at the very least, reach out to Yamamoto’s camp and gauge his interest in rejoining the team who drafted him 22nd overall in the 2017 draft.
He can still be a valuable contributor on the ice, and the contingent of those who liked him stretches from within the Oilers room, to fans in the stands.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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