#14 - Jujhar Khaira

Jujhar Khaira at the draft - Bruce Bennett

Have the Oilers finally found their Milan Lucic or is Khaira the second coming of JFJ?

I was the only panellist to rate Jujhar Khaira in the top 10 his next highest ranking came from Michael who had him at 12 but all of the panellist still had him inside their top 20. This is also the first time since his 25U25 of his draft year in 2012 that the panellists have been so far apart on Khaira's rankings.

Rank Player DOB Drafted Alan Ben Bruce DB Derek Jon Michael Ryan Scott Zsolt
14 Jujhar Khaira 08/13/1994 63 - 2012 15 17 14 13 17 15 12 13 18 9

Previous Rank: 12

Khaira's NHLe has tailed off this season and his production in the WHL is looking very similar to his draft year. Jonathan Willis wrote about Khaira's drop in production earlier this month over at the Cult of Hockey take a look because he goes more in depth on Khaira's struggles this season.

The 2012-13 season looked promising for Khaira, producing in a second/third line role (the numbers suggest third line but I've seen his name tied to the second line so I'm not 100% sure). By the numbers alone he appeared to be the kind of player the Oilers were looking for, a big skilled winger with some growl to his game, but since his move to the WHL Khaira has struggled to produce offensively. His boxcar numbers this season are 14-19-33 in 46GP good enough to be tied for 4th in scoring on the Silvertips. I'll admit that the only WHL I watch is when the Oil Kings are on Shaw or Sportsnet therefore I know even less (pretty much nothing) about the Silvertips but I'm not sure how much of Khaira's struggles are really his. Just looking at the team's skater stats their top point getter, Joshua Winquist, has almost as many points as the next two skaters combined. So maybe Khaira's production isn't all on him but there is obviously room for improvement.

Khaira is the very much a bang or bust prospect, drafted in the third round the Oilers 63rd overall which is 5 spots higher than second round bust J.F. Jacques (68 overall?), but it would seem that the Oilers have already committed to him. The reality with Khaira is that he is a big winger, the Oilers site has him listed at 6'3" and 210lbs, and for a team in need of big wingers Khaira is definitely a viable option. His size and the lure of possible point production is why the Oilers signed Khaira to a three year entry level contract. This is also the reason that I ranked Khaira so high, out of all of the forward prospects below him in the 25U25 he, and maybe Tyler Pitlick, have a real chance of cracking the NHL and playing a significant number of games.

Hopefully the Oilers realize that Khaira is still a few years away from getting his first sniff of NHL action but with left wingers like Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones (ya I know he's really a right winger but has been used interchangeably) and Luke Gazdic moving on in the next year or two or three, Khaira may get a look before that. Also a guy like Matt Hendricks will most likely be moved to the fourth line as he ages and that will probably open the door for Khaira to make his jump to the NHL.

Like I said Khaira is a bang or bust prospect, he could be the power forward that can play second line minutes like Milan Lucic or he could be the next Jean-Francois Jacques. Only time will tell and god knows as Oilers fans we have tonnes of time to spare.

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