The Edmonton Oilers cleared up a bit of housekeeping on Sunday afternoon. The team officially extended qualifying offers to their RFAs including forwards Kailer Yamamoto, Tyler Benson, and Cooper Marody. They also sent one to goaltender Stuart Skinner.
This was a largely expected move by the team and each of these four players are expected to sign extensions with Edmonton over the summer. The most interesting of those contracts is bound to be Yamamoto’s. He has served as a top-six forward for the past season and a half but struggled to put up points in his sophomore year.
Yamamoto is probably going to see himself inked to a short-term bridge contract until he proves to be a consistent point producer. Benson, Marody, and Skinner are contenders to make the team out of camp this Fall but it would be very surprising to see them get paid anything over the million-dollar mark.
As for the RFAs that have been cut loose from the team, we will see longtime bottom-sixer Jujhar Khaira hit the market along with German forward Dominik Kahun.
Seeing Khaira leave the Oilers will be a bittersweet moment. He was such an easy guy to cheer for on and off the ice but he had a hard time putting in a consistent performance. Kahun, on the other hand, is likely one and done with the team after failing to gain the trust of Dave Tippett in a top-six role.
The QOs that were extended hold little significance to me. These were obvious moves that were expected to come in the days before free agency. I don’t think the team will have a hard time bringing these players back.
I am more interested in who the team decided NOT to qualify. While I can understand why they might not want to bring back Khaira, I don’t agree with their decision to walk away from Kahun.
Edmonton’s bottom-six struggled mightily this past season and one of their main concerns was lack of offensive production. Kahun was on a 15-goal pace over the course of a regular season and he showed a lot of promise when he was deployed consistently. He would also come in at a very low AAV which should be valued by a team like Edmonton.
I wasn’t a fan of how Tippett treated Kahun’s deployment this past season. More often than not he played inferior guys, like Shore, over him for no apparent reason other than Shore maybe helped the PK a tiny bit more. I think Kahun’s offensive value outweighs that.
I hope this is in an attempt to sign him to a deal cheaper than Kahun’s QO, but I won’t be holding my breath. In the end, I think letting him go is a small mistake, but a mistake all the same.