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Edmonton Oilers

Kailer Yamamoto Signs 1-Yr Deal w/ Kraken, Won’t Return to Oilers

Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland was open to the idea of bringing back Kailer Yamamoto before he signed with the Seattle Kraken.

** Update: Kailer Yamamoto has signed with the Seattle Kraken. A one-year deal worth $1.5 million. He is the first Washington-born (Spokane) player to sign with the team in franchise history. He spent four seasons with the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL before entering the NHL.

Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland has expressed openness to the idea of bringing back forward Kailer Yamamoto on a cost-effective one-year contract. Following Yamamoto’s trade to the Detroit Red Wings, which allowed the Oilers to free up $3.1 million in salary cap space, Holland addressed the possibility of a Yamamoto return during a media conference on Day 1 of NHL Free Agency. While noting that Yamamoto’s agent, J.P Barry, is assisting the winger in exploring his options, Holland confirmed that he has had discussions with Barry regarding the player’s situation.

Holland stated that he is comfortable with Yamamoto exploring other offers and if he secures a higher deal than what the Oilers can afford, they would not be in a position to match it, particularly considering the impending contracts for restricted free agents Evan Bouchard and Ryan McLeod. However, if Yamamoto does not find a suitable offer and the prospect of returning to a familiar team is more appealing than accepting a low-cost deal elsewhere, Holland is open to bringing the forward back into the fold.

During the NHL Draft, Holland openly expressed his reluctance to trade Yamamoto, indicating that if the salary cap had not been affected by the pandemic, he would have retained the player. Yamamoto was initially signed when the salary cap was expected to increase significantly, but due to the pandemic, the cap has only risen by a total of $2 million over the past five years. This limited financial flexibility has compelled the Oilers to make difficult decisions.

Kailer Yamamoto Red Wings buyout
Kailer Yamamoto Red Wings buyout

As the offseason progresses, it remains to be seen whether Yamamoto will find a more lucrative offer or if he will consider a return to the Oilers on a team-friendly deal. The Oilers’ willingness to bring Yamamoto back demonstrates their appreciation for his abilities, while financial considerations and the salary cap will ultimately play a significant role in determining his future with the team.

Edmonton has to be extremely financially aware, but if they can bring back a player who was $3.1 million on their salary cap for around $1 million as a bottom-six option, they’re open to it. And, the fact that it’s not viewed as salary cap circumvention by the NHL only makes it more appealing an option if Yamamoto wants to stay in Edmonton and give it one more run.

Next: Ryan O’Reilly’s Exit Raises Locker Room Concerns for Maple Leafs

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