The Edmonton Oilers have taken care of their last real piece of important contract business heading into training camp. The one player who hadn’t been signed is now signed as Kailer Yamamoto has inked a one-year extension with the Oilers worth $1.175 million for the upcoming season. It’s not a big deal, but it’s the kind of deal that Yamamoto needed to sign considering he had little leverage and was coming off a not-so-productive season.
Related: New York Islanders Sign Zdeno Chara to One-Year Deal
As Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now writes: “Kailer Yamamoto bets on himself on a 1-year deal. Put up a stellar 11-15-26 in 27 GP in 2019-20. But was snake bit down the stretch with just 1 goal in his final 25 regular-season games last season. Good bet to bounce back!” That’s what this deal is all about.
Yamamoto’s down season was not good timing for the player. There was a ton of turnover in the forward ranks for the Oilers this offseason, he didn’t produce like he did at the tail end of the 2019-20 campaign and he had no arbitration rights and was an RFA. The Oilers simply waited and the player decided to go with a one-year deal to see if he could put up better numbers and do this negotiating thing all over again in the summer of 2022.
Both Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi will be set to sign new deals next summer, but both will still be RFAs when their window to extend with the team rolls around. Both make the same salary now, unfortunately for Yamamoto, he still won’t have arbitration rights at the end of the season.
Expect a Big Season from Yamamoto
Yamamoto scored just 21 points in 52 games during the shortened 2020-21 season. It was a substantial drop off from the production he had just one year earlier. While he still played a strong, aggressive game, he couldn’t get the puck to go in. But, armed with a one-year, make-or-break deal, he’ll be extremely motivated to lift those numbers as he tries to show the Oilers he’s a player they can invest in long-term.
This was likely not the deal the player wanted to sign. At the same time, it’s the deal that perhaps makes the most sense. The cap is expected to go up $1 million, he should have better numbers to discuss with the team and both sides will be more confident in knowing where he fits.
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