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Oilers Hit Snag in Kailer Yamamoto Contract Negotiations

Have the Edmonton Oilers and forward Kailer Yamamoto run into a snag when it comes to his contract negotiations?

While it shouldn’t be a terribly difficult deal to get done based on the negotiating power from the organization’s side of things, Edmonton Journal scribe Jim Matheson notes that the Edmonton Oilers and forward Kailer Yamamoto have hit a bit of a roadblock when it comes to getting a contract extension signed.

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Saying the two sides aren’t close on a deal, he writes:

They are still grinding away, like Devin Shore working the corners, on a bridge deal, either one or two years because (A) the Oilers have dimes and nickels to spend not loonies and toonies with their cap situation and (B) they are still not sure what Yamamoto really is after he didn’t take a step forward last season. Is he a second-line right-winger with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or a 3RW with Warren Foegele and Derek Ryan?

Matheson argues that the biggest sticking point are comparables that Yamamoto’s camp is using. This wouldn’t be a big deal except for the fact that the Philadelphia Flyers just signed Joel Farabee to a six-year and $30 million deal he had similar numbers to Yamamoto and also no leverage.

The big difference here is that Farabee has one more season on his entry-level deal while Yamamoto is done his. The Flyers are betting on what Farabee could become and trying to get out ahead of that contract, while the Oilers don’t know what Yamamoto will do and don’t have the cap space to gamble. In other words, the Oilers aren’t prepared to go with Yamamoto where the Flyers went with Farabee.

Joel Farabee Kailer Yamamoto NHL contract negotiation comparisons

The expectation is that a two-year bridge deal of around $2 million – $2.5 million gets done with the player but the talks are moving at a snail’s pace.

Yamamoto and Farabee: Same, But Different

Both sides know that neither Farabee nor Yamamoto are worth $5 million per season. The Flyers are banking that their player becomes a value at that rate. Matheson writes: “They see him as a 25-30-goal scorer, which may or may not be a leap of faith because he had a 16.4 shooting percentage this past season when he had 20 goals, likely unsustainable.” He adds, “They are buying two years of free-agency, while the Oilers are looking at a bridge contract for their restricted free-agent, small top six forward Yamamoto.”

This deal will get done and Yamamoto probably won’t love it. Still, that’s the way these contracts work at this stage in a player’s career. He didn’t perform well last season and that’s hurt his leverage, as does the fact he wasn’t arbitration eligible and an RFA.

If the Oilers were looking at buying some of his unprotected free agency years, that would be one thing. They aren’t so the negotiations are much different.

Next: Ranking All 32 NHL Teams Worst Contracts: 2021-22 Season (Part 2)

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