As training camp approaches, the players have returned to the ice, and the Edmonton Oilers have reached an agreement with their last restricted free agent (RFA). Kailer Yamamoto agreed to a one-year contract extension for $1.175 million, allowing the team to retain his rights after the season.
For the flat-top Oilers, this is a good deal, because they are using the available cap space to promote the team. Yamamoto’s move is also good, because he has had a downturn in the year, he will bet that his performance will reach the level when he joined the team in a full-time role in the 2019-20 season.
At this age, it is difficult to judge the player’s trajectory, because the offseason and outbreak period can happen at any time. In the two test runs with the Oilers in the 2017-18 season, and in the 2018-19 season, Yamamoto struggled with 5 points in 26 games. He needs time to develop further. But once he did, he scored 26 points in 27 games in the return of the 2019-20 season. It was a bit difficult to find the net and contribute points last season, but the effort still exists. For the top six forwards who are very tight on the right, apart from Leon Dresettel and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, this contract will be for the Oilers Very profitable.
You don’t have to go too far to find something that is comparable to Yamamoto. His name is Jesse Puljujarvi. Being selected a year before the first round may be more stressful and have a shorter development time. Nonetheless, they both found themselves in the top six of the Oilers with the two best centers.
Both are willing to go to dirty places to retrieve the puck. They are great cheap compliments to the highly skilled players who play with them. After signing for $1.175 million, Yamamoto and Prjujarvi will sign a contract at the same price next season. Both players are satisfied with their roles and will only get better as they adapt more to the NHL level and approach the golden age of their careers.
It will be interesting to observe how everyone performs in 2021-22 and which deals they will offer at the end of the year because they are Two RFAs again.
The teammates of the 2018 World Youth Championship, Yamamoto and Mittelstadt are leading their teams, and they are full of hope for the future. Given where they were selected, it took them longer than expected to enter the NHL level. Mittelstadt ranked 8th in the 2017 draft and Yamamoto ranked 22nd. From the data point of view, for a player who performs better than his opponent, Yamamoto’s one-year contract seems to be a steal compared with Mittelstadt, the latter’s contract is very fair.
Assume that Yamamoto maintained a balance and performed well between his first two seasons. We can see a longer-term and more transaction than the money earned by Mittelstadt (3 x 2.5 million USD). The opportunity lies in his expected teammates, and he improves every night because of his game level, even though the rebound last season did not go as he wanted.
Being selected late in the 2017 draft, Batherson’s data is very similar to Yamamoto’s. Both can score and play, and they played well in the lineup. There are only 6 games between them, Batherson has 23 career goals, and Yamamoto has 20. Batherson has an advantage in scoring, but considering that he spent last season in the Senate’s first line and top power play unit. Yamamoto was only at the top line for part of the 2019-20 season, and because of Connor McDavid’s injury, the entire line had to move up.
The Ottawa Senators are a rebuilding team with a lot of cap space like the Buffalo Sabres. But unlike Sabres, Senators spend money to keep players. They signed a six-year contract worth $4.975 million with Drake Batherson. For players with less than 100 games, this is a gamble. As far as Edmonton’s salary cap is concerned, unless he exceeds 55-60 points throughout the season, I still can’t see Yamamoto’s income so high.
Even other players who showed similar abilities to Yamamoto did not sign a team-friendly contract like him. For example, Maxime Comtois renewed two more seasons at $2,037,500, and Eeli Tolvanen’s three-year contract at $1.450 million.Joel Farabee (Joel Farabee) is the youngest in this group, and he is working with Almost the same statistics As Yamamoto, this point of their career (from “Oilers’ Notes: What did Keller Yamamoto get after signing for Joel Farabi?,” Edmonton Magazine, 9/3/21).
Yamamoto will bet that after an unfortunate year of 2020-21, the results will appear again. This short-term contract allows him to show the team that he is worth signing a long-term contract and more money. He also hopes to get special team playing time to increase his value. Since his contract currently looks good for the Oilers, Yamamoto will benefit greatly.
A longtime Edmonton Oilers fan with a background in hockey analysis. For some time, I have always liked to follow and write articles about the Oilers and the NHL.