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The Oilers Seem Desperate To Move Off Kailer Yamamoto

Kailer Yamamoto
It sure sounds like the Oilers are extremely desperate to move on from Kailer Yamamoto. Will Edmonton really buyout Yamamoto? (Harry How/Getty Images)

The Oilers Seem Desperate To Move Off Kailer Yamamoto

The Oilers are in a cap crunch heading into the 2023 NHL offseason (as they always seem to be). How does Edmonton continue to improve this team around Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitil? It sure sounds like the Oilers are completely desperate to move on from Kailer Yamamoto. So much so that they might just buy out his contract.

Frank Seravalli over at Daily Faceoff just dropped a column about possible buyout candidates to keep an eye on. The Oilers winger is at the top of the list.

*(All contract and buyout data courtesy of CapFriendly.com)(

“Contract: 1 more season, $3.1 million AAV”

“Buyout Structure: 2 seasons at $433,334 and $533,334”

“Scoop: Yamamoto struggled through this season with a lingering neck issue that impacted his production and consistency, suffering from a whiplash-type of hit. At just 10 goals and 25 points, the Oilers can ill afford that little impact next year – particularly on the right side – at a $3.1 million cap hit. They can use the space better this summer. The preference, of course, would be to get a team to take a flier on rehabbing Yamamoto for no cost – as they did with Jesse Puljujarvi at the trade deadline. Short of that, it makes little sense to attach an asset to move him, not when the resulting cap hit from a buyout is approximately half of league minimum pay given that Yamamoto is just a one-third buyout because he is under age 26.”

This right here is a strong example for teams to trade their first round picks when in the middle of contention. Otherwise, it may actually cause more harm than good. Yamamoto, the former Oilers first round pick in 2017, is stuck on a contract Edmonton can’t stomach given the lack of production. He’s also spent his fair share of time on LTIR.

The $3.1 million cap hit isn’t overly strenuous but every penny counts for this Oilers team. If Edmonton has to attach a major asset to get rid of Yamamoto, maybe they’re just better off buying him out. The Oilers have Dylan Holloway in the system who needs more playing time but he’s a left wing and that side of the ice really isn’t the problem. Edmonton needs to find a second line right winger who is better and more reliable than Yamamoto.

The sad part is Yamamoto actually has talent. During his age 23 season, things were starting to come together as he posted 41 points that year. Even as a former wrestler, Yamamoto is just really on the smaller side and it’s hard to overcome especially during playoff hockey.

Regardless, it sounds all but certain that Kailer Yamamoto has played his last game for the Oilers. Now it’s a matter of how Edmonton cuts bait. The Oilers have a lot of work to do including getting a new contract for rising defenseman, Evan Bouchard.

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