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— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 28, 2021
Blackhawks Sign Jujhar Khaira
Khaira was a third-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft for the Edmonton Oilers. After spending a few years developing in the AHL, Khaira eventually emerged as a fourth-line option for the Oilers. Through 258 NHL games, Khaira has compiled 24 goals, 63 points, and 185 penalty minutes.
Khaira entered the off-season as one of the Oilers’ several restricted free agents, but joined Dominik Kahun in being the only two to not receive a qualifying offer. There was speculation around the Oilers that the team may have considered signing him to a cheaper deal than his qualifying offer afforded, but ultimately both parties opted to go in a different direction.
Khaira’s real value lies in his ability to penalty-kill, where he has been a staple of the Oilers’ short-handed unit for years. Considering that the Oiler’s penalty-kill has ranked third in the league over the past two years combined, it is fair to say that Khaira did his job well.
When it comes to even-strength play, Khaira has mostly struggled. This past season, Khaira put up sub-40% metrics in both Corsi and Fenwick, numbers that were considerably worse relative to his teammates. His finishing totals weren’t great either, with only three goals and 11 points in 40 games.
What This Means Going Forward
Khiara will join Caleb Jones as another former Oiler to join the Blackhawks in recent days. Khaira will likely slot immediately into the Blackhawk’s bottom six, and become a feature on the penalty kill. Chicago’s penalty kill ranked 28th in the league last year, so this was clearly a need they wanted to address.
One area to monitor is Khaira’s health. Khaira suffered two scary incidents last season where he appeared concussed on the ice immediately following a hit in one situation, and a fight in the other. Khaira did finish the season with the Oilers, playing in all four games of the playoffs. Hopefully that’s an indicator that he will be good to go next season.