Kailer Yamamoto and the Edmonton Oilers agreed to a contract today. The winger signed a two-year contract worth $6.2 million or an average cap hit of $3.1 million per year. This deal helps the two sides avoid an arbitration hearing.
The #Oilers have signed Kailer Yamamoto to a two-year contract extension with an AAV of $3.1 million. The right-winger set new career highs in games played (81), goals (20), assists (21) & points (41) last season.@kailer_yamamoto | #LetsGoOilers pic.twitter.com/qNakfpNtIH
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) August 4, 2022
Kailer Yamamoto Signs New Contract
Coming off a one-year “Show Me” deal signed last September, Yamamoto has more than proven his worth. The caution had some justification, as he couldn’t improve on a solid 2019-20, slipping well off his near point-per-game pace for 2020-21. His eight goals and 21 points in 52 games* then was a hard stumble, given his time with either Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl.
Expectations have been high for him since his first-round selection in 2017, and despite the downturn, he was worth the $1.175 million chance. It didn’t seem like it at first, though. Unlike his team, Yamamoto had a difficult start to the 2021-22 season. Zero points in October while Edmonton went 6-1-0 gets questions thrown your way. He recovered somewhat for the rest of the year – including through two brutal losing streaks in December and January – but really got it rolling late. His 10 goals and 22 points in the last 29 games put him on the side of good again.
By the end of the regular season, Yamamoto dragged himself up to 20 goals and 41 points in 81 games. That .5 points per game average continued into the playoffs, with 2 goals and 7 points in 14 games. His season ended on a down note, missing the Oilers’ last two playoff games from injury.
What This Means
While half a point a game isn’t ideal for a top-six winger, 20 goals are. It’s worth remembering he’s all of 23 years old. Edmonton needs creative players to work with their two superstars, and Yamamoto has creativity in spades. Fans will look to his great finish as their hope for the future. It’s not like he hasn’t proven himself already, with that huge 2019-20 season. On the flip side, skeptics will note that most of his season was spent wondering how he scored so little, given who he was skating beside.
Which case ends up being the reality? The Oilers – and Kailer Yamamoto – have bought themselves a bit more time to find out.
*All numbers from CapFriendly, as if we even need to say it at this point.