Welcome to another edition of the Oilers Sunday Census where we ask the fans for their opinion on all things Edmonton Oilers.
Earlier this week, Frank Seravalli placed Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto at the top of his buyout candidates list. After a difficult season plagued by injuries, notably some lingering issues from an injury the previous playoffs, he did not perform up to expectations. Though he only had 10 goals and 25 points all season, he did play just 58 games. Over a full 82-game season, that would be about 35 points. Reasonable for a player in his role, but not quite what is needed of him from the team.
With a few options of what to do with Yamamoto this offseason, we took to Twitter to ask the fans what they would like to see!
Want to take part in Sunday Census polls? We send them out every week on our Twitter at @oilrigEDM. Follow along or send in ideas for the next poll!
A Yamamoto trade is the clear preferred choice
With an overwhelming 88.9% of votes, the participants in this poll have made it clear that the path the team should take is to trade Yamamoto. In terms of asset management, this is the option that makes the most sense, if he is not on the Oilers’ roster next season.
If he is traded, the team can get something in return for him. And since Yamamoto does have value as a player, this cannot be approached as a cap dump situation as he will be able to fetch a return.
Plenty of teams would be more than happy to receive a gritty, aggressive, third-line forward who is tenacious on the forecheck and backcheck, knows how to be a net-front presence, can be relied on to kill penalties, and when he is healthy, can contribute offensively. In his breakout season, he put up 26 points in 27 games. And in 2021-22, he had 41 points.
He is a valuable player, but the Oilers will need to make use of his cap hit in different ways, such as on Evan Bouchard’s next contract, which could be on the higher side given his recent development. A trade is the best way to maximize what can be saved on his cap hit while still getting something, such as a pick or a prospect, in return.
Is Yamamoto good enough to be kept?
Even though just 6.5% of the voters chose to keep Yamamoto, this path forward finished second in this week’s poll.
Yamamoto has created a place for himself on this team. All reports indicate that he is well-liked by his teammates and they quite enjoy having him on their line. It is always hard to part ways with players like him once they’ve established themselves in the roster.
Not to mention, generally speaking, the value for the dollar that Yamamoto provides for the lineup is good. All of the things he can provide for the lineup for a $3.1M cap hit. Not the biggest bargain, as others on similar deals have been providing more for their value, but certainly not a bad contract.
If they choose to keep Yamamoto, it would inevitably spell the end of someone else’s tenure with the Oilers. But the appeal of keeping a player drafted by the team who can contribute in many ways is definitely there and despite his struggles last season, most fans would be happy to keep him around.
Is it time to buy-out Yamamoto?
Just 4.6% of fans think it is time to use a buy-out on Yamamoto. This is the least popular option in the poll and also might be the worst path for the organization to take. Even though his buyout would be incredibly cheap and save the team approximately $2.6M next season and cost them just over $500k the following year, it is rarely wise to let players go for nothing, especially when they do have value.
However, if the team is unable to find a trade partner and needs to free up some cap space, it may be the final option to take.
What would you choose to do with Yamamoto this offseason? Drop a comment down below or let us know on Twitter!
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire