The Chicago Blackhawks have added some size and toughness to the bottom-six, signing Jujhar Khaira to a two-year contract. Khaira was recently let go by the Edmonton Oilers when they decided not to issue him a qualifying offer, but will land a $925K AAV in Chicago, according to Chris Johnston of Sportsnet.
Khaira was one of the most recognizable names not to receive a QO this season and the Blackhawks leapt at the chance to add the physical young forward to their lineup. However, expectations should be tempered for the big winger. Although Khaira flashed some scoring ability earlier in his career that hinted at power forward potential, his ice time has remained steady over the past four years in Edmonton but his production has decreased and his hits have increased. Khaira has settled into a grinder role rather than focusing on the skill development needed to keep contending for an offensive role.
That is not to say that Khaira isn’t good at what he does. The 6’4″, 212-pound forward checks hard and often and is a difficult match-up for opponents. He was particularly aggressive this past season, logging a career-high 151 hits despite only playing in 40 games. That’s nearly four hits per game and a full season pace over over 300 hits. Those are menacing numbers and make Khairia a rare and valuable asset, even without the offensive upside.