Oilers GM Ken Holland spoke with the media today to discuss the upcoming offseason; the full transcript is available on their team website. Among the topics that he addressed were his upcoming free agents where he indicated that he is unlikely to be tendering qualifying offers to forwards Dominik Kahun and Jujhar Khaira.
Kahun came to Edmonton back in the fall after being somewhat of a surprising non-tender by Buffalo considering he had two seasons of more than 30 points under his belt. Instead, they opted to avoid the risk of an arbitration award that was too high for their liking. The Oilers added the 26-year-old for just under a million dollars with the hopes that he’d rediscover some chemistry with countryman Leon Draisaitl but that didn’t happen. Instead, he wasn’t able to hold down a spot in the top six for an extended period of time and wound up notching just 15 points in 48 games. His qualifying offer checks in at an even million dollars but his previous production could be used in arbitration which would push the award higher than what Edmonton wanted to pay.
As for Khaira, he has been a regular in their lineup for most of the last four seasons, giving them some physicality and penalty killing from the fourth line. However, the 26-year-old hasn’t been able to do much offensively, scoring just 24 goals in 258 career games with the Oilers. With spending on role players expected to drop again this summer in an effort to cut costs, his $1.3MM qualifying offer with arbitration rights was clearly too much for them to commit to.
Having said that, it’s quite possible that Edmonton looks into trying to bring them back at lower rates that better fit their salary structure for next season though at this point, both players will likely want to see what’s out there on the open market. They won’t have to wait too long to get there with free agency opening up on Wednesday.