This weekend continues to be a slow one for the hockey news cycle. With less than two weeks until the start of preseason, teams and players remain in limbo alike on remaining negotiations. One of the more prominent restricted free agents remaining is Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto, who needs a new deal after scoring eight goals and 21 points in 52 games last season. It’s a step back in production after he broke onto the scene in 2019-20, scoring 26 points in just 27 games. But as names like Joel Farabee and Drake Batherson, both decent comparables to Yamamoto, have signed larger, longer-term contracts recently, The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson surmises that this likely won’t be the case for Yamamoto. As the addition of Zach Hyman and Warren Foegele into the picture puts Yamamoto’s top-six role in a small amount of jeopardy, combined with a tight salary cap picture for the Oilers, Matheson suggests Tyson Jost’s two-year, $2MM cap hit deal as a closer comparable for the former first-round pick. As of now, that deal would still push Edmonton over the maximum $4.17MM that they’ll be able to exceed the cap by due to Oscar Klefbom being placed on long-term injured reserve. Edmonton is listed as having a full 23-man roster on CapFriendly, though, and could send players like William Lagesson and Brendan Perlini to the minors to become cap-compliant.
Elsewhere from around the Western Conference:
- PHNX Sports’ Craig Morgan writes that unsigned free agent defenseman Jason Demers is still skating in Arizona, hoping to land an NHL role for the upcoming season. While Demers was never known for his offensive production, he scored only four assists in 41 games this year and saw his ice time dip below 20 minutes a night for the first time since 2016-17. His defensive game struggled this season as the 32-year-old defender combatted injury but still remains an effective third-pairing option. Morgan also notes that once Demers is done in the NHL, he plans to make a stop in the Swiss National League, noting it’s always had an appeal to him.
- The Athletic’s Peter Baugh reports that Avalanche prospect Oskar Olausson has confirmed his intention to join the OHL’s Barrie Colts this season. Attending Avalanche development camp at the moment, Olausson signed his entry-level contract at the end of August. While he was a first-round pick this last season (28th overall), it was unlikely that he’d make the team out of training camp, and now confirms that he won’t return to Europe, reaffirming the news from late August that he’d joined Barrie.