If I were making the decision, Jujhar Khaira would be the seventh forward on the Edmonton Oilers 7-3-1 expansion list. Why? The easy answer is that four years of Khaira should have more value than one year of Mark Letestu, but it’s worth looking a little closer at the young forward and his possible impact on the NHL roster.
AHL POINTS-PER-GAME (FORWARD PROSPECTS)
The only worry I really have about Khaira is offense, but after a slow first season (Oilers don’t play 20-year olds much) he improved quickly and last season posted the third best number (AHL Oilers) over recent seasons. Khaira’s skill set is unique compared to both Anton Lander and Anton Slepyshev and he probably fits more easily into a bottom 6F checking role. He still needs to provide some offense and last season’s numbers suggest that is a reasonable expectation.
- Simon Boisvert: I do think he is NHL-ready. He is very confident now offensively, he reminds me of the Khaira I remember from the BCJHL. This is the year when prospects who have already spent two years in the AHL should be in the NHL—otherwise they become career AHLers. Or tweeners. He is ready for the show. He is their best forward (in Bakersfield), now the question is when will he be called up? Source
Khaira did make it to the show but spent much of his NHL time on the IR. My RE suggested he should post 29gp, 1-3-4, but the injuries kept him to 10gp, 1-0-1. I get stubborn on players, but this is an inexpensive bottom 6F for several years ahead and his original scouting report still rings true.
- Red Line Report: We believe this kid could be the biggest/best sleeper of the entire draft. Prince George is so far off the beaten path teams don’t even travel there for WHL games, much less BCHL contests, so he gets zero exposure. But this kid is big, mean, aggressive, nasty, and guess what… he can score too. Does the dirty work in the corners, bangs bodies and wins battles, and loves to initiate heavy contact. Powerful stride with great balance and gets leverage on his hits. Has surprisingly soft hands and puck skills with playmaking ability. Creates lots of space for smaller teammates and makes everyone braver. Very raw defensively.
I would protect Jujhar Khaira in the expansion draft. Mark Letestu has value for sure, but his power-play role can be replaced (perhaps by Anton Slepyshev) and his salary is high for a bottom 6F. Khaira may never score 15 goals in an NHL season, but the resume suggests there is some offense and that he can make himself useful in several game states. I understand it’s go time, but this organization badly needs young, inexpensive, complementary forwards with utility. Khaira is such a player.
Late this afternoon a couple of items from tsn dropped, the links are here.
- Frank Seravalli has the first Top 30 Trade Bait Board up and live. Jordan Eberle is featured early.
- Insider Trading has the latest rumors, mostly about the Oilers. Looks like the McDavid and Draisaitl contracts may wrap up and be announced together. Also, Jordan Eberle trade rumors. The video link is here.
More on those items tomorrow morning.