There’s the added cap space. On Monday morning, the Edmonton Oilers traded forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Klim Kostin to the Detroit Red Wings. The return for Edmonton was future considerations, meaning the players were moved for free. As I mentioned in the first sentence, this trade was a cap dump for the Oilers.
Yamamoto, drafted 22nd overall in 2017, was always viewed as a cap casualty heading into the offseason. After putting up 20 goals and 21 assists for 41 points last season, he struggled with injuries this season and came up shorter in production with 10 goals and 15 assists for 25 points in 58 games. Despite the down year, he showed up big in a crucial Game 6 in Round 1 this postseason, scoring the series-winning goal with just three minutes left in the third period. He’s a solid middle-six forward who likes to play bigger and peskier than his size.
Kostin, drafted 31st overall in the same draft year as Yamamoto, became a much-needed spark for the Oilers in their bottom six. He put up 11 goals and 10 assists for 21 points in 57 regular season games. He also scored some clutch goals in Round 1 this postseason. Edmonton acquired Kostin in a trade with the St. Louis Blues for prospect defenseman Dmitri Samorukov. This year, he became a fan favorite in Edmonton and was viewed as Ken Holland’s second-best trade acquisition as Oilers GM after Mattias Ekholm. He filled the team’s void of swagger after Evander Kane’s wrist injury. It’s tough to see him go, but he reportedly wanted too much money while needing a new contract, and the Oilers feel too tight against the cap to meet those demands. There has also been talk of Kostin possibly going back to the KHL. With the addition of Yamamoto, and if Kostin decides to stay in the NHL, the Red Wings continue looking like a more solid team. They will be looking to make a bigger push for the Playoffs in the hilariously stacked Atlantic Division. We wish Yamamoto and Kostin the best of luck in their post Alberta futures. With more moves still anticipated in this very young offseason, we’ll see what else Holland has in store.