Oilers trade forwards Yamamoto, Kostin to Red Wings in salary-dump move

Detroit swooped in and claimed a pair of useful forwards being squeezed out by Edmonton's cap situation.

The Edmonton Oilers traded forwards Kailer Yamamoto and Klim Kostin to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for future considerations, the team announced Thursday.

Yamamoto recorded 10 goals and 25 points in 58 regular season games in 2022-23, adding one goal and four points in 12 postseason contests. He carries a $3.1-million cap hit for the upcoming campaign and will be a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer of $3.2 million next summer.

Edmonton was looking to shed salary and Yamamoto is a functional, middle-six option who has shown glimpses of elevating to a new tier offensively throughout his career. Yamamoto and Kostin were widely considered to be on the trade block leading up to the 2023 NHL Draft.

“I have not spoken to Kailer yet,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland said on June 27 via Sportsnet’s Mark Spector. “I'm still working the phones, and I’ve got to see what transpires.”

The Oilers were forced to deal a pair of fan favourites for essentially nothing as teams across the NHL try and shed salary. (Getty)
The Oilers were forced to deal a pair of fan favourites for essentially nothing as teams across the NHL try and shed salary. (Getty)

Kostin posted 11 goals and 21 points in 57 regular-season games for the Oilers, adding three tallies and five points in 12 postseason games. He’s prone to throwing ferocious hits and isn't scared to drop the gloves while providing secondary offense, and should slot into the Red Wings’ bottom-six nicely. Kostin also was tied for 30th league-wide in drawn penalties at 5-on-5 via Natural Stat Trick. He is a restricted free agent and the Red Wings are surely factoring a new contract into this trade.

Holland admitted he was concerned that Kostin could return to the KHL.

“I’m not sure what I'm doing on Kostin,” Holland said to Spector. “The reason being, being a Russian player he's had conversations with the KHL. So I’ve got to decide here over the next three or four days what we're doing.”

In essence, this deal works as a salary dump for the Oilers, who are looking for some space to tweak their roster with the immediate goal of bringing the first Stanley Cup of the Connor McDavid-Leon Draisaitl era to Edmonton. As for the Red Wings, they receive two functionally useful players for nothing while looking to get over the hump in the vaunted Metropolitan Division.