Still without contracts, Edmonton Oilers’ Puljujarvi and Yamamoto file for salary arbitration

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Still without contracts for the upcoming hockey season, Edmonton Oilers wingers Jesse Puljujarvi and Kailer Yamamoto were among a number of players to file for salary arbitration over the weekend.

Vancouver Canucks goalie Thatcher Demko (35) makes a save as Edmonton Oilers’ Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (93), Jesse Puljujarvi (13), of Sweden, Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Vancouver’s Tyler Myers (57) watch during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Saturday, March 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The Oilers re-signed Evander Kane and Brett Kulak and brought in goaltender Jack Campbell via free agency last week, but the club still has decisions to make on several of its free agents, including Puljujarvi, Yamamoto, Ryan McLeod and Tyler Benson.

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Puljujarvi, whom the Oilers selected fourth overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, had his best offensive season in 2021-22, scoring 14 goals and contributing 22 assists in 65 games. The 24-year-old got off to a fast start last season but struggled to produce at times in the second half — including in the playoffs — after sustaining injuries and spending time in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.

Yamamoto, 23, also put up the best offensive numbers of his career in 2021-22. The small but feisty winger scored 20 goals and added 21 assists in 81 regular-season games.

On its website, the National Hockey League Players’ Association said the pair are among 24 players who have elected to pursue salary arbitration.

READ MORE: Edmonton Oilers sign forward Mattias Janmark to 1-year contract

The move does not prohibit the players and their agents from negotiating a new contract with their NHL club, but allows for a hearing with a third-party arbitrator to be scheduled in the event the teams and their players can’t agree to terms on a contract. Following a hearing, the arbitrator rules what the player’s salary should be.

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NHL salary arbitration hearings this offseason are to be held between July 27 and Aug. 11.

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