When the Edmonton Oilers made the decision to draft Jujhar Khaira in the third round of the 2012 NHL draft, I thought that he would be a guy that could be an impact player for this team. As time has passed Khaira’s development has gone well despite not scoring a whole bunch of point. However, with this 6’3, 215 lb frame I don’t know how much the Oilers expect him to contribute on the scoreboard.
What has Khaira done well? Well for one, he has posted a solid 52% CF through three games including a 59% CF in his debut against the Penguins. At 8.7 TOI/Gm, he is starting almost 20% more of his shifts in the defensive zone which is a good sign to go alongside his CF%.
— zach laing (@Loweded) November 28, 2015
Through three games, he also has four shots on goal, five hits, two blocked shots and most importantly – he hasn’t been a liability on the ice. The real knock against his game is his lack of point production. In 73 regular season AHL games, he has only scored 17 points but managed to pot four points in the OKC Barons eight playoff games last year. This is something he will need to work on. The sample size is small, and I understand that. It’s difficult to go crazy over a guy through three games, but what he has begun to show is an ability to play the bottom six role in the NHL. His size, speed and ability to play the body all bode well and fill needs on this team. This Oilers team needs to get bigger, and JJ Khaira could easily see his time extended in Edmonton if his play continues this way.
“This year I’m more comfortable playing against this calibre of players. I’ve come in with more confidence and playing my game, and every game I want to get stronger and stronger and prove myself to the coaches and the organization.” – Jujhar Khaira, Oct. 4.
Khaira fits into the plan long term, and is a type of player that I would imagine Peter Chiarelli is a fan of given his tendencies to play a hard game. Could he stay up for the rest of the year? Potentially. I would hope that if he continues his play at this level, the Oilers will elect to send press-box seat warmer Luke Gazdic to the Condors instead.
What do you think? Would you like to see Khaira stick around? Reply in the comments below!