Depth scoring was a big issue for the Oilers last season and was one of the main reasons why they failed to get past the Chicago Blackhawks in the qualifying round. Ken Holland has done an excellent job addressing that issue this offseason. The signing of Dominik Kahun was another really good signing that will go a long way in helping the Oilers score more goals.

Kyle Turris, Jesse Puljujarvi, Tyler Ennis, and Kahun will all help the Oilers bottom six score more goals than they did last season. Even if a few of those players end up in the top six, they’ll push the likes of Zack Kassian and James Neal further down the lineup, which will help.

As for Kahun, I think he’ll get a long look on Leon Draisaitl’s line, as he should. I don’t think it’s a guarantee that the two of them click right away, or at all, in the NHL but anytime you have two players who could have the sort of natural chemistry that Kahun and Draisaitl might, you need to give them an honest chance to play together. This isn’t a duo you run together for two preseason games and then break up because they didn’t score. They deserve a good, honest look.

At the same time, it would be foolish to assume that just because Kahun has a relationship with Draisaitl, he’s going to slide into the Oilers top-six and score 25 goals next season. I think it would be wise for Oilers fans to temper their expectations.

Kahun is 25-years-old and has just 138 NHL games under his belt. He’s a bit of a late bloomer. But his short time in the NHL has been fairly successful. He’s averaged around 15 goals and 25 assists per 82 games, which is good. Almost all of his production has come at even strength as well, which should be music to the ears of Dave Tippett. The Oilers need more forwards who can consistently produce at 5v5 and Kahun can do that.

Last season, he had 29 even-strength points. The Oilers only four forwards produce more even-strength points than that (Yamamoto would have if he played a full season).

From looking at his career numbers and reading up on him a bit, it seems as though he’s more of a passer than a shooter. 

While I can see why it would be appealing to have a pure shooter on Draisaitl’s wing, I don’t it’s a requirement when looking for a good linemate to put with the reigning Hart Trophy winner. Just look at the trio of Nugent-Hopkins, Draisaitl, and Yamamoto. Draisaitl was definitely the goal scorer on the line and I think that will still be the case if Tippett starts Kahun on a line with Draisaitl and Yamamoto.

Even if Kahun doesn’t play with Draisaitl for the majority of the season, I still think this signing can be a massive success. Over the last two seasons, he’s spent a good amount of time playing with both third-line centres and star players. He’s been productive in both roles.

Last season, he spent over 300 even-strength minutes with Jared McCann. While on the ice together, they had a GF% of 65.52% and SF% of 54.58%. Kahun had a goals/60 of 1.36 and a points/60 of 2.92. He had very good numbers while playing with a centre that is far from an offensive dynamo.

Back in 2018/19, he spent most of his time in the Blackhawks top-six and played over 400 minutes with Jonathan Toews. When on the ice together, they had a GF% of 56.41% and a SF% of 52.28%. Kahun had a goals/60 0.73 and a points/60 of 1.6. Those numbers weren’t as good as the ones he had in Pittsburgh, but they’re still solid considering he faced a lot of elite competition. (numbers via Natural StatTrick)

He’s a good player and he’s a versatile player. If the Oilers play him in the top six, I think they’ll be very pleased with what he gives them. If the top-six doesn’t work out, or if someone like Tyler Ennis grabs a spot next to either Draisaitl or McDavid and runs with it, and Kahun plays in the bottom-six, I still think he’ll be very valuable to this team.

He doesn’t need to score 25 goals and be a staple in the top-six for this contract to be considered a success. Even if Kahun doesn’t score 20 goals this year, I don’t think Oilers fans should be calling this a bad signing or saying that Kahun didn’t live up to expectations. Honestly, with a cap hit that’s south of $1 million, as long as Kahun is a regular in the Oilers lineup, then this signing is a success.

Kahun’s NHL Career So Far

NHL Totals 138 25 43 68 14
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM +/- PGP G A Pts PIM
2018-19 Chicago Blackhawks NHL 82 13 24 37 6 10
2019-20 Pittsburgh Penguins NHL 50 10 17 27 8 6
2019-20 Buffalo Sabres NHL 6 2 2 4 0 2

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