The Chicago Blackhawks have made their first signing since the opening of the NHL’s free agency period, giving former Edmonton Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira to a two-year contract worth $975,000 annually.
Khaira, who turns 27 in August, has appeared in 258 games across six seasons — all with the Oilers — notching 24 goals and 39 assists while averaging 12:16 of ice time. During the 2021 season, Khaira appeared in 40 games, scoring three goals with eight assists with an average ice time of 12:03. Khaira also played in four postseason games, scoring once. He was originally a third-round pick (63rd overall) by Edmonton in the 2012 NHL Draft.
The numbers above tell much of the story for Khaira: not a ton of offensive production, although he adds some size at 6-foot-4 and 212 pounds. The analytics tell a similar story in that Khaira is not a player to expect much from on the scoresheet:
Jujhar Khaira (2 year deal with Chicago) is a fourth-liner. pic.twitter.com/20A8Xp367h— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) July 28, 2021
Given multiple media reports that forward Vinnie Hinostroza is not returning to the team and a few other bottom-six candidates not receiving , there could be some ice time to earn in Chicago’s bottom six. But a bigger forward to reportedly doesn’t skate all that well and doesn’t produce much offensively seems to be the kind of player that is being phased out of the NHL.
So this acquisition, at a minimum, is a bit of a head-scratcher.