What stick does Kailer Yamamoto use?
NHL Draft Preview: Kailer Yamamoto
Spokane Chiefs forward Kailer Yamamoto scored 99 points, including 42 goals, during the 2016-17 regular season to prove his status as a top prospect ahead of this weekend’s 2017 NHL Entry Draft in Chicago.
A fifth-round pick by the Chiefs in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, the Spokane native and Mead High School graduate has flourished in the WHL, scoring 227 career points (84 goals, 143 assists) in 190 career games over three seasons. His 2016-17 campaign placed him sixth on the league’s scoring list (first in the Western Conference) and pushed him into the Chiefs’ franchise record book in multiple categories, including points (17th), assists (16th) and points per game (12th).
His outstanding season plus a strong showing at the NHL/CHL Top Prospects Game in January as well as this month’s NHL Combine in Buffalo have Yamamoto poised to hear his name called early at the draft.
Yamamoto is noticed for his speed and skill. He has great vision on the ice and gets teammates the puck in good places to score. His shot improved significantly from his rookie season to his draft year. His size (5-foot-8) is often cited against him, but Yamamoto can often use that size to his advantage, squeezing through tight spaces and changing direction to create space.
A pint-sized, yet dynamic, playmaker… small, speedy forward with excellent hockey sense and quick hands…has a strong work ethic that keeps him going…great overall quickness, first-step jump to create separation and an ability to alter speeds to create gaps…sneaky and stealth-like in finding prime scoring ice…very creative with the puck and shows off creative hands…uses his size to squeak through the tightest of holes…is a force in possession as he likes the puck on his stick, and is dangerous as a set-up man or shooter in the offensive zone…poised, clutch and aware…feisty on the forecheck, not physically, but uses his speed to force opponents into rushed plays while clogging up passing lanes with an active stick…one of those rare wingers who has the ability to affect the flow of a game like a center…a very special talent, high octane and cerebral.
“Diminutive, highly skilled winger who makes things happen offensively and is elusive.”
NHL Central Scouting (North American skaters): 17th
ISS Hockey: 26th
Future Considerations: 15th
Sports Illustrated: 6th
TSN (Bob McKenzie): 24th
Yamamoto is usually projected to be drafted somewhere in the mid-late first round, depending on which mock draft you prefer. Sportsnet has him going 22nd to Edmonton, as does Bleacher Report. He went 14th to Tampa Bay in SB Nation’s pick-by-pick mock, while Joe Haggarty at CSSNE has him going 25th to Montreal.
Kailer Yamamoto injects 153 pounds of dynamite into Oilers’ second unit
The 21-year-old AHL all-star, playing on a line with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, adds fun and energy to Edmonton lineup in a short time.
By John Chidley-Hill The Canadian Press
Mon., Jan. 6, 2020 timer 3 min. read
The way Kailer Yamamoto laughs and jokes around with his teammates in the Edmonton Oilers locker room, you’d think he was a seasoned NHL veteran.
But the truth is the 21-year-old Yamamoto has only played in a few games for Edmonton this season and 26 over the previous two campaigns with the Oilers. He was called up from the American Hockey League’s Bakersfield Condors on Dec. 29 and has quickly gelled with linemates Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“They’re two unbelievable players, so any time you can get you obviously want to stick and do anything you can to stick,” Yamamoto said on Monday ahead of Edmonton’s game against the Maple Leafs. “I’m just trying to do everything I can to play with them, create some chemistry, create some energy for that line and hopefully stick on.”
Yamamoto had a goal and an assist with a plus-3 rating in three games heading into Monday night — when he scored in the second period, with assists from both linemates. Playing with Draisaitl and Nugent-Hopkins has motivated him to get into the corners and be the workhorse of the Oilers’ second line.
“I’m just more comfortable with the guys and I know what to expect,” said Yamamoto. “Now coming into my third season, having played a couple of games, I’m more comfortable, more confident.”
At just five-foot-eight and 153 pounds, hard work is how Yamamoto has had to distinguish himself with the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs and then into the professional ranks. That effort has not gone unnoticed by either Yamamoto’s coach or his teammates.
“He’s been great. He’s a lot of fun to play with,” Draisaitl said. “He’s a little guy, but he’s feisty. He gets in there, does a lot of little things that a lot of people probably don’t really recognize. He hunts pucks like crazy. It’s been fun, and hopefully we can keep it going.”
Teammates such as Draisaitl were already a little familiar with what Yamamoto has to offer after his nine games in the 2017-18 season and 17 in 2018-19, but head coach Dave Tippett joined the Edmonton organization in the off-season and is still getting to know him.
“I’ve learned that he’s a smart, really good player. Plays the game the right way. He’s on the right side of the puck, makes good plays,” Tippett said. “He uses his size well for what he is. People would look and say he’s a little guy, but the way he gets around the game, the way he competes, the way he uses his body to protect pucks, it’s not an issue with him.”
The Oilers have looked sharper in the past three games, earning a 7-5 win over the New York Rangers on New Year’s Eve, falling to the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in overtime on Jan. 2 and then beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 on Saturday.
Tippett’s decision to split up Draisaitl and Connor McDavid — who have nearly identical stat lines atop the NHL’s scoring race — has made Edmonton a tougher matchup defensively. McDavid, who is now on a line with James Neal and Zack Kassian, points to Yamamoto’s arrival as the turning point, since it gave Tippett more depth to work with.
“I think a lot of credit is due to Yamamoto,” McDavid said. “I think he’s come up and really provided some energy for our group and he’s played really well.”
Even as he’s making an impact in the NHL, Yamamoto may have one last minor-league appearance ahead of him after he was named to the AHL’s all-star game on Jan. 26 and 27. Yamamoto has eight goals and eight assists in 23 games with Bakersfield, where he leads the team with three game-winning goals. His four power-play goals also lead the team.
Kailer Yamamoto Looks Right At Home On The Second Line
Scoring goals and primary assists, Kailer Yamamoto is doing all the right things so far.
By Jeff Chapman @NewWaveOil Feb 2, 2020, 5:10pm MST
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Everybody in Oil Country feels pretty good after last night’s 8-3 take-down of the Calgary Flames. The game had everything you could have possibly wanted as an Oilers fan: Connor McDavid lit it up twice, Leon Draisaitl had four assists. The goalies met at centre ice for some hellos, and everyone got to enjoy what was probably the best regular season game in some time.
You know who’s having a really good time out there? Kailer Yamamoto .
Yamamoto was called up just before the new year. His first action this year was against the Rangers on New Year’s Eve, where he popped an empty netter in a 7-5 win. Since then, he’s been held without a point in just two games. He’s put up ten points over the last month (5-5-10), including a two point effort in last night’s 8-3 win over the Calgary Flames.
To borrow a couple of old clichés, go to the net and go with your stick on the ice. Yamamoto had three whole seconds where he was untouched by a Flames defencemen when he scored Edmonton’s first goal on Cam Talbot last night. Hey, speed kills.
Since his call up in December, Yamamoto has been a buzz saw around the net. Out of his five goals, all have been even strength. He’s gotten some help from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins , Leon Draisaitl and Caleb Jones , but Yamamoto is holding his own out there right now. He’s got a screamer of a S% right now (33.3) and that’s going to level off, but if he’s in front of the net to clean up the rebounds, the drop off might not be as precipitous as one would think.
It’s early, but if Yamamoto sticks, it’ll answer a big question as it will fill up one of the wing positions in the top six. If Zack Kassian continutes to click on the top line and Yamamoto does the deed on the second line, that goes a long way to answering any questions about who will play where in the near (and not-so-near) future. The left side? That’s for another time. If Yamamoto continues to impress, how long will it be before we see him on the power play instead of Alex Chiasson ?
Kailer Yamamoto and the Edmonton Oilers are in action next on Tuesday, where they’ll ave off against Taylor Hall and the Arizona Coyotes. Can the Oilers keep the good times roling with another big win?