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Welcome to Edmonton, Kailer Yamamoto

Oilers take Spokane Chief winger at 22 overall.

Spokane Chiefs v Calgary Hitmen
Newest Oiler Kailer Yamamoto. I think the guy behind him is 5’4’’.
Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

With their first pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, the Edmonton Oilers selected skilled WHL Kailer Yamamoto.


Kailer Yamamoto 2017 NHL Draft profile | SB Nation NHL Draft M...

Welcome Kailer Yamamoto to Edmonton!

Posted by Copper & Blue: For Edmonton Oilers Fans on Friday, June 23, 2017

Standing slightly taller than Todd McLellan’s daughter, Yamamoto is certainly not of the typical coke-machine build that the Oilers have long coveted. Rather, Yamamoto is a (very) small winger with plus playmaking ability.

In his third season with the Spokane Chiefs, Yamamoto put up an impressive 99 points (42-57) in 69 GP, leading the WHL in goals, primary points, and primary points per game - even outperforming #2 overall pick Nolan Patrick offensively.

Billed as ‘this draft’s Johnny Gaudreau’, Yamamoto figures to spend one more season in the WHL barring exceptional rookie and training camps, but it’s encouraging to see the Oilers management coveting elite skill at the draft.

Yamamoto does, at first glance, appear to be undersized, but he was highly impressive at the rookie combine (4 Wingate, 2 Agility, 4 Pull-Ups) and has earned universal acclaim from scouts and NHL executives alike for ‘playing big’.

Ultimately, given what has transpired over the past 48 hours, you could make the argument that the Oilers are in need of some additional NHL help, and that perhaps this pick could have been dealt to acquire some, but that was not the case today. It remains to be seen if the Oilers will make a move like this in the remaining rounds, but fans should be happy that they didn’t keep the pick only to make a bad selection. There is some real upside here.

Kailer Yamamoto at a Glance:

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.

Courtesy Future Considerations

Stay tuned to Copper and Blue for more 2017 Entry Draft coverage.