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?