The Edmonton Oilers have signed 2017 first-round pick and right winger Kailer Yamamoto to a three-year, entry-level contract, the team announced Friday.
Edmonton drafted Yamamoto at 22nd overall this past June, and since then, he has continued to prove his worth. The 18-year-old is coming off a strong year with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, posting 42 goals and 99 points through 65 games this past season.
As the offseason continues, Yamamoto only continues to prove his worth and turn heads. He had a strong showing at the Oilers Development Camp in Jasper this July and is lighting it up with Team USA at the World Junior Summer Showcase. He continues to show his upside, as well as his potential to enter the NHL ranks sooner rather than later.
One Step Closer to NHL Hockey
Yamamoto is a sharp shooting winger with great vision and speed. Not only is a playmaker, but he is able to get into the tightest areas of the ice and get shots off quickly. He also has great hands and stickhandling ability, combined with remarkable hockey sense and vision. In addition, he doesn’t let his size limit his play, as he uses his speed and skill to be aggressive on the forecheck.
The one problem, in fact, possibly the only factor that truly let him fall to #22 in the draft, is his size. At 5-foot-8, 146 pounds, Yamamoto does not have the best frame for the NHL level. However, it should be noted that players like Wayne Gretzky, Martin St. Louis, Michael Cammalleri and Nathan Gerbe were all doubted because of their size. However, it was their ability and other attributes that helped them exceed at the NHL level. Yamamoto, like these players, has the skill to
Yamamoto, like these players, has the skill to make sure that his size doesn’t limit his production or potential at the NHL level.
This entry-level deal is one step closer to the NHL for Yamamoto, who could have a good enough preseason to get a shot at cracking the opening night roster. Still, extra development at the junior level and a steady transition would be beneficial as he prepares to enter the big leagues.