Edmonton Oilers prospect Kailer Yamamoto has been phenomenal so far through training camp.
The 18-year-old is lighting it up so far in the preseason, with four goals and five points in just three games. And despite his youth, as well as the fact that like any prospect, he could benefit from more development, he is proving that he is ready to make the jump to the NHL.
He has been playing big minutes so far through training camp, slotting in on the top-six with big-name players like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl. In Wednesday’s win over Winnipeg, the Spokane, Washington native played on the top line with Nugent-Hopkins and Jussi Jokinen. The trio had remarkable chemistry, combining for seven points against the Jets. On Friday against Vancouver, Yamamoto scored two goals and led all Edmonton forwards in ice time, but also got to play with Leon Draisaitl and Drake Caggiula.
With his outstanding overall play so far, as well as his chemistry with the Oilers’ big-name forwards, he appears ready to suit up and join the team as an official NHLer coming into this season. He displays tremendous ability on the ice, and also showcased a lethal, quick release of a shot, as well as impressive stickhandling and speed. He is able to keep pace with his linemates and has a lot of confidence with and without the puck.
Though the 5-foot-8, 154-pound winger is smaller and could stand to bulk up, his size has not affected his ability to play at all. He doesn’t appear to be bogged down by the toughness or physical demands of the fast-paced style of the league, and though it’s only preseason, he is playing NHL hockey.
As the preseason continues, and as cuts continue to be made, Yamamoto will likely be utilized with other players, and could even see time with Connor McDavid. But in the end, he is making a strong case to crack the opening night roster.