After Edmonton Oilers forward Kailer Yamamoto made the opening night roster, many wondered how long his stay would be.
While some argued that he adds more right wing depth and didn’t have much more to learn at the WHL level, others pushed for the 18-year-old to continue his development. The Oilers have a history of rushing some of their prospects, and since they have forwards capable of scoring, Yamamoto should then get as much time to develop and prep for the NHL as possible.
Still, to start the year, he ended up on the main roster thanks to his impressive preseason, in which he netted five goals. And since then, he has shown a lot of effort and determination, to the point where he is making a case for a longer stay in Edmonton.
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Continuing to Grow
Though he started out with limited ice time and not a lot of chemistry on his lines, Yamamoto has made a jump to the top six. Since then, he has shown a lot more chemistry and ability and has three assists through six games. Plus, he is proving to complement Connor McDavid well and has added a lot of speed and stride of late.
Not only has he gotten more comfortable, but it shows in the way he continues to elevate his game. He goes to the net more and makes himself more aggressive, and he shoots whenever he gets the chance. However, he also thinks out his plays and makes strong breakout passes, and knows when to pass and when to shoot.
The Spokane, Washington native can also think on the fly and is becoming more confident in his decisions. His skating is also improving as he continues to grow, and he isn’t afraid to get physical and battle for pucks. While some may fear that the 5-foot-8, 154-pound winger isn’t big enough, and still needs to add size and could risk injury by remaining at the NHL level, he has shown he can handle it.
Staying Past Nine Games
At this point, and with Edmonton’s offence lacking lately, Yamamoto should stay past the nine-game trial. He is a quick winger who adds a lot on the forecheck, and also makes up for the team’s evident lack of depth on the right side.
In addition, he has shown his worth at the NHL level and that he is continuing to grow and develop, which just goes to show that he learns more and can flourish better by continuing to play at this level, rather than returning to the WHL, a league in which he is already outplaying even some of its brightest stars.
Overall, Yamamoto has earned his spot, and now, he should most certainly earn a longer stay. Because of his ability and potential, he deserves to continue with Edmonton, especially since he’s reaping the benefits.