Edmonton Oilers select Kailer Yamamoto with the 22nd pick

What a strange feeling. It took over two hours of waiting around, but the Edmonton Oilers have finally made their first pick at the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. With the 22nd overall pick, the Oilers selected Kailer Yamamoto from the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL.

Yamamoto, a 5’9 center/left winger, scored 42 goals and 57 assists in 65 games with the Chiefs last season, good for sixth in the WHL. Born in Spokane, he also played for the United States in the U-18 World Junior Championship last year, leading the team with 14 points in seven games in a bronze medal performance.

Coming into the draft, Yamamoto was ranked No. 17 among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, No. 24 among all skaters by Bob MacKenzie, No. 15 by Future Considerations, and No. 26 by International Scouting Services.

The word on Yamamoto is that he’s skilled and has a tremendously high hockey IQ. He obviously isn’t a big guy by any stretch of the imagination, but he’s said to have an excellent work ethic, a feisty play style, and a knack for making smart and creative plays on offence.

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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. – Future Considerations 

With the way the game is trending towards speed and skill, this is a pick that makes sense for the Oilers, who certainly lack players with high offensive upside in their farm system. Say what you want about Yamamoto being tiny, but I think this guy might look really good playing alongside Connor McDavid one day.


  • madjam

    Not sure if I am fond of this pick for a first rounder . If he turns out to be top 6 then that is another player that might prove to costly to keep , just as Puljujarvi might also prove to be to expensive to keep . Like Yamamoto , but not as a first round pick however .

    • fisherprice

      You’re thinking way too far ahead. One of the most important things in building a winning team is finding top talent in the draft and exploiting those early, cost controlled years. If Puljujarvi and Yamamoto play themselves to contracts too big for this team, it probably means something really good happened in the meanwhile. Look at Pittsburgh, a huge part of why they won these last two years is getting major contributions from young, skilled players on cheap contracts. If these young players deserve huge money contracts by their RFA years, it probably means the Oilers won a cup in the meanwhile.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I love the pick. I think we got one of the most skilled players in this draft. After years of being an undersized team we now have the size to simply pick the best player available, no matter what size.

    I think he’s going to be great. Welcome to Edmonton, Kailer!

  • Oildrop89

    Alright fellow Oilers fans… 22nd pick, small guy, Kaoler Yamamoto… I can tell you first hand that this kid is for real. I go to a lot of WHL games (Kelowna Rockets). Every time Spokane comes through town you notice this kid on the ice. I can’t tell you how many times he schooled a really good team in the Rockets. His size is beyond questionable, but I’ll tell you right now that he has skill. We should be happy to draft this guy, welcome to the team Kailer!

  • Heschultzhescores

    I thought we learned something about drafting smurfs? Apparently not. I will wait and see, but I can’t see how he’s gonna be a factor in the playoffs, just like Gaudreau. Oh well, I trust PC…Maybe he will play a much tougher game than the previous smurfs.

  • PandaBearJelly

    Love the pick. Bit of a risk do to the size but if he lives up to his potential, its a home run. Bit of a curiosity question, where does height and weight come from for the draftees? Yamamoto is listed as 5’9 and 160 but he stated he is (rounding) 5’7.5 and around 145 in his interview.

  • Nick Khron

    I find it funny that with all the comparables thrown around, it is always Gaudreau, Johnson or Zuccarello. Never saw the one name that I would think people would hope the most for, St. Louis. For a 5-7 year span, you would be hard pressed to find a more dominant player and he was 5’8. People who are down on this trade due to size should be glad he isn’t another Jacques which we seemed to draft year after year. Ya, let’s pass on Parise again because Pouliout has the better NHL frame. Some of the complaints by our own fans are ludicrous. “Remember Schremp, Kelly, Yakupov, Eberle, Hemsky, Comrie?” Ya, I do. Some were huge busts but Eberle was a fantastic player. Hemsky? One of the most gifted stickhandlers I’ve ever seen on the Oil and a warrior. Comrie? The guy who we were offered Corey Perry and a first for until Lowe screwed up the deal. That’s a pretty great success rate for late first round. Fantastic pick in our position. Star player or bust, I’ll take it over the safe crap that busted for us anyway.

    • camdog

      People like to create their own memories of players and the Oilers. Schremp was a horrible pick (couldn’t skate, had an attitude), Kelly was the wrong pick (fans nailed that one), Yakupov just didn’t work out. In their prime Eberle, Hemsky and Comrie were fantastic Oilers. I know there are a lot of people commenting on Eberle that haven’t watched him play the game over his entire career or have forgotten what he was like his in first 5 years in the league, but he isn’t the same player. It happens to every player in the league, some get their game back (if issue is confidence) , some don’t. He’ll still be a decent NHL’er regardless, but he’s not the same player. His shot used to be feared, it isn’t feared anymore.

  • Anton CP

    Hoping that the Oilers will not rush him, think he needs couple of years down in junior+minor. Eberle took 2 years in junior+minor and Gaudreau took almost 3 years.

    • jultz=2cups!??

      Sounded like Louie debrusk thinks he can crack the lineup right away. I’d wait till at least training camp before we make any decisions on where he should play. What flaws do you see in his game that make you think he’s not good enough?

      • Not a First Tier Fan

        For sure he could crack the line-up and get third or fourth line time and stagnate his development right away…

        Or we could learn from the constant mistakes the Oilers make and allow the guy some development time in the minors to get even better and grow in size, skill and hockey IQ…

        Why do we always need to rush things? Except for Connor I’ve never seen a player that wouldn’t have benefitted from at least some time in the minors…

        • jultz=2cups!??

          You clearly didn’t watch the draft then. Louie Sam and Darren talked exactly about that. He’s got too much skill to play on the 3rd/4th lines. Only way he makes it is on the top 2 lines. And they didn’t seem to think that it is as imporobable as you. So I’ll ask you, what flaws do you see in his game that make you think he can’t play with Connor or Leon? And please don’t do your bit about “the past”. Because in “the past” players have made the NHL right out of the draft. This is not a new thing.

          • Not a First Tier Fan

            Like JP last year?

            And yeah – the Sportsnet commentators – who get paid to have an opinion whether it’s right or not – are always the best people to listen to when considering a players development… Uh-huh.

            Thank Gord you’re not our GM.

          • Not a First Tier Fan

            Heads up. Judging a players skills before the are drafted only gives you an idea of a players ability. Until you see them in the bigs against the best defencemen and other players in the world, you really can’t say how they will do. The hot-shot flashy stuff you do when you’re in the Dub doesn’t work against defence that’s trained to expect it and has years of experience preventIng it. At least not until you’ve got some battles under your own belt against those types of veteran players…

            We rush Kailer before he’s got that knowledge, and is fully grown FFS then the Edmonton boo-birds will be on him and running him out of town before you can say Justin Schultz.

            Get a clue.

        • jultz=2cups!??

          Mmmk… I should get a clue? You’re the one that says in one breath that he is definitely not ready for the bigs and then in another breath you tell me not to judge a player until he plays in the bigs. ? You should take your own advice maybe. I never made any bold statements like you did. All I was saying is let’s wait till training camp before you guys write the kid off. Get a clue indeed.

          • Not a First Tier Fan

            Well, you are displaying a little lack of knowledge with every post. Keeping a player within the Oilers system to help them train and develop and arm them with the tools needed for the big leagues is hardly ‘writing a player off.’

            Writing a player off would be turning them away without a contract if you’re a GM. Or in the armchair GM version saying that a player has no future place on the team. Other than the folks freaking out about Yamamoto’s size, nobody here is saying that.

            So yeah – probably best you know something about a topic before you open your yap…

    • jultz=2cups!??

      I’m not sure if you’re being sarcastic or serious? You’re upset with the picks so far? No surprises for me really. The need going in was skilled wingers and they are getting after it. Safin looks like a decent pick. Some are comparing him to slepyshev. Speed and skill with Yamamoto and size and skill with safin. And can never have enough tenders in the system. Good draft so far! Imo

      • Not a First Tier Fan

        Hmm. In this post you actually seem to know what you’re talking about… Although I hope you’re not penciling Safin into the line-up for next season. lol