The Edmonton Oilers signed first-round selection Kailer Yamamoto today, the young man had a fine performance recently at the World Juniors Summer Showcase and this signing puts a cap on a fantastic year for him.
OILERS AT THE WORLD JUNIOR SHOWCASE
- Kailer Yamamoto 5, 3-3-6
- Aapeli Rasanen 4, 0-3-3
- Phil Kemp 6, 0-1-1
- Markus Niemelainen 4, 0-1-1
- Dylan Wells 3, 4.24 .842
- Stuart Skinner 2, 8.23, .727
Yamamoto was exceptional in the tournament and there was a buzz around his line (who ran circles around the opposition). Yamamoto showed well about one month after he was drafted, much like Sam Gagner in 2007 and the Canada-Russia series that summer.
It isn’t an identical situation, as Gagner was a more prominent player (higher draft pick). However, there are some things about Yamamoto and Gagner that are similar, including fantastic offensive seasons leading up to the draft:
- Sam Gagner 2007: 53gp, 35-83-118 (team scored 301 goals)
- Kailer Yamamoto 2017: 65gp, 42-57-99 (team scored 234 goals)
The two college men near the top (Joe Gambardella & Tyler Vesel) perform very well but are older and the chances of either player arriving in the NHL and posting their projected NHLE is low. Drake Caggiula’s NHLE was 44 points one year ago, he scored 18 points in 60 NHL games last season.
Sam Gagner’s NHLE from his big season above was 55 points—and he scored 49 points with the Oilers in 2007-08 in 79 games.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
I’m not suggesting Kailer Yamamoto is going to make the Oilers, score at will and push Jesse Puljujarvi or Anton Slepyshev to Bakersfield. I’m not saying it’s wise to contemplate. I’m saying it’s possible. Kailer Yamamoto is 5.08, 153 and not yet 19 years old.
This is the Edmonton Oilers, and they are looking for a roadrunner with insane skills who can think that game at an elite level. It’s going to be a crazy idea until it isn’t; I’m still betting on fall 2018 for this brilliant young hockey player to make his NHL debut, but won’t be shocked if Kailer Yamamoto gets nine NHL games this fall. Or more. Seriously.