We are three games into the new NHL season and the math is barely awake. “One eye open” sample sizes aren’t going to give us much, but we can monitor the patient as the days go down. One question that came my way today goes like this:
- Why is Kailer Yamamoto still on the roster? Jesse Puljujarvi was better one year ago. Why are the Oilers waiting?
I think there are a couple of reasons. First, Yamamoto won the job, and Todd McLellan has been quoted on several occasions saying they’ll give the young man a full shot (tomorrow night he may start alongside Connor McDavid). The other reason may be results. Kailer Yamamoto, despite playing very little and clearly showing his youth during some coverage sorties, has in fact done some things worth noting.
YAMAMOTO VERSUS PULJUJARVI, FIRST TWO NHL GAMES
- This is all 5×5, and all via NaturalStatTrick.
- There’s some fascinating information here, including Yamamoto’s impressive shots per 60 at 5×5. Four shots in two games doesn’t sound like a lot, but Yamamoto’s playing time (11:53 against Winnipeg, 6:33 against Calgary) obscure things. He’s getting the puck on net more often than Puljujarvi one year ago.
WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?
- The Oilers employed Jesse Puljujarvi (5×5) 8:19 and 6:22 in his first two games. He played with good linemates, but the overall possession numbers weren’t great and the on-ice shots for/against low event. JP’s games are here and here.
- The Oilers employed Kailer Yamamoto (5×5) 6:33 and 11:06 in his first two games. He played with good linemates, with solid overall possession. His on-ice shots for-against are on the downbeat, but his possession number is more than 50 percent (a very good sign, small sample size alert). KY’s games are here and here.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Hell if I know. I do think the answer to the question at the beginning of this article is something like “they know Puljujarvi needs more time and want to find out about Yamamoto” and beyond that we’re guessing. The earliest of early math results suggest more good things are happening on the ice with Yamamoto but that could be luck, the position of the sun or a reflection of fine work done by one of his linemates. We do know Kailer Yamamoto is getting more shots-per-60 on net than Puljujarvi did one year ago, and that’s a useful skill.