Saturday (Sunday) Sunshine: Kailer Instincts

Bumped this week because of the draft, but the sun always shines with Saturday Sunshine even on Sunday.

In last week’s inaugural Saturday Sunshine, we looked at the young NHLer going into his second year as a full-time Oiler, JJ Khaira. The arrows all point up with him. The exact same thing could be said about this week’s sunshine, so let us turn on that delicious Saturday Sunshine theme song and bask in some Kailer Yamamoto.

I promise I was thinking of having our 19-year-old right winger in waiting before the exalted and wise Dustin Nielsen took some time this week to write about and rank the Oilers top-10 prospects. Having this to say about young Yamamoto:

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Yamamoto impressed the Oilers during his brief stint with the club last season. After struggling early in his return to Spokane Yamamoto took over offensively in the second half of the year.

The Oilers love him because he thinks the game at an extremely high level. I’d expect Yamamoto to get another extended look in the pre-season, possibly into the regular season.

If he spends the majority of the year in the American Hockey League he should be given the ice-time and opportunity needed to hit the 50 or 60-point mark. 

Couldn’t have said it better myself, although I’ll try. The knock against Kailer has been his size, but it’s safe to say in his early games with the Oilers last year he showed that the size he gives up to NHL sized players is not going to be a reason to hold him back moving forward.

Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM +/-
2014-15 Spokane Chiefs WHL 68 23 34 57 50 12
2015-16 Spokane Chiefs WHL 57 19 52 71 34 20
2016-17 Spokane Chiefs WHL 65 42 57 99 46 14
2017-18 Edmonton Oilers NHL 9 0 3 3 2 -2
2017-18 Spokane Chiefs WHL 40 21 43 64 18 22

Admittedly his transition back to the Junior this year, and subsequent “banging up” at the World Juniors with this gutless cheap shot at the end of a loss to Sweden being the icing on the cake:

Kailer then went on a torrential pace. He picked up the WHL player of the week honours for January 22nd to 28th for his ten point week in four games. He ended up playing 40 games with the Chiefs and amassing a total of 64 points over that span. Unreal to see a player have a slow start doing that after coming back from an injury. Chris the Intern wrote about all the records Yamamoto is and was chasing in Spokane.

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Some lofty competition there for young Kailer including Oilers legend Pat Falloon.

In late January, Yamamoto sat down with our very own Good Young Content Boy Tyler Yaremchuk and spoke with him about wanting to be back with the Oilers next year and where he thinks he can excel.

Another year under his belt in Spokane and racking up the points in the WHL has set Kailer up for a real push to take the right wing positioning from his camp onwards. The Oilers have a hungry kid ready to prove people wrong and make the teams that didn’t take him regret missing out. Lest we forget this quote from his draft year:

“Gotta Draft Me Otherwise I’m Going to Come Back to Haunt You”

With confidence like that,

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Kailer Yamamoto is definitely a positive.

  • BringtheFire 2.0

    I just figured I’d leave a positive comment for the Nation Dan, as opposed to a confrontational one.

    I like your hat, Sir! Oh, and hey!

    What’d you think of the trade? Come on, tell the Nation how you feel!!!

    • Drivefastfinishlast

      Good trade
      Too bad Chiarelli can’t make those kind of trades.
      Instead Oilers will be missing playoffs. The Oilers are so far up against the cap even Yamamoto’s contract is too rich. Lol
      Did you see Oilers roster, It’s terrible!

      • Big Nuggets

        The Oilers roster is far from terrible. It has a few holes and no depth, but McDavid is about to have another career year and Draisaitl will take a step this season too, granted he may not get a new high in points due to not having competent wingers.

        • Drivefastfinishlast

          It’s far from terrible, really?
          All you did was mention Leon and McDavid.
          Another season of Lucic and No top RW for Leon, he’s not having a career year.
          Bottom 6 is so weak don’t count on the D to bail them out.
          McDavid a career year, sure if he plays all year with Nuge.
          Do you really think Drake, Strome, Aberg, JJ, Kassain and JP won’t get destroyed.
          Just wow.

          • Dr

            The Flames finished with only 1 more win than the Oilers, and that includes that 7 game / 11 game point streak they had. If it wasn’t for that, and Smith, they would’ve finished in the bottom three, without a first round pick.
            They for Gulutzan, and replace him with Peters, who has fewer career NHL coaching wins.
            They traded two roster players for two players with less points last year. Yeah, good management.

          • Big Nuggets

            I think a lot of the roster underperformed last season and if we have better health throughout the line up and the new coaches can get them to play like a team we should have a decent year.

            To be honest next season isn’t my biggest concern. We have McDavid for at least 8 more seasons, I want to see management make the right decisions to build a monster roster in 2 to 3 seasons. We have the most important pieces in the organization, next season we should gain some roster flexibikity, as long as Chia doesn’t F things up we will be contenders soon enough. Just have to suffer through a mediocre season next year and then it’s Cup contention for several years.

  • Lee

    Looks like the west is loading up this next season.
    I’m fine with a few small players especially on the wing , still glad the Oilers drafted tallent with size because if you get to the playoffs, the refs are not going to protect you.
    Yomo should get a good look , he has to be more than just fast and I’m sure he learned a lot from last years experience.

  • Leo Tard

    Unless something is done about winger depth during the summer, Yamma will make the nhl club. It would be very Oiler like to allow this happen. Ala Sam Garner. I simply do not see where the money will come from to acquire a better stop gap winger, which would allow him to develop proper. The team really needs to get out of the cap crunch situation. I can’t see it happening. I pray each day that this club does not destroy any more young talent by playing them too soon and not allowing proper development.

    • AlexTheOilersFanSince2006

      Please explain to me how the Oilers rushed Kailer. He forced their hand by having a great camp and pre-season. They then played him 9 games, sent him back to Spokane and he’ll be in the AHL next season. Edmonton has done right but Yamamoto, and they’ll do right by Bouchard

    • OriginalPouzar

      Gagner played a full NHL season in his draft plus one year. This is Yamamoto’s draft plus two year. Even if he does play in the NHL, they aren’t even remotely the same.

  • Jimmer

    50+ games in the AHL will help him immensely. If we see him this year it is because he is at almost a point/game pace in the AHL and has learned how to play defensively at the pro level. Look…we will not be winning a cup this year. We need a group of 2-3 guys performing at a high level on entry level contracts or inexpensive bridge deals. Yamamoto is one of those guys.

    • fasteddy

      Find a team that doesn’t put top 5-10 picks into the league right away…..every one of them does it. It’s a popular narrative, but it’s simply inaccurate to suggest the Oilers have done differently than any other teams with their high picks. Gets you some high fives on the comment boards though I guess.

  • CMG30

    I don’t mind giving him a long look but it’s important not to overdo it with these young kids. The NHL season is a grind and it will quickly wear you down. A bright future is ahead for this kid, no need to rush him!

    • Big Nuggets

      Agreed. I want Yams to play a lot in the AHL next season, but I don’t know how they will afford the winger depth to make that happen. Might have to throw out a few professional tryouts to guys like Stempniak or Joel Ward and see if they can outperform Kailer in preseason. Seems unlikely that they could though.

  • Drivefastfinishlast

    Oilers are not making playoffs. The season is already over. Chiarelli screwed the Oilers so good with the salary cap.
    I hate Chiarelli, he was the worst thing to happen to the oilers. Can’t wait until he is fired already.

    • Kneedroptalbot

      For the Oilers to be a playoff team they still need to address:
      more speed, more secondary scoring, consistent goaltending.
      To compete with the top teams there is still a lot of work to be done.

      • fasteddy

        These points are all true….sometimes we need to step back though and realize you cannot build an all star team in a salary cap league. I find it hilarious we are screaming for wingers when 3 yrs ago we were beating up management for having too many skilled wingers and we needed C & D instead

  • OilCan2

    Kailer has passion and skill. Guys like him, JJ, JP, Bear & Benson are where are future success lies. Remember that Captain Connor will bring out the best in his team mates; just ask Ty.

  • OriginalPouzar

    Great write-up, as always, Dan.

    I am one that thinks that Kailer’s arrows from this past season are even as oppossed to up (one of only 2 from the 2017 draft without direct up arrows).

    I expected Kailer to tear apart the WHL and star in Buffalo at the World Juniors. He had a pedestrian WJC and, while he ultimately did tear up the WHL, it was done in an odd way – long periods of struggle and crazy heaters.

    Yes, a bit of a lull after getting sent back to junior is expected but his lull wasn’t a few weeks, it bordered on a few months.

    His heater after the WJC was epic though, however he did struggle in the playoffs (was hurt again).

    Anyways, don’t get me wrong, I still like the player and haven’t soured on him at all, just wish there was a bit more consistancy last season.

    I have no idea if he breaks camp with the Oilers or the Condors this season. Unfortunately, there is zero cap space to acquire a stop-gap for the top 6 so there will likely be a roster spot there for the taking – I hope he earns it on merit as opposed to being gifted it due to their not being anyone better.

    He will be cheap on this ELC ($925K I believe) and his performance bonus potential is nominal.

    I have no idea if he’ll be ready or not – will be looking forward to rookie camp then main camp. I’m sure he’ll produce early in pre-season – will he be able to extend that when the competition gets tougher?

    I’m not one to say he “has to go to the AHL” – noone here has any true idea if he’s ready – that will be evident via his performance in camp, pre-season and, potentially, early in the year.

    Go Kailer, I’m rooting for you. Force a job – we could use a value contract.

    • fasteddy

      Pouzar; nice to see a common sense thought process. I agree that certainly none of us know if he’s ready, and ultimately his performance will dictate that. I do like the idea of him gaining some mojo in the A, but we’ll see. Sometimes it seems the skill guy’s actually do better with the big team, so who knows.


    Nuge. Mcd. Rattie
    Lucic. Leon. Pj
    Cadj. Strome. Aberg
    UFA .JJK. Kassian

    Klef. Larsen
    Nurse. Benning
    Sekera. Bouchard.

    We have one UFA hole to fill in the LEft side bottom pair which can be Stempniak or Joel Ward, Grabner , Vanek ? Maybe even Marron returns.
    Keeping Yamo in the farm for a year to fill out and put some lbs on.
    They will slot in Bouchard (limited minutes) with sekera as he has helped along rookie Dmen in the past such as Justin faulk plus Benning.

  • Abagofpucks

    Well said pouzar , Idont disagree with you but yams is so hard to gauge hes so small i really do fear for his well being . But we are going to half to test him bigtime in the next 2 years for sure.

  • oilredemption

    I for one loved the Calgary deal. Calgary got more asset controlled players. One being a more rounded dman with more room to grow as he rounds into form, a top6 c/rw who was bought low on for 2 guys with new deals coming up in the near future and 1 who wasn’t going to sign with them anyways. Ferland was bought high on. I have never been convinced he’s a true top 6 forward. Ideally you want him on the 3L. Hamilton is probably the most overrated dman in the league. Couldn’t defend himself out a wet paper bag. Also I read in a Calgary form they thought fox was going be a generational talent.pfff as if. He will be good but not elite or “generational” there’s also chance he doesn’t sign in Carolina either. Maybe he signs in Edmonton???? Lol