Edmonton Oilers player review and 2022-23 preview: Kailer Yamamoto

Photo credit:Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 year ago
Welcome to the 2021-22 season review and 2022-23 season preview player-by-player! In this, and other articles, I’ll be, well, reviewing the Edmonton Oilers 2021-22 season and previewing the 2022-23 season. You can read about the analytics behind my analysis here.
Kailer Yamamoto’s been one of the Edmonton Oilers’ more up and down players over the last few years.
Drafted by the Oilers 22nd overall in the 2017 draft, Yamamoto worked his way into the lineup as a full-timer in the winter of 2019-20. He broke onto the scene making up one-third of the DRY line alongside Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins where he scored 11 goals and 26 points in just 27 games. After that, his production has been moderate.
In 133 games since, he’s scored 28 goals and 62 points. The Oilers clearly value him as a top-six player, but this past season showed just how up and down he can be. He scored 41 points by the end of the year, but just 15 of them came in the first 40 games of the year. Down the back 41 games of his season, he scored 12 goals and 26 points.
Yamamoto’s game has been highlighted by tenacious forechecking and an ability to win puck battles. He does a good job setting up his teammates, and he’s very well trusted by the organization.

The analytics

Per/60, RelTm%-2.255.69-3.54.822.6-
Kailer Yamamoto leaves a lot to be liked. His underlying numbers are fairly average across the board, but in comparison to his teammates, he falls a bit below average. There’s no one area where Yamamoto excels above the rest and is best looked at as a complementary player. With a PDO of 100.1, this is about what to expect from Yamamoto. The pros are that he’s still a young player with just 286 games under his belt and there’s still room to grow and develop.
He chips in offence at a decent rate, but his points/60 have him as a middle-six scorer. I don’t know how much higher his ceiling is beyond what we’ve seen from him. He isn’t an elite finisher, and isn’t an elite passer and had a lot better finish to his year than start to his year.
His isolated impact charts show about what you would expect based on his other underlying numbers. He’s about as average as they come, and that’s not particularly a bad thing at 23-years-old.

Looking ahead…

An RFA, Yamamoto has been rumoured to be a player that could be on the trade block, but signs are pointing more and more to Puljujarvi being the one on the move.
At this point in his career, Yamamoto’s game is still fairly raw. He hasn’t hit his peak in his NHL career and I’d fully expect him to continue to improve over the next few years.
I’d expect a shorter term, bridge style deal between the Oilers and Yamamoto somewhere in the $3-million range.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


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