Edmonton Oilers Player Review and 2023-24 Preview: Kailer Yamamoto

Photo credit:Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
9 months ago
Welcome to the 2022-23 Edmonton Oilers player review and 2023-24 season preview.
In this series, we’ll be doing a player-by-player look at the seasons that each Oiler had last year and their outlook heading into next year. Today, we have Kailer Yamamoto. 
After another injury-riddled, inconsistent season, the Oilers opted to move on from Kailer Yamamoto.
Selected No. 22 overall in the 2017 draft, Yamamoto got a nine-game cup of coffee with the Oilers as a 19-year-old but was sent back to the Spokane Chiefs for another season in the WHL. Yamamoto again cracked Edmonton’s roster for the 2018-19 season but was sent to the AHL after scoring just two points in his first 12 games.
It wasn’t until the middle of the 2019-20 season that Yamamoto broke through as an NHLer. He started off the season with the Bakersfield Condors and was called up to the big league club on New Year’s Eve. Yamamoto found chemistry on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl and scored 26 points over 27 games before the season was paused because of the pandemic.
Yamamoto was expected to be a key contributor heading into the shortened 2021 season but he struggled and scored only 21 points over 52 games. His entry-level contract expired after that season and Yamamoto was brought back on a one-year, show-me deal worth $1.175 million.
The 2021-22 season appeared to be Yamamoto’s. breakout. He scored 20 goals and 41 points over 81 games and had seven points in 14 playoff games before being knocked out of the Western Conference Final following a high hit from Gabriel Landeskog in Game 2.
The Oilers inked Yamamoto to a two-year contract worth $3.1 million annually in the off-season but he wasn’t able to live up to the money. Yamamoto didn’t score a goal until his 16th game of the 2022-23 season and wound up scoring 10 goals and 25 points over 58 games.
With the Oilers pressed right up against the salary cap ceiling, Yamamoto wound up a cap casualty this summer.

Kailer Yamamoto’s Career To Date…

Looking ahead…

Edmonton traded Yamamoto along with restricted free agent Klim Kostin to the Detroit Red Wings for Future Considerations, which was just a pure salary cap dump in exchange for nothing. The Wings re-signed Kostin but bought out the final year of Yamamoto’s contract.
There was some talk that the Oilers might bring back Yamamoto on a cheaper contract after he was bought out but he wound up signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Seattle Kraken, which is a homecoming for the native of Spokane, Washington.
The hope for Yamamoto this season is that he can have a clean bill of health. He’s an effective and productive player when he’s healthy but the undersized winger has dealt with a wide array of injuries throughout his young career. The concussion suffered during the playoffs following that hit from Landeskog is the most worrying when it comes to Yamamoto having a long career in the NHL.

Previously in this series…

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