Let’s get something right out of the way.
The primary reason a WHL player with almost 100 points is anywhere near the 18th spot of the draft is because he is 5’8. He’s small even for some of the smaller NHLers that the league now has that can be considered stars.
That said...he has all the things a prolific scorer has these days: Good shot, good hands, tremendous effort, willing to get into the dirty areas and swoop in so fast that he can force mistakes. He also had to be the only highlight worth considering for his hometown Spokane Chiefs, as his team did not play well...well, except when he was on the ice. Then they usually did very well.
You can see how easily he disrupts defenses and creates opportunity from what seems like nothing. That’s a good skill small players don’t often have and has many scouts buzzing about him.
Of course, there’s that whole “he’s small” thing that a lot of fans and scouts will hold accountable, and there’s at least some reason to believe that might be a factor, but Tom Hunter of the Blogger’s Tribune believes there’s a real steal in this kid if a team is willing to take a chance on him, especially when compared to Michael Rasmussen, another productive player from the WHL whose slated to go much higher.
“...Both players had very productive seasons. Despite having his season cut short due to injury, Rasmussen scored 32 goals and finished with the same 0.65 G/GP as Yamamoto – but that’s where the similarities end. When you look at the 5v5 stats of the two players, there is no comparison – Yamamoto was a significantly better player than Rasmussen.” -Tom Hunter
There’s a lot of good stuff that can come from him. gives him a lot of utility, especially on a team that has...confusing winger depth. It’ll require a lot of NHL/AHL level training to not get murdered on the ice, but I think in a draft that has a lot of question marks left around the board and certainly a number of players that might be a bit overhyped for their production, there’s nothing wrong with perhaps a player who can slot in, be fast and furious, and rack up points.
I mean, there are much bigger reaches in this draft than he is, right? There’s no harm in a player who you know can forecheck like crazy.
- Ranked #26 by ISS Hockey
- Ranked #15 by Future Considerations
- Ranked #24 by McKeen's Hockey
- Ranked #17 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Kailer Yamamoto Statlines