You may have never heard of Kailer Yamamoto, but it is okay because you soon will be Thursday night during the 2017 #Nhl Entry Draft in Chicago.

Background of Kailer

Kailer Yamamoto is an 18-year-old who turns 19 on August 29. He plays in the WHL (Western Hockey League) for the Spokane Chiefs in his hometown of Spokane, WA. Where Kailer also plays alongside his older brother Keanu. Before going to Spokane he played with the Los Angeles Jr. Kings u16 team where he had 40 points in 34 games. He is ranked the 17th North American prospect on the NHL Central Scouting report.

Kailer could easily be a Top 10 pick in this year’s draft since his potential is through the roof.

He will not be on an NHL roster next year most likely. However, he will be a top 6 forward in a few years somewhere in the NHL. Any team that drafts him below the 15th pick is getting him at a steal in my opinion.

He may be small but he can produce

Kailer Yamamoto is only 5’8” and 160 pounds. However, he can put up points on the scoreboard. With his three years in the WHL Kailer has accumulated over 200 points in 190 games played. Which is very good for him considering his size compared to the players he goes up against. This past season Kailer put up extraordinary stats having played 65 games and scoring 42 goals finishing the year with 99 points.

Besides producing on the ice he also is a productive team player.

Kailer was named a Chief’s assistant captain for the 2016-17 season. Last year Kailer played for the USA during their bronze medal run at the 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship.

Kailer’s scouting report is a very interesting one. He is a very fast and dynamic player with great footwork and skating ability.

With all this it allows him to create space and separation from the defense or whoever is covering him. With also being only 5’8” he can allow himself to cut down his gaps and spaces but still have room to slip out when needed. His speed and aggressiveness allow him to rush puck handlers and clog passing lanes.

Although he is a winger he has the ability to float around and affect the speed of the game. With all of these attributes, one cannot forget Kailer has very soft hands and can get very creative when he is one on one with the puck. Kailer does not have many downfalls to his game besides his size. However, his ability to control the game is impeccable which makes him a threat whenever he is on the ice.

At the Combine

From May 20th to June 3rd in Buffalo was the NHL combine for all of the invited top prospects. Kailer was one of them. From the results tweeted out by the NHL and reported online by SportsNet. Yamamoto was in the top 10 for many events. Which just shows the athletic ability of Yamamoto.

He came in second on both pro agility’s (left and right side), which focuses on the multi-directional speed and whole body reaction including control when changing direction.

Another test Yamamoto did well in was the Wingate cycle ergometer test. The Wingate cycle tests the player’s ability to pedal on a bike as fast and controlled as possible until he reaches the desired workload. It doesn’t just show the watts per kg a player produces but shows how much drive and compete a player has in them to keep pushing forward even while fatigued. There were tests Kailer did not do well on: the vertical jump, wingspan measurement, grip strength and standing long jump.

These tests though are not designed for players of Kailer’s size.

With being only 5’8” and barely 160 pounds Kailer is at a disadvantage too much larger players. However, Kailer did finish with 13 reps in the bench press (70-80% of body weight) and in the top 5 in consecutive pull-ups with 12. With physical testing and scores as these Kailer can be seen as an athlete and competitor with his size not being an issue at all.

Heart for the game of hockey

If you talk to any scout. One thing they will tell you when scouting players is all the players can score and make plays or else they wouldn’t be scouted.

It’s the ones that show the skills you cannot teach that become great players of the game. Kailer Yamamoto has a tremendous amount of heart and competiveness in him. He knows what he wants and goes after it. His videotape will prove it.

Kailer will become a great player at the next level. It may take time because of his size but once he figures out how to use it in the professional game there is no stopping him with what he can achieve. Look at players like Michael Cammalleri and Johnny Gaudreau who are both 5’9”. However, they both have had or are having a very successful career so far. Johnny Gaudreau just finished his third NHL season where he has 60 points or more in each of them and at least 70 games each season.

Which just proves, even more, how Kailer if developed right can produce at the next level.

Projection

Many mock drafts have Kailer Yamamoto going anywhere from Edmonton at the 22nd pick to as high as 14th to Tampa Bay. Any team that gets him after 15 is going to be a steal. Yamamoto going possibly ninth to the Detriot Red Wings since they are known to draft players but ease them into the NHL which for them we have seen work. Plus Detriot loves crafty playmaking forwards. I could also see him going 13th to the new expansion team the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights are not known for any type of style or play so if they do take him at 13 it is only for trading purposes as Kailer can also be a great asset to throw into a deal.

Wherever Kailer lands he will make a lasting impact in the NHL.

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