With the 16th overall pick, the Calgary Flames have many names to choose from. Let’s look at a possible draft pick with LW/RW Kailer Yamamoto.
Like we mention in every draft profile, the Calgary Flames have many options for this year’s 16th overall pick at the 2017 NHL Draft. The top priorities for the Flames this upcoming season (like I keep mentioning) is a starting goaltender, a top four defenceman, and some bottom-six wingers. The wingers are the least of the Flames worries right now. Their main priority will be a goaltender. However, it’s highly unlikely they’ll be drafting a goaltender.
With how big the trade market is for goalies and free agency, not even speaking about some prospects they have that are going to be killer NHL goaltenders in a couple of years (cough cough Tyler Parsons cough cough), they’ll most likely be looking to pick up either a winger or a defenceman.
Almost everyday, we look at a new player for a possible draft selection. Last time, we looked at Finnish Forward Eeli Tolvanen. Today, let’s look at American forward Kailer Yamamoto (isn’t that an awesome name?).
Who is Kailer Yamamoto?
Name: Kailer Yamamoto
Birth place: Spokane, Washington, USA
Height: 5’8” / 173 cm
Weight: 72 kg / 159 lbs
Team: Spokane Chiefs
Stats from 2016-2017
Stats with the Spokane Chiefs, WHL, Regular Season (From eliteprospects.com):
Among the WHL (From whl.ca)
- Sixth among all skaters in points (99)
- Eighth among all skaters in goals (42)
- 13th among all skaters in assists (57)
Among the Spokane Chiefs (From whl.ca)
- Leading in points
- First in goals
- First in assists
- Tied in third for powerplay goals (10)
- Fun fact: He’s tied with his brother (Keanu Yamamoto)
- Second in powerplay assists (25)
- Fun fact: The leader in ppa is also his brother with 26
- First in game-winning goals (7)
- Round 3, 42nd overall: Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL Futures Draft
- Round 5, 105th overall: Spokane Chiefs, WHL Bantam Draft
- Round 26, 388th overall: Fargo Force, USHL Entry Draft
Rankings for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft
- #15 by Future Considerations
- #24 by McKeen’s Hockey
- #26 by ISS Hockey
- “Fantastic speed & exceptional offensive skills. Pro skill & hockey sense. Needs more size.”
- #17 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek ranked him at 20th overall in March, which is two spots higher than their previous rankings in January, claiming that he is “A shifty, dynamic scorer who has a great shot at winning the WHL scoring title next season. Lacks size, but such a skilled player.”
NHL.com’s Mike Morreale put him at 23rd overall in January.
"Yamamoto (5-7, 153) will create excitement. He’s hockey-strong, can make contact and knock people off the puck, can protect it and win battles. Scouts like the fact he brings a game-breaker element to each shift."
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- 2023 Calgary Flames Draft Preview: Top 5 Winger Targets
"A pint-sized, yet dynamic, playmaker. Small, speedy forward with excellent hockey sense and quick hands. Has a strong work ethic that keeps him going. Great overall quickness, first-step jump to create separation and an ability to alter speeds to create gaps […] Very creative with the puck and shows off creative hands. Uses his size to squeak through the tightest of holes. Is a force in possession as he likes the puck on his stick, and is dangerous as a set-up man or shooter in the offensive zone […] Feisty on the forecheck, not physically, but uses his speed to force opponents into rushed plays while clogging up passing lanes with an active stick. One of those rare wingers who has the ability to affect the flow of a game like a center. A very special talent, high octane and cerebral. (Future Considerations)."
Where does he fit in with the Flames?
Hey, I think the Calgary Flames already have a small yet feisty winger, right? Definitely hearing about his size, yet his ability to make plays and sneak through opponents, you can’t help but think of Johnny Gaudreau. He is 18 so that might be it for his height, but he can still put on some muscle, but of course, as of right now, that seems to be the only thing of concern about this kid.
Like Mike Morreale said, he has very high potential to be WHL’s top scorer next season. I can also see him as a potential top-six NHL winger in a couple of years which is exactly what the Flames can use right now. Micheal Ferland is currently on that top-line RW alongside Sean Monahan and Gaudreau, but he can definitely find a spot on that top-line as well. The only thing is having two small play-making wingers on one line may not be the most beneficial for the team and if 3M continues how they’ve been playing, which we know that perfect lines don’t exist forever, but there may not be room for him on a top-six pairing.
However, like I said, perfect lines don’t exist forever. We saw that with Monahan, Gaudreau and Jiri Hudler. 3M may not be 3M forever and I can see him on a wing alongside the veteran Mikael Backlund as somewhat of a mentor to him, kind of how Hudler was with Monahan and Gaudreau.
Since he’s projected at going later than that 16th overall pick, Flames can pick him up as somewhat of a steal of a pick. I definitely think he’s underrated and there’s a big possibility the Flames pick him up. And like we here at Flame for Thought do in every draft profile, let’s look at his highlights, because why not:
At the end of these draft profiles, I always mention who I like the most out of every draft profile we’ve looked at. For a while, I stuck with Lias Andersson as the top pick for the team. Then last time, I finally found a new favourite with Eeli Tolvanen. But now, I think Yamamoto just may win. I’m still quite on the fence between Tolvanen and Yamamoto because I think they can both contribute long-term and I can see them with the Calgary Flames long-term whereas Andersson seems like a better fit right now.
So I’ll give Tolvanen and Yamamoto a tie for now. Let’s see if someone will break this tie.