2017 Draft Prospect Profile: Kailer Yamamoto

Could the Blue Jackets add another small forward?

Kailer Yamamoto Draft Profile

Birthday: 09-29-1998
Birthplace: Spokane, WA
Position: Center and left wing
Height: 5’8”
Weight: 159 pounds
Shoots: Right
Current team: Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

“A small forward with a goal scoring touch gets drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets.” How many times have we seen variations of that over the last few years? Guys like Cam Atkinson, Vitaly Abramov, and Oliver Bjorkstrand have found homes in Columbus and thrived in an environment that makes the most of their talents.

Yamamoto is another one of these players. At a diminutive 5’8” and 159 pounds, Yamamoto has shown an ability to score, and score often. Last season, in 65 games for the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL, Yamamoto registered 42 goals and 57 assists.  In 190 career WHL games, he registered 84-143-227.

Would he fit in Columbus? It’s pretty clear that Yamamoto would not fit right now: we have two small goal scorers on the roster. In 3 or 4 years, though, Cam Atkinson may be coming to the end of his next contract and may be on the downside of his career, or he may be out of Columbus entirely. At that time, Yamamoto could be poised to take his spot on the roster. Given some time to season his game in the AHL, Yamamoto could contribute in several years.

Scouting Reports

Yamamoto has the ability to dance the puck like his comparable small American player, Johnny Gaudreau. His skating ability and his passing ability has developed along with his ability to read the game. But despite all this, he’s fallen in some draft rankings due to his size. - Raw Charge

The best example of the size bias comes when you compare Yamamoto to fellow WHL prospect Michael Rasumussen. 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. - Blogger’s Tribune


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