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2017 NHL Draft: Kailer Yamamoto’s small stature shouldn’t scare Sharks

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The Sharks can take advantage of other teams’ fears.

Spokane Chiefs v Calgary Hitmen Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images

The last high-scoring, undersized Spokane Chiefs prospect went undrafted. The same fate that befell 5-foot-8 Tyler Johnson is unlikely to happen to 5-foot-9 Kailer Yamamoto.

With 99 points in 65 games this season, Yamamoto finished sixth in the WHL in points, and fourth among draft-eligible players. It was the second straight season in which Yamamoto scored over a point-per-game, who now has 227 points in 190 WHL games.

Size has mattered not for Yamamoto, as his dynamic offensive skillset has compensated for his lack of size. He’s also performed well in competition against players in his age group, scoring over a point per game in the Ivan Hilinka Memorial Tournament and the under-18 World Junior Championships a season ago.

Because of this, he’s drawn favorable comparisons to Johnson, whose mother taught Yamamoto how to skate, as well as Calgary Flames winger Johnny Gaudreau,If Yamamoto were bigger, he’d likely be a can’t-miss prospect, and drafted long before the Sharks’ first round selection, the 19th overall pick.

But his lack of size has caused him to slip into the mid-20s on many draft boards. That certainly represents an element of risk, and one that San Jose may not be willing to take. For a system lacking high-end offensive talent, Yamamoto’s potential will be difficult to pass up.

Plus, the Sharks can potentially take advantage of other teams’ trepidation. Yamamoto will likely still be on the board when San Jose selects, as well as a few picks after. The Sharks do not have picks in the second, third, or fourth rounds this year, nor in the second and third round next year, so trading down a couple picks and selecting Yamamoto represents a chance to re-stock the cupboard in multiple ways.

The Basics

Name: Kailer Yamamoto

Position: Center/Left Wing

Nationality: United States

Shoots: Right

DOB: September 29, 1998

Height: 5’9”

Weight (lbs): 159

2016-17: Spokane Chiefs (WHL)

2015-16: Spokane Chiefs

2014-15: Spokane Chiefs

Rankings

ISS Hockey: 26

Future Considerations: 15

McKeen’s Hockey: 24

NHL Central Scouting (North America): 17

Strengths

  • Highly skilled
  • Vision
  • Strong, fast skater

Areas of improvement

  • Must add size
  • Defensive game

Highlight Reel