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NHL Draft

2017 Draft diary: Kailer Yamamoto

Forward trying to help Spokane reach WHL playoffs

by Kailer Yamamoto / Special to

Kailer Yamamoto, No. 17 on NHL Central Scouting's list of the top North American skaters eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, plays for Spokane of the Western Hockey League. The 18-year-old Yamamoto (5-foot-7, 153 pounds) has 32 goals and 73 points in 50 games in his third season with Spokane. The right-handed shot has offered to maintain a monthly draft diary for leading up to the draft in Chicago, to be held June 23-24. His February post comes prior to games at Kelowna on Friday and at Tri-City on Saturday.

Hello hockey fans,

It's definitely in the back of our mind to make the Western Hockey League playoffs. Right now we're eight points behind Portland for the second wild card in the Western Conference. I certainly want the best for our team; we're getting a little nervous but we're working our hardest to win games and sneak into the playoffs.

It's been a tough year; we are a young team. We've had our struggles, had our ups and downs. It seems we'll win one or two games in a row, but can't get that third one. We're working toward that and it's been getting better. I think for the rest of the season, if we continue to work hard, good things will happen.

One of my personal goals at the start of the year was to reach 35 goals. I'm at 32 goals now so hopefully I can sneak in three more by the end of the season. Another goal was to be one of the top players in the WHL and the other was to see my team make the playoffs and then win the Memorial Cup. We're still working toward [the playoffs] but we still have a good shot at accomplishing that one.

I just think me and my linemates, Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Riley Woods, have been clicking. Our line has been really good as of late, and we've been finding each other on the ice. I think hard work on the ice has been really helping us. I have good chemistry with both players because they bring a lot. They bring scoring, finesse, hard work and compete. Really everything you need to have on a good line and I hope it continues down the stretch.

Finally, I wanted to say how special it was to play in the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City last month. It was a class job by the Canadian Hockey League. I learned so much and gained an understanding on how to play at that next level with all those great players. I learned what it takes to be around all those players and I had a lot of confidence coming back to Spokane.

I thought the on-ice testing was pretty hard. Those stamina tests were tough and playing and competing with those players was great. It was one of best moments of the season.

Thank you for checking in this month!

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