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. Yamamoto (5-foot-7, 153 pounds) has 28 goals and 59 points in 39 games in his third season with the Chiefs. The forward has offered to maintain a monthly draft diary for NHL.com leading up to the 2017 draft in Chicago. His January post comes after the release of NHL Central Scouting's midterm rankings, and prior to games against Kootenay on Saturday and Everett on Monday. Yamamoto will play for Team Bobby Orr at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City on Jan. 30.
I was really excited to be ranked on NHL Central Scouting's midterm list of North American skaters. It gives me a lot of motivation. I would have never thought, growing up, that I would one day be No. 17 on that list so it's a big confidence boost. But I definitely want to improve my draft stock and keep moving up the ladder while helping my team.
I try not to look too much into the rankings. It really comes down to whoever wants me on draft day but all the guys on the team are really happy. I saw Jaret Anderson-Dolan and he was ranked No. 40 on the list and the guys were all really happy for him to get there too, so it's definitely nice. But I'll try to block it out now and keep working on my skills to get better every day.
The guys have been helping me out a lot this year and I think it's been a roller coaster with all the trades and the release of some guys. But the new players who have come in have really helped me. They really adapted to our game style and it's been good so far.
We've hit a little slump here (with six straight losses) but coach Don Nachbaur has been honest about our structure. We definitely need to start playing more of a structured game. We've been getting away from that. We were really good early in the season but after Christmas, I think we started straying away from it a little bit. I think if we just focus on our structure and if everyone competes their hardest, we'll be good for the rest of the season.
The CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game is coming up at the end of this month and I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be an unbelievable experience and I can't wait to play in Quebec City. I think I remember playing there when I was really young in a Pee Wee tournament. So I'm looking forward to going back. The fans are crazy there and it'll be a lot of fun.
Knowing I might have an opportunity to meet Bobby Orr is something I'm really looking forward to as well. He's definitely one player I look up to. It'll be surreal to meet one of the greatest players to ever play in the NHL.
I'm going into the game ready to play my game. It'll be a hard game but if I feel if I do that I might be able to raise my draft stock but I know it won't be easy. All the players participating are very good and I think it's going to be one heck of a game.
Thanks for reading!