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) finished sixth in the WHL with 99 points (42 goals, 57 assists) in 65 games in his third WHL season. The right-shot forward has offered to maintain a monthly draft diary for NHL.com leading to the 2017 draft in Chicago. His March post comes at the end of WHL regular season.
Hi hockey fans.
Our season ended March 19 with a 7-2 win at Portland. We failed to qualify for the WHL playoffs and that was disappointing.
I had an opportunity to play on a line with my brother, Keanu, against Portland and that was great. It was his last game in the WHL. My goal for the game was to try to help get him a hat trick but I couldn't do that. He had two goals midway through the second period but couldn't get that last one. I was with him and Riley McKay on a line all game and it was very special to have that moment with my brother.
I knew entering the game that I needed four points to reach 100 for the season, but I wasn't really thinking about it. I finished with three points so I ended the season with 99.
For our team, I thought we had a good overall season. We had our ups and downs and I think we had some key injuries that ended up hurting us down the stretch. Other than that, we did put up a good showing despite how young we were.
A lot of players helped me this season, helped me evolve as a player. I'm thankful for what they did. In the end I thought I had a good season. I know the way I have to play every game. I may have a bit of a bull's-eye on my back but it doesn't change the fact that I need to compete harder than everybody on the ice. Having a little bit of skill helps me too, but I think it's what's inside. I don't think my size matters, because if I compete harder than everyone else I play against that'll work out good for me.
Now that the season is over, I'm going to take some time out and then start working out again. Hopefully if I'm invited to the NHL Scouting Combine, I'll do well there before enjoying the 2017 NHL Draft with my family.
I realize the combine isn't something you just can walk into cold and expect to do something good. So I definitely think I'll be preparing for that real soon to get ready for it.
Until next month, thanks for reading everyone.