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BLOG: Don't sleep on Yamamoto

After posting 26 points in 27 games, ranked Yamamoto as the No. 1 'sleeper pick' for fantasy owners heading into the post-season

by Tony Brar /

EDMONTON, AB - Let's face it, we've all been there

You're scrambling through your notes and various playoff pool magazines with time expiring, hoping to get that one pick to push your team to fantasy glory.

Then, you immediately regret your decision, saying to yourself, "I should have gone with the other guy."

Don't be that person. Not this year.

Pro tip: have Kailer Yamamoto circled on your draft board.

On Tuesday, released their fantasy sleepers ahead of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers. After posting 26 points (11G, 15A) in 27 games since his Dec. 29 recall, Yamamoto topped the list.

Tweet from @NHL: If you're looking for fantasy sleepers heading into the #StanleyCup Qualifiers, @kailer_yamamoto should be on your radar.Listen to @NHLFantasy on Ice ������

The 21-year-old has been a constant fixture on the right side of Leon Draisaitl. The league's leading point-getter has often credited Yamamoto for playing bigger than his size (5-foot-8, 153 pounds) and willing to get to the dirty areas to help his team win hockey games.

"I think his game is that 'modern game,'" Draisaitl said post-practice on Thursday. "He's feisty, he plays on the inside. With that, he has the ability to make plays - the little plays that are hard to make in the NHL nowadays.

"He's helped our team be a lot deeper. We've built some chemistry."

With his breakthrough, Yamamoto has also made his head coach's job just a little easier.

"He gave us some depth to break up Connor and Leon," said Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett. "It changed the complexion of our team.

"I give him credit, he played very well coming in. When we brought him in, we didn't realize he was going to be a mainstay on the second line with Leon. It kind of evolved as his play dictated that."

Video: RAW | Dave Tippett 07.30.20

By having "two good lines" to deploy, the Oilers enjoyed "a much better second half" according to Tippett.

Well, the numbers don't lie. After a 20-17-4 start to the season, the Oilers went 17-8-5 after Yamamoto's call-up.

But if you were to ask any player or coach in the Oilers locker room, they'd tell you that the only number that matters is 19 - as in the Oilers need 19 more wins to capture the franchise's sixth Stanley Cup beginning on Saturday.

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