BAKERSFIELD, CA - "Make the team and stay with them."
That was Kailer Yamamoto's response when asked about his goal come Oilers Main Camp in September.
Short. Sweet. To the point.
During the Bakersfield Condors Exit Interviews on Wednesday, the 2017 first-round pick was just six days removed from undergoing successful wrist surgery. While Yamamoto will use most of the summer to recover and rehab, the 5-foot-8 forward will look to continue "playing aggressive and getting into the dirty areas" come next season.
"Obviously, it was unfortunate to get injured but I'm just trying to get healthy again and get back to 100 percent," Yamamoto said. "I think we're looking at a little ways out before I can start rehab. I'm trying to get to rehab as quick as possible.
"Hopefully by August, I'll be 100 percent and get it going."
Video: CONDORS | Kailer Yamamoto 05.15.19
Along with regaining physical form, Yamamoto identified a mental aspect of the game where he hopes to see improvement and gave an honest assessment of his first full year as a pro.
"I just have to play with more confidence next year," said Yamamoto after scoring 18 points (10G, 8A) in 28 games with the Condors. "It gets a little shaken up going up and down [between Edmonton and Bakersfield]. If I can keep that confidence throughout the whole year, that will be huge for me.
"It was still a really fun year. I got called up a couple of times in Edmonton, got called back down and spent a majority of my time down here [in Bakersfield] and it's been a lot of fun. The guys have been unbelievable. You can see it in that locker room with how well we did this year."
Video: CONDORS | Exit Interviews 05.15.19
Bakersfield finished the season with a 42-21-3-2 record this season, capturing the Western Conference crown in the regular season. The Condors were eliminated from the 2019 Calder Cup Playoffs on Monday in Game 6 of the Pacific Division Finals against the San Diego Gulls.
Yamamoto appeared in 17 games for the Oilers this season, scoring his first NHL goal on Oct 18 against the Boston Bruins. The Spokane, WA native also added an assist and 13 shots while averaging 13:04 TOI with Edmonton.