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THREE THINGS: Oilers select Yamamoto

Three things to know about the Oilers newest first-round pick, Kailer Yamamoto

by Chris Wescott / EdmontonOilers.com Head Writer

The Oilers used their 22nd-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft to select Kailer Yamamoto from the Spokane Chiefs. Here are three things to know about the player and the pick.

Video: DRAFT | Yamamoto Behind the Scenes

1. A LOT OF SKILL

Yamamoto is one of those dynamic offensive players who can impact the game with his speed and skill.

The right-winger led his team in scoring and finished sixth in the WHL with 99 points. That total included an impressive 42 goals.

He was named to the WHL (West) Second All-Star Team.

"Kailer's skill and grit is a real interesting package," said Oilers President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Peter Chiarelli. "He gets after it on the forecheck, he knocks guys off pucks, he is small but he's strong and he's got tremendous heart and skill and to me he really stood out for us, and especially for around where we picked."

Yamamoto said his personal goal for next season is to lead the league in points.

2. HISTORIC HEIGHT

Yamamoto is not the biggest guy. In fact, he now holds the distinction of being the shortest and lightest player to ever be drafted in the first round in NHL history.

Video: 1-ON-1 | Kailer Yamamoto with Tom Gazzola

At 5-foot-7 and ¾ inches, and 148 pounds, Yamamoto is not physically imposing. But his skill set and hockey intelligence, along with his grit, allow him to compete at a high level. He models his game after a number of smaller players in the NHL today.

"I think there are a lot of role models in the League now, Johnny Gaudreau, Tyler Johnson, Mats Zuccarello and those types of guys who have paved the pathway for a smaller guy like me," said Yamamoto. "They've done a phenomenal job being those elite players still and it's unbelievable to see them have that success. I really thank them for paving the pathway for a smaller player like me."

3. THE OILERS REALLY WANTED HIM

Any time you like a player enough to trade assets to move up and take them, you know there's something special about them.

That's exactly what the Oilers looked into doing. Although they couldn't complete a deal to move up the board, the stars aligned and Yamamoto fell right into their waiting hands.

Video: THE PANEL | Post NHL Draft Day 1

"We were fortunate he was there when we picked," said Chiarelli.

The Oilers have been doing their research on Yamamoto for quite some time, speaking with him in Spokane and scouting him on the road.

"We did a lot of research on Kailer and we went out to Spokane, spent some time with him and he has an impressive family, impressive ambition, he's a very driven kid and we were real happy to select him," said Chiarelli.

The interest was mutual. Yamamoto says he was really hoping the Oilers would take him, following positive interactions at the NHL Scouting Combine earlier this month.

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