The Edmonton Oilers have a curious case in front of them.
Right now they’re playing like one of the best teams in the league, but a team that’s has a major lack of secondary scoring.
It’s reminiscent of last year’s struggles. So much so that nobody in the Oilers bottom-six beyond Joakim Nygard (one goal) has a goal.
It’s a problem that needs to addressed for the long-term success of the club. Successful teams can’t just rely on their stars for all of their scoring.
The conversation, so it seems, has transitioned to calling up 21-year-old Kailer Yamamoto from the Bakersfield Condors.
Nearly everywhere he’s gone in his career, he’s been able to put up points. Whether it was 64 points in his final 40 WHL games, or 18 points in 27 games in the AHL last season.
Truth be told, though, two stints in Edmonton have been some of the only times in his career where he struggled to put up points in a similar fashion.
In his 26 NHL games, he’s posted five points. Not what you need from a former first-round pick, but not terrible either.
The promising news, however, is that his time in the NHL saw some fantastic underlying numbers with a 54.8 CF% and an xGF% of 53.01. Since his stints in Edmonton, he’s produced a solid clip in the AHL of 23 points in 34 games played giving him an NHL equivalency of 27 points per 82 games.
Ken Holland has historically been a fan of allowing the overripening of young prospects and it’s been something that’s worked in the past for the Detroit Red Wings.
Right now, if the Oilers were to recall Yamamoto, it would be to fill in a bottom-six role — an area where, as I mentioned, there has been no scoring from. Those are some lofty expectations for a 21-year-old who has struggled to produce in the big leagues thus far.
And that’s a major concern for me. Yamamoto’s confidence is beginning to rapidly build and indications are that he’s developing not only a strong two-way game, but also confidence in the offensive zone.
Right now, it’s probably best that Yamamoto continues to spend time in the American Leagues where he can continue developing at a rapid clip.
But truth be told if we’re sitting here in a few months and the Oilers bottom-six woes have yet to be answered, you very well could see him in an Edmonton Oilers jersey.
On Twitter: @zjlaing