Whenever Kailer Yamamoto scores a goal for the Edmonton Oilers, you can give an assist to Brad Malone.
“He’s one of the best vets I’ve played with, both as a teammate and a friend,” said Yamamoto of Malone. “He’s taught me a lot. I roomed with him on the road. I took notes on how he prepares for games, how he takes care of his body.”
Yamamoto, 21, has five points in seven games since being called up from the Bakersfield Condors on Dec. 29. Malone, 30, continues to be a veteran presence on the Condors.
“We spent a lot of time together away from the rink,” said Malone. “When you turn 30, guys think you know a little more than they do. It’s been a good friendship we’ve created over the last couple of years.”
When Yamamoto was called up, there was no one happier than Malone.
“One thing he told me: ‘I’d love to see you again but I don’t want to see you again. I hope you stick up there,'” said Yamamoto. “Definitely love that guy.”
Malone has played in 199 NHL games, but only 23 in the last four-and-half seasons. He knows part of his role now is to help the next generation of Oilers.
“I’m more of a lead-by-example type of guy,” explained Malone. “If you’re a good teammate, you want to get to know everybody on a level outside of Xs and Os and system play.”
“A guy like Brad, he spent enough time in the NHL he knows what it takes to be here. He knows the commitment it takes,” said Oilers head coach Tippett.
“It speaks volumes about a guy like that who is willing to take young guys under their wing and mentor them a little bit and are really happy when they do get their shot at the NHL. As an organization, those guys are invaluable. You have to have those guys to help you along the way.”
The Oilers play their final game before their bye week and All-Star break Saturday afternoon against the Arizona Coyotes. Catch the Face-off Show on 630 CHED at 11:30 a.m. The game starts at 1 p.m.