LA Kings’ Rob Blake On Jordan Weal: “There’s Not A Lot of Players Like That Around”

LA Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal (center, shooting)
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

PROSPECT WATCH: Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal went from a player with loads of doubt on his shoulders due to his size to one who dominated at the American Hockey League level. But will he be able to translate that to the National Hockey League? Audio interviews with Weal and Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake are included. Final installment of a two-part story. Don’t miss Part 1, From Doubts To Dominating: LA Kings F Prospect Jordan Weal Has Risen To The Top Of The AHL.


LOS ANGELES — As reported in the first installment of this story on July 24, Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal has ascended to the top of the American Hockey League as a dominant player who was one of the AHL’s top scorers this past season and its Most Valuable Player during the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, leading his team, the Manchester Monarchs, to the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

But the Kings’ third round selection (70th overall) in the 2010 National Hockey League Draft was obviously not chosen to play in the minor leagues. After all, NHL teams do not draft players who have no hope of ever plyaing at the NHL level. Nevertheless, even after three years with the Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate (which will become the AHL’s Ontario Reign in the coming season), as with the vast majority of young prospects, questions abound.

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From Doubts To Dominating: LA Kings F Prospect Jordan Weal Has Risen To The Top Of The AHL

PROSPECT WATCH: Frozen Royalty takes a close look at Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal, who could join the Kings in the coming season. In this story, Weal looked back on his 2014-15 season, including winning the 2015 Calder Cup Championship. Part 1 of a two-part story.


LA Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

LOS ANGELES — When forward Jordan Weal was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round (70th overall) of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the first reaction many observers had regarding the native of North Vancouver, British Columbia was a high degree to skepticism because of his scant, 5-10, 162-pound frame—they were convinced that he would be tossed around like the proverbial rag doll at the professional level.

Since then, Weal spent two more seasons with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (he played an overage year with Regina in 2011-12) before moving up to the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate (which will become the AHL’s Ontario Reign in the 2015-16 season).

Weal went on to play three full seasons with the Monarchs, and like most young prospects coming out of major junior hockey in Canada, he had a lot to learn, and did not get much ice time early in his first season in the AHL.

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LA Kings G Prospect J.F. Berube Is Pushing For Job With The Big Club In 2015-16

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Also included are raw audio interviews with J.F. Berube and Los Angeles Kings goaltending coach Bill Ranford.


LA Kings goaltender prospect J.F. Berube (left) and Kim Dillabaugh (right)
who handled goaltender development for the Kings (now with the
Philadelphia Flyers), shown here during a practice session on
May 8, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — On June 26, hours before the first round of the 2015 National Hockey League Draft was scheduled to begin, the Los Angeles Kings had already made quite the splash, acquiring winger Milan Lucic from the Boston Bruins in exchange for goaltender Martin Jones, defenseman Colin Miller and a first round pick (13th overall) in the 2015 draft (defenseman Jakub Zboril).

After the deal was finalized, Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi spoke with the media about the trade and he indicated that one of the reasons he was able to make the deal was that, “…we’ve got a backup goalie now.”

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Leadership Skills Give Zac Leslie, Valentin Zykov A Boost At LA Kings Development Camp

AUDIO: Interviews with Los Angeles Kings prospects Zac Leslie and Valentin Zykov are included.


LA Kings right wing prospect Valentin Zykov
(click above for larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When most people who follow the National Hockey League look at a team’s prospects coming up through their system, the focus is almost exclusively on a particular player’s development, in terms of how they are improving their play.

But equally important in player development is how they handle themselves off the ice, and especially in terms of intangible qualities that can either benefit or hurt a player, especially a young, up-and-coming one.

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LA Kings Do Development Camp Differently

AUDIO: Story includes audio interviews with Nelson Emerson and Mike O’Connell from the Los Angeles Kings development staff.


LA Kings Director of Player Development Nelson Emerson
(click above for larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Years ago, the Los Angeles Kings ran their annual summer Development Camp for their young prospects as many National Hockey League clubs still do: focusing on the on-ice part of the game, including lots of scrimmage time. Some teams emphasize the scrimmage portion of their development camps, using that to retain and increase fan interest during the off-season lull. Some teams even go so far as to make their development camp scrimmages enough of a spectacle in which fans buy tickets to watch the games.

In the early years of their Development Camp, the Kings did that, too. But as Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi built his team into a two-time Stanley Cup Champion in recent years, their Development Camp has evolved into one that stresses off-ice instruction and training as much or more than on-ice instruction and drills. In fact, over the past handful of years, it has not been uncommon for the Kings to not play a scrimmage at all during their Development Camp. On top of that, their camp is so low-key that the team does not announce exact starting times for on-ice sessions, and only one day is designated as “media day,” when the local media are granted access to the prospects and the development staff for interviews.

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