LA Kings Among Five NHL Teams Bringing AHL Affiliates To California

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The phrase, “Go West, young man!” has been around for many decades, and although it will take them 80 years, the American Hockey League is doing just that.

Indeed, it’s been in the works for years, and there has been an ever-increasing amount of talk about it over the past few years, but it all became reality on January 29, when the AHL announced that the affiliates of five National Hockey League teams will move to California to form a new Pacific Division of the AHL. The teams in this new division will begin play next season, marking the first time the AHL will have teams in California in what will be their 80-year history.

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You Might Be Wondering, “What Now,” But Not The LA Kings

LA Kings center prospect Nick Shore, shown here with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — After losing right wing Tyler Toffoli to mononucleosis, seeing left wing Tanner Pearson slide, feet first, into the end boards, suffering a fractured fibula, and knowing that the Los Angeles Kings are not playing well in their own zone, many are probably wondering…

What now?

But the Kings are not asking that question, at least, not publicly.

“It hurts losing those guys,” said defenseman Jake Muzzin. “They bring a lot of energy and a lot of offensive ability, but we’ve got other guys who can step up, no problem.”

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Dedication And Work Ethic Are Pushing LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn’s Development Forward

AUDIO: Story includes audio interviews with Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn and Ontario Reign head coach Jason Christie.


LA Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here
during the Kings’ 2014 training camp.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — Back in 2010, when the National Hockey League Entry Draft was held at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi was in a gambling mood.

For the Kings, that draft was highlighted by their selection of right wing Tyler Toffoli in the second round (47th overall).

Toffoli, now a Stanley Cup Champion, made it to the Kings to stay last season. But the Kings selected four other players in the 2010 draft, including defenseman Derek Forbort, who was their first round selection (15th overall), center Jordan Weal (third round, 70th overall), and defenseman Kevin Gravel (fifth round, 148th overall).

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LA Kings D Prospect Alex Roach Is Quickly Earning Trust, Gaining Confidence With Ontario Reign

AUDIO: Story includes audio interviews with Ontario Reign head coach Jason Christie and Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Alex Roach.


LA Kings defenseman prospect Alex Roach, shown here
during the Kings’ 2014 training camp.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — The name, Alex Roach might not be familiar, but if he plays his cards right, and if the Los Angeles Kings guessed right back in 2011, he might be wearing a Kings jersey in a few years.

Roach, a left-shot defenseman prospect, played four seasons for the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League, but was not drafted by a National Hockey League team. He was, however, invited to the Kings’ 2011 training camp, and turned enough heads to earn a three-year, entry-level contract, signed on September 26, 2011.

Roach played three more seasons with the Hitmen after that, and had a five-game stint with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign (Kings ECHL affiliate) at the end of the 2013-14 season.

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LA Kings 2012 First Round Pick Tanner Pearson Just Missed Being a 7th Round Pick In 2011

FROZEN ROYALTY EXCLUSIVE: Did you know that, if not for one, critical decision back in 2011, Los Angeles Kings rookie sensation Tanner Pearson could easily still be toiling away in the minor leagues, getting limited ice time (and limited development) on the third or fourth line with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, and that he, and the Kings, might not have won the 2014 Stanley Cup Championship because of that? Indeed, that was very nearly the case. Part 1 of a two-part series.


LA Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here celebrating the team’s 2014 Stanley Cup Championship with his family on the ice at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 13, 2014.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — During the Los Angeles Kings’ remarkable 26-game run through the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, culminating in their second Stanley Cup Championship in the last three seasons, rookie left wing Tanner Pearson seemed to come out of nowhere, scoring four goals and contributing eight assists for twelve points, while playing on a line with right wing Tyler Toffoli and center Jeff Carter to make up what became known as the “That 70’s Line.”

That line gave the Kings a whole new look up front, and, in particular, gave the Chicago Blackhawks fits during the 2014 Western Conference Final—they had no answer for them.

For his part, Pearson used speed that had not been seen from him prior to the post-season to get to loose pucks and set up his line mates time and time again. In the end, the result was becoming a Stanley Cup Champion at the age of 21, and in just his first season in the National Hockey League.

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