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 over-age 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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Sutter Issues Challenge To LA Kings Center Prospect Nick Shore

AUDIO: Includes an interview with Los Angeles Kings center prospect Nick Shore.

LA Kings center prospect Nick Shore, shown here at a recent practice.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/

EL SEGUNDO, CA — On March 2, 2015, a day when 24 trades involving 43 players were made in the National Hockey League, the Los Angeles Kings decided to stand pat, having already acquired veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera on February 25, in exchange for a conditional first round draft pick and defenseman prospect Roland McKeown.

With no trade deadline deals to analyze, let’s take a look at center Nick Shore, who is working to lock down a permanent roster spot with the Kings during what has become a huge struggle to make the playoffs.

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LA Kings LW Prospect Maxim Kitsyn: “It’s Just Me. I Have To Be Better…It’s Not Anybody Else”

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here
playing for the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When we last checked in with Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn in December 2014, his head coach said that “he wills his way, every shift.”

A couple of months later, that hasn’t changed.

“You know [that] when he puts on the uniform, he’s going to give you 110 percent,” said Jason Christie, head coach of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ current ECHL affiliate. “You see him out there—he works, he competes. That’s why he got a call up—because he battles. He’s determined. I think that’s the biggest thing—how determined he is, as a player.”

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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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