LA Kings Rob Blake on Prospect Brian O’Neill: “Not Big…But He Competes At The Level Of The Big Guys”

LA Kings forward prospect Brian O’Neill (#22 in white), shown here taking a wrist shot in the slot during Game 1 of the 2015 Calder Cup Final against the Utica Comets on June 6, 2015, at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

LOS ANGELES — Last April, when Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Brian O’Neill was named as the 2014-15 recipient of the Les Cunningham Award as the American Hockey League’s Most Valuable Player, if you listened carefully enough, you may have heard people asking, “who?”

Indeed, it was not until this past season that O’Neill began to appear on the radar as a legitimate Kings prospect.

“A lot of that has to do with my age, being a late bloomer, going to college and not being drafted,” said O’Neill. “[He] was a free agent signing. But I’ve been with the Kings for awhile. A lot of the guys they draft they have [been in the minors] for three or four years before they turn pro, and they’re still on everyone’s radar. But everyone advances differently in their career. My path is a little bit unique [compared to] other kids on the team. But L.A. has done a good job of bringing kids along [slowly]. Regardless of your age, they take their time with guys, and they’ve gotten really good results.”

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LA Kings LW Prospect Michael Mersch Is Powering His Way Towards The NHL

LA Kings left wing prospect Michael Mersch (left), shown here scoring in overtime of Game 1 of the 2015 Calder Cup Final against the Utica Comets on June 6, 2015, at the Verizon Wireless Center in Manchester, New Hampshire.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

LOS ANGELES — Don’t look now, folks, but the Los Angeles Kings could have a star power forward in the making down on the farm, and it might not be who you think it is.

“He’s as good as anybody in the American [Hockey] League level, and I don’t know if there’s any better at the National Hockey League level in front of the net,” said assistant general manager Rob Blake. “He’ll stay in there, stay in the battle, and he’s got a touch [for] scoring. You saw that during the season, and it increased at the end of the season, and he was very dominant throughout the playoffs.”

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Manchester Monarchs RW Tyler Toffoli Is Showing Why He’s The LA Kings’ Top Forward Prospect

LA Kings right wing prospect Tyler Toffoli, shown
here during a recent game playing for the
AHL’s Manchester Monarchs.
(click to view larger image)
Photo: Steve Babineau/Manchester Monarchs

LOS ANGELES — A little over two years ago, right wing Tyler Toffoli sat with his family in the stands at Staples Center in Los Angeles, believing that he would be selected in the first round of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

As it turned out, he was passed over by all thirty NHL teams on the first day of the draft, primarily because teams had concerns about his conditioning and his dedication to improving in that area.

“The knock on this kid was that he hadn’t started to take his conditioning as seriously as he could,” Los Angeles Kings Co-Director of Amateur Scouting Michael Futa said at the time.

Toffoli was selected in the second round (47th overall) of the 2010 draft by the Kings, who pushed the 6-0, 178-pound native of Scarborough, Ontario to improve his conditioning, along with the rest of his game. Read more of this post

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