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Passed Up Twice On Draft Day, LA Kings Prospect Tanner Pearson Reaches NHL Ice Faster Than Expected

VIDEO: Includes exclusive video of the May 19 media interview with Tanner Pearson.


EL SEGUNDO, CA — After watching young left wing prospect Tanner Pearson make his National Hockey League debut on May 18 against the San Jose Sharks in a second round playoff game is quite the surprise. After all, it was not all that long ago that his future in hockey was rather murky, and that’s putting it mildly.

Indeed, even though he became eligible for the NHL Draft in 2010, he went undrafted for two years before the Los Angeles Kings selected him in the first round (30th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.

In fact, Pearson’s career in Canadian junior hockey did not have an auspicious start, as the vast majority of legitimate NHL prospects coming out of Canada go right to major junior hockey at 16 years of age. Although Pearson was selected by the Barrie Colts in the 2008 Ontario Hockey League Priority Draft, the fourth round (266th overall) selection saw the writing on the wall.

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Dean Lombardi Says LA Kings Have “Lucked Out” With 2012 First Round Draft Pick Tanner Pearson

LOS ANGELES — This past summer, the Los Angeles Kings had the misfortune of selecting last in the first round of the 2012 National Hockey League Draft.

Of course, selecting last in the first round is the “privilege” that every Stanley Cup Champion earns for upcoming draft, and as you probably surmised, the Kings were not complaining after they won the first Stanley Cup Championship in the 45-year history of the franchise on June 11, 2012.

Most pundits would tell you that, more often than not, the draft is a huge crap shoot after the first handful of picks, and no one expected the Kings to get an impact player with the 30th overall selection.

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LA Kings Forward Prospect Linden Vey Is On The Right Side of the Puck In Second Season With Manchester Monarchs

LOS ANGELES — Scoring 28 goals with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League this season, right wing prospect Tyler Toffoli was so good in the AHL, that he was named to the AHL’s All-Rookie Team on April 10, and as the Outstanding Rookie on April 12.

Even more impressive is that Toffoli was so good that he received those accolades even though he has been with the National Hockey League’s Los Angeles Kings since March 10.

With the Monarchs, Toffoli played on a line with fellow Kings prospects, forwards Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson, and they scorched the rest of the AHL.

“It was just something where I think we’re all smart players, skilled players, and [each of us] brings something different to the line,” said Vey, who was selected by the Kings in the fourth round (96th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. “We kind of complement each other, and for the time Toffoli was here, we just went on a run.”

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LA Kings’ Dean Lombardi Sent Simon Gagne Back To His Roots In Trade With Philadelphia Flyers

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Shortly after the media left the Los Angeles Kings dressing room following their off-ice workout/optional skate on February 26, those of us who cover the team had to go into scramble mode, shifting away from the usual after-practice news and feature story angles, to the Kings trading away an established star in the National Hockey League.

Indeed, left wing Simon Gagne, who signed with the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on July 2, 2011, was dealt to the Philadelphia Flyers, where he began his career in 1999, in exchange for a conditional pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

If the Flyers make the playoffs this season, the Kings will get a third round pick in return. But if the Flyers fail to qualify for the post-season, the Kings will get a fourth round pick.

“Simon is an experienced veteran who will help us in a lot of areas,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. “We are glad to have him back.”

Holmgren told the media during a conference call that due to some key injuries, he was looking to add some skill and depth up front. He also indicated that under normal circumstances, the Flyers would not be able to acquire Gagne due to salary cap considerations. However, with a couple of players on long-term injured reserve, they were able to make the deal.

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