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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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Transition To North American Game Hasn’t Been Easy For LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here during the team’s
2013-14 training camp in October 2013.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

ONTARIO, CA — While the National Hockey League is off the ice during the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, other North American leagues are still on the ice, including the ECHL, where Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn is working to hone his skills.

Almost four years ago, Kitsyn, a native of Novokuznetsk, Russia who was 18 years of age at the time, came to Los Angeles for the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, held at Staples Center. He was selected by the Kings in the sixth round (158th overall).

Back then, Kitsyn was already playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, and aside from a 32-game stint in the 2010-11 season with the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, he remained in the KHL. As a result, for many NHL followers, he was out of sight, out of mind. He became a mostly forgotten Kings prospect.

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Scott Sabourin Struggled “Big Time” After Great Training Camp With LA Kings

Los Angeles Kings right wing prospect Scott Sabourin, shown here with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Steve Babineau/Manchester Monarchs

LOS ANGELES — As reported on November 13, Los Angeles Kings right wing prospect Scott Sabourin made quite the impression on the Kings’ brain trust with his strong, surprising performance during rookie camp and training camp last September.

Sabourin was invited to the Kings’ training camp on a tryout basis after being signed to an American Hockey League deal by the Manchester Monarchs (Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, and for all intents and purposes, he came out of nowhere, almost literally.

Indeed, Sabourin’s journey through two seasons in Tier I Junior A hockey, before playing three seasons with the Oshawa Generals of the Ontario Hockey League, was not the usual road most Canadian players take to try to make it to the National Hockey League. Nevertheless, he made the best of his situation, and made a strong impression on the Kings during rookie camp and training camp last September. But that did not mean he would lock up a spot on the big club’s roster, and, as expected, he was assigned to the Monarchs on September 21, 2013.

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Playing In Traffic (No, Not Like That) Is The Plan For LA Kings LW Prospect Maxim Kitsyn

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown
here at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, June 26, 2010,
at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Since he was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (158th overall) of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, left wing Maxim Kitsyn played one season with the Mississisauga St. Michael’s Majors of the Ontario Hockey League, but has spent the vast majority of that time in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, with the Novokuznetsk Metallurg and the Nizhny Novgorod Torpedo.

In Russia, the 6-2, 194-pound left wing (right hand shot) did not seem to be much of a factor in the attacking zone—his best season in Russia was in 2008-09, when he scored five goals and added two assists for seven points in 31 games for Novokuznetsk Metallurg.

Kitsyn got his chance in Canadian major junior hockey during the 2010-11 season, scoring nine goals and tallying 17 assists for 26 points in 32 regular season games with Mississauga (now the Mississauga Steelheads). He stepped up in a big way during the playoffs, scoring ten goals and contributing nine assists for 19 points in twenty games.

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