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Down On The Farm With The Manchester Monarchs: Blue Line Corps May Be Their Greatest Asset

DOWN ON THE FARM: Between goaltending and their defensive corps, the Manchester Monarchs’ greatest strength will be on their side of the red line in the 2011-12 season.


Thomas Hickey is beginning to look like he might develop
into the defenseman the Los Angeles Kings were hoping
for when they selected him with the fourth overall pick
in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.
Photo: Steve Babineau/Manchester Monarchs

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Manchester Monarchs, the primary minor league affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings, are 1-1 after their first two games of the 2011-12 season, allowing just three goals in those games. They return to action tonight against the Providence Bruins, the start of a three-games-in-three-nights road trip in which they will also face the Portland Pirates on October 15, and the Springfield Falcons on October 16.

Although no one in their right mind, would draw conclusions about a team based on just two games, especially so early in a season, the Monarchs figure to be one of the stingier teams in the American Hockey League.

Indeed, with goaltenders Martin Jones and Jeff Zatkoff expected to improve upon solid seasons in 2010-11, the rest is up to the skaters in front of them. Read more of this post

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2011 LA Kings Training Camp: Andrei Loktionov Clears The Air While Thomas Hickey, Tyler Toffoli Turn Heads

LA Kings center prospect Tyler Toffoli.
Photo: David Sheehan

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The Los Angeles Kings have completed nine on-ice days of their 2011 Training Camp, and, with their third pre-season game coming up tonight against the Anaheim Ducks (6:30 PM PDT, Staples Center), two of their young prospects have already turned some heads.

Center prospect Tyler Toffoli, the Kings’ second round selection (47th overall) in the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, has taken some big steps forward in his development over the past year, enough to win the scoring title in the Ontario Hockey League with 57 goals and 51 assists for 108 points in 68 regular season games with the Ottawa 67’s.

Although the 19-year-old native of Scarborough, Ontario got off to a bit of a slow start in the split-squad pre-season game at Phoenix on September 21, Toffoli was able to turn things up as the game went on. Read more of this post

Los Angeles Kings’ 2011 Late-Round Draft Picks Working To Beat Long Odds

EL SEGUNDO, CA — The National Hockey League Entry Draft is one huge crapshoot in terms of teams landing prospects who will make it to the NHL level to stay, let alone big stars, even for those who are lucky enough to be first round picks.

Left wing prospect Joel Lowry spoke to the media
during the Los Angeles Kings 2011 Development Camp
at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California,
July 11-12, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

For those who end up being selected in later rounds, the odds of making it to the NHL are much, much longer. Nevertheless, every so often, they not only make it to the NHL, but they thrive there.

The most notable cases in point among Kings draft picks (not including active NHL players) would be:

  • Butch Goring, Center (fifth round, 51st overall, 1969)
  • Billy Smith, Goaltender (fifth round, 59th overall, 1970)
  • Dave Taylor, Right Wing (15th round, 210th overall, 1975)
  • Mark Hardy, Defenseman (second round, 30th overall, 1979)
  • Bernie Nicholls, Center (fourth round, 73rd overall, 1980)
  • Kevin Stevens, Left Wing (sixth round, 108th overall, 1983)
  • Luc Robitaille, Left Wing (ninth round, 171st overall, 1984)
  • Rob Blake, Defenseman (fourth round, 70th overall, 1987)
  • Alexei Zhitnik, Defenseman (fourth round, 81st overall, 1991) Read more of this post

LA Kings Center Prospect Robert Czarnik Is Working Hard To Stay Out Of The Shadow

Center prospect Robert Czarnik spoke to
the media during the Los Angeles Kings 2011 Development Camp at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California, July 11-12, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

EL SEGUNDO, CA — Although he is certainly not one of the Los Angeles Kings’ prospects whose name rolls right off the tip of your tongue, center prospect Robert Czarnik is pushing to make an impact at the next level.

Czarnik, 21, is no longer eligible to play in Canada’s junior hockey leagues (he had an over-age year of eligibility left for 2010-11), so the Kings will now have to find room for him with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, their primary minor league affiliate, or with the Ontario Reign, their ECHL affiliate.

The 6-0, 185-pound native of Detroit, Michigan was selected by the Kings in the third round (63rd overall) of the 2008 National Hockey League Entry Draft, fresh out of two seasons with the United States Under-18 Team. Read more of this post

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