LA Kings’ Rob Blake On Jordan Weal: “There’s Not A Lot of Players Like That Around”

LA Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal (center, shooting)
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

PROSPECT WATCH: Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal went from a player with loads of doubt on his shoulders due to his size to one who dominated at the American Hockey League level. But will he be able to translate that to the National Hockey League? Audio interviews with Weal and Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake are included. Final installment of a two-part story. Don’t miss Part 1, From Doubts To Dominating: LA Kings F Prospect Jordan Weal Has Risen To The Top Of The AHL.


LOS ANGELES — As reported in the first installment of this story on July 24, Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal has ascended to the top of the American Hockey League as a dominant player who was one of the AHL’s top scorers this past season and its Most Valuable Player during the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, leading his team, the Manchester Monarchs, to the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

But the Kings’ third round selection (70th overall) in the 2010 National Hockey League Draft was obviously not chosen to play in the minor leagues. After all, NHL teams do not draft players who have no hope of ever plyaing at the NHL level. Nevertheless, even after three years with the Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate (which will become the AHL’s Ontario Reign in the coming season), as with the vast majority of young prospects, questions abound.

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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 overage 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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Dedication, Determination Continue To Drive LA Kings Prospect Maxim Kitsyn Forward

LA Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn (number 13), shown here with the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When Frozen Royalty last checked in with Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Maxim Kitsyn, who is playing for the Kings’ current ECHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, his determination to improve was the thing that stood out the most.

As the 2014-15 season nears its conclusion, the 6-4, 202-pound native of Novokuznetzk, Russia, remains as determined as ever.

“He’s a quality person, and you like working with kids like that because they’ve got that focus, drive and determination to get better,” said Reign head coach Jason Christie.

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Ontario Reign Look Anything But Regal In Game 5 Loss To Allen Americans In 2015 ECHL West Finals

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

ONTARIO, CA — On a night when their opposition, the Allen Americans, were on the brink of elimination from the ECHL’s 2015 Western Conference Finals, and knowing that their team was just one win away from reaching the 2015 Kelly Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, the Ontario Reign looked anything but regal.

Instead, the Reign were soundly beaten in Game 5 on Sunday night, 6-2, in front of 4,371 fans at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California.

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Win Four Tickets To Ontario Reign’s First Home Game of 2015 Western Conference Finals

Image courtesy Ontario Reign

With the Los Angeles Kings having missed the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs, it has been tough for many Los Angeles hockey fans, especially after having gotten accustomed to great success, with the team having two Stanley Cup Championships in the previous three seasons.

Indeed, Kings fans now expect to see their team as, not only one of the 16 teams who make the playoffs, but as one of the teams that makes a deep run towards winning the Stanley Cup.

Even though that isn’t happening this season, both of the Kings’ minor league affiliates have made it all the way to their respective conference finals, just eight wins away from a championship. Here in Southern California, the Kings’ ECHL affiliate the Ontario Reign, opens the Western Conference Finals against the Allen Americans (affiliate of the San Jose Sharks) in Allen, Texas, with Games 1 and 2 on May 17 and 18.

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