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A Glimpse At The Critical Role Development Has Played In LA Kings’ Championships

Former NHL defenseman and general manager Mike O’Connell (standing) instructs LA Kings prospects during the team’s 2014 Development Camp on July 8, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California.
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

2014 DEVELOPMENT CAMP: Frozen Royalty begins its coverage of the Los Angeles Kings’ 2014 Development Camp with a story on what the team is trying to accomplish during their annual camp for their young prospects and the impact their development staff has had on the team’s success. ALSO: listen to an audio interview with former Kings left wing Mike Donnelly, now on the team’s development and scouting staffs.


EL SEGUNDO, CA — The hockey world is now in what should probably be known as The Dreaded Lull, that period between the height of unrestricted free agent signings on July 1, and the start of National Hockey League training camps in mid-September, a period when it seems like everything related to the game has been sucked into a black hole.

The result: hockey fans are bored out of their minds, clamoring for any little tidbit of something hockey-related to help them survive the two-and-a-half months before training camps open.

Something that helps fans cope is that NHL teams now have development camps for their young prospects in July and August, giving fans and hockey media alike something to chew on during The Dreaded Lull, and the Los Angeles Kings are no exception.

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Los Angeles Kings 2014 NHL Draft Preview

LOS ANGELES — Whether it is defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts (Ontario Hockey League), center Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL), center Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice (Western Hockey League), or center Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) who winds up as the first overall selection in the 2014 National Hockey League Draft, unless some way-out-of-left-field trade happens, the Los Angeles Kings will not be adding that player to the fold, or any of the top prospects, for that matter.

Indeed, that is the price of success. After winning the Stanley Cup on June 13, the Kings move all the way down to 29th in the first round of the thirty-team draft. The only reason they did not move to 30th is because of the sanctions handed down to the New Jersey Devils for salary cap circumvention when they signed forward Ilya Kovalchuk—the Devils will pick last in the first round instead of 11th.

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Chicago Blackhawks May Not Have An Answer For LA Kings “That 70’s Line”

LA Kings right wing Tyler Toffoli celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal in the second period of his team’s 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 of the 2014 Western Conference Finals at Staples Center
in Los Angeles on May 24, 2014.

LOS ANGELES AND EL SEGUNDO, CA — Prior to the start of the 2014 Western Conference Final, much of the talk was about the upcoming battle between two of the top centers in the National Hockey League, Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings, and Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Conventional wisdom dictated that for whichever player won the battle between them, their team would win the series.

So far, the advantage goes to Toews.

Indeed, Kopitar has contributed just one assist in the series so far, and his line mates, left wing Marian Gaborik and forward Dustin Brown, have been held without a point in the series by Toews’ line, with Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa on the wings.

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LA Kings Rookie LW Tanner Pearson Is Flying As High As His Confidence Has Soared

AUDIO INTERVIEWS: Listen to audio from May 7 interviews with Tanner Pearson, Drew Doughty, Jarret Stoll and head coach Darryl Sutter.


LA Kings rookie left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here during practice on May 7, 2014, at the Toyota Sports Center in EL Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/FrozenRoyalty.net

EL SEGUNDO, CA — In case you haven’t noticed, Los Angeles Kings rookie left wing Tanner Pearson has been flying during the playoffs…almost literally. He has been more effective during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs than at any point during the regular season, making plays and using his speed, which, all of a sudden, appears to be his most dangerous weapon.

Conventional wisdom suggests that a young player like the 21-year-old Pearson should find it more difficult to be effective in the National Hockey League playoffs than it was during the regular season. Nevertheless, the converse has been true for Pearson, who has scored a goal and has contributed three assists for four points, with a +5 plus/minus rating and four penalty minutes in seven playoff games.

Compared to this time last year when Pearson played just 5:44 in Game 3 against the San Jose Sharks, the 6-1, 200-pound native of Kitchener, Ontario has come a long way in just one season.

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