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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
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Los Angeles Kings Right Wing Prospect Linden Vey’s Goal Is To Get Out Of The Cold

Center prospect Linden Vey 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 — With the Los Angeles Kings having been so keenly focused on amateur scouting and drafting young players since Dean Lombardi took over as President/General Manager on April 21, 2006, the team now has a stable full of talented prospects.

Indeed, no matter what position you look at, the Kings have skilled, young players who are developing in Canadian junior leagues, in collegiate hockey, and at the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.

On the offensive side of the ledger, the Kings have a few forward prospects who lit up Canadian junior hockey, finishing among the top scorers in their respective leagues, if not leading all junior leagues in scoring. 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

Despite Long Odds, LA Kings Prospects Jordan Weal And Tyler Toffoli Have Sights Set On The NHL For 2011-12

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the Los Angeles Kings having acquired two, top-six forwards this summer in center Mike Richards and left wing Simon Gagne, their top two lines appear to be set for the 2011-12 season.

Center prospect Jordan Weal 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

Add to that the fact that the Kings have role players up front who are returning, it is safe to presume that all available positions on their forward lines have been filled, which means that, barring unforeseen circumstances, it is more than likely that there no available roster spots for any of their up-and-coming forward prospects.

Despite the astronomical odds against making it onto the Kings’ opening night roster, two of their young prospects, centers Jordan Weal from the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League and Tyler Toffoli from the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League, have their sights set firmly on the National Hockey League for the 2011-12 season.

Read more of this post

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