LOS ANGELES — On June 30, the brain trusts of all thirty National Hockey League teams will gather in Newark, New Jersey to help determine the future of the league at the 2013 NHL Draft, where hockey’s best and brightest young prospects will be on the edge of their seats—along with their families—waiting for their name to be called.
The Los Angeles Kings do not have a first round selection in this draft, unless they acquire one via trade, which is not expected. The following are their picks in this year’s draft (subject to change, due to trades):
- First Round – No selection1
- Second Round – 57th overall
- Third Round – 88th overall
- Fourth Round – 96th overall2, 103rd3, 118th
- Fifth Round – 146th overall4, 148th
- Sixth Round – 178th overall
- Seventh Round – 191st overall5, 208th
As a result of the acquisition of forward Jeff Carter, from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first round pick in the 2012 or 2013 NHL Draft on February 23, 2012, the Kings do not have a first round selection in this year’s draft—Columbus chose to take the 2013 pick.
The Kings acquired a fourth round selection (96th overall) from the Carolina Hurricanes on January 13, 2013, along with forward Anthony Stewart and a sixth round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft, in exchange for forward Kevin Westgarth.
The Kings acquired a conditional pick in the 2013 NHL Draft from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for left wing Simon Gagne on February 26, 2013. With the Flyers failing to make the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs, the pick became a fourth round selection (103rd overall; it would have been a third round pick if the Flyers qualified for post-season play).
The Kings acquired a fifth round selection in the 2013 NHL Draft (103rd overall) from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for defenseman Davis Drewiske on April 2, 2013.
The Kings sent a fifth round selection in the 2013 NHL Draft to the Florida Panthers on February 7, 2013, in exchange for defenseman Keaton Ellerby. This pick was originally acquired from the New Jersey Devils on February 6, 2013, in exchange for center Andrei Loktionov. The Devils ended up trading the pick to the Buffalo Sabres.
Kings Draft Outlook
As always, the top prospects are getting all the media attention heading into the draft. Indeed, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, and Halifax Mooseheads center Nathan MacKinnon are rated as the first and second ranked prospects by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau, respectively, while others, including International Scouting Services, has MacKinnon ranked ahead of Jones. The consensus appears to be that left wing Jonathan Drouin, also of the Mooseheads, is a solid third.
But unless the Kings pull off a blockbuster deal of some sort, which is highly unlikely—and that’s understating things rather drastically—they will be sitting at their draft table, watching the first round parade go by.
Indeed, as indicated earlier, the Kings do not have a first round pick. In fact, their first pick, barring a trade, won’t come until late in the second round, 57th overall.
Given the fact that the draft is a tremendous crapshoot by the time the draft gets past the first ten picks, by the time the 57th pick rolls around, “crapshoot” might not even begin to describe things.
That said, since Dean Lombardi took over as President/General Manager in April 2006, the Kings have done very well with their picks after the first round. In fact, since the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, nine players who were drafted in rounds 2-7 have played for the Kings, and six have made a significant impact:
- Wayne Simmonds – Right Wing (now with Philadelphia; second round, 61st overall, 2007)
- Alec Martinez – Defenseman (fourth round, 95th overall, 2007)
- Dwight King – Left Wing (fourth round, 109th overall, 2007)
- Slava Voynov – Defenseman (second round, 32nd overall, 2008)
- Kyle Clifford – Left Wing (second round, 35th overall, 2009)
- Jordan Nolan – Right Wing (seventh round, 186th overall, 2009)
Another non-first-round pick, right wing Tyler Toffoli, who is expected to be an impact player at the NHL level for the Kings, was a second round selection (47th overall) in 2010.
Even last summer, although it was a first round selection, the Kings may have turned the final pick (30th overall) in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft into gold, as forward Tanner Pearson has developed faster and better than expected this past season—he could become a legitimate top six sniper in the NHL.
As such, expectations are high for the Kings to continue to come up with one or two draft picks who will make an impact with the Kings down the road, even though they do not have a first round pick, or an early second round selection.
But who might be on their radar?
With the Kings not getting their first shot until so late in the second round, there isn’t much point in trying to make a prediction. To be sure, as has been his mode of operation, Lombardi will select the best player available when their time on the clock comes. That said, the Kings’ greatest needs throughout their system (not just on the big club’s roster) are on left wing and in goal, now that goalie prospect Christopher Gibson has gone unsigned by the Kings, and has returned to his native Finland to complete his required military service. He will be eligible to re-enter the draft.
But again, keep in mind that Lombardi almost always goes for the best player available when the Kings’ time on the clock comes around—that will take precedence over organizational needs, and given that their time won’t come until so late in the second round, it’s anyone’s guess as to who they’re targeting.
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