Nic Dowd Looks Like A Lock To Make LA Kings Roster in 2016-17

Ontario Reign center and Los Angeles Kings prospect Nic Dowd
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — Looking ahead to the 2016-17 National Hockey League season, the Los Angeles Kings are going to look quite different after a more than disappointing and unceremonious end to their 2015-16 season when they were soundly beaten in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, who dispatched them in just five games.

The Kings have open roster spots heading into the new season, and one young prospect who is likely to make the big club’s opening night roster is 26-year-old center Nic Dowd, who has played for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate the last two seasons.

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What You Probably Don’t Know About Kevin Gravel’s Rise On LA Kings Depth Chart

PROSPECT WATCH: Frozen Royalty begins its off-season coverage of the Los Angeles Kings up-and-coming prospects with a look at the backstory that you probably haven’t heard about regarding defenseman Kevin Gravel’s development and ascent through the ranks of the Kings’ system. Features exclusive comments from Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti.


Ontario Reign defenseman Kevin Gravel
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — This past season, Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel played for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign, where he showed that he just might have what it takes to be a National Hockey League-caliber defenseman.

In 55 regular season games with the Reign, the 24-year-old, 6-4, 199-pound native of Kingsford, Michigan scored seven goals and added 13 assists for 20 points, with a +4 plus/minus rating and 30 penalty minutes in 55 games.

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Ontario Reign’s First Season In AHL Deemed A “Rousing Success” – Part 2

Left wing Adrian Kempe is just one of several LA Kings prospects
developing their skills with the AHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — As previously reported in Part 1 of this story on June 16, moving their American Hockey League affiliate more than 3,000 miles from Manchester, New Hampshire to Ontario, California was a great success in many ways for the Los Angeles Kings.

But more specifically, about one year later, it is clear that the greatest, most positive impact for them has been how the move west has affected the development of their young prospects—preparing them to become National Hockey League players.

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Ontario Reign’s First Season In AHL Deemed A “Rousing Success” – Part 1

The following is Part 1 of a two-part story on the Ontario Reign’s inaugural season in the American Hockey League, looking at how they did off the ice, and in terms of developing Los Angeles Kings prospects.


Ontario Reign President Darren Abbott
(click above to view larger image)
Photo courtesy Ontario Reign

LOS ANGELES — On January 29, 2015, when the American Hockey League announced that five teams would move to California to begin play in a new Pacific Division, the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate, was in the midst of an outstanding regular season that would end with them in the Calder Cup Playoffs.

The Monarchs not only went on a deep playoff run, but they went on to win the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

But the Monarchs’ time to celebrate was rather short, as the team moved to Ontario, California over the summer to become the AHL edition of the Ontario Reign, while the ECHL version of the Reign moved east to become the ECHL Manchester Monarchs.

For all intents and purposes, the Kings swapped their AHL and ECHL affiliates, bringing their AHL affiliate more than 3,000 miles west—virtually into their own backyard, and in their inaugural season in the AHL, the Reign were highly successful despite losing in the Western Conference Final to the eventual Calder Cup Champion Lake Erie Monsters in a four-game sweep.

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Ontario Reign Need More Action Behind Their Words With Sweep Looming

Ontario Reign head coach Mike Stothers (center) has his work cut out for him with his team facing
a 3-0 deficit in the AHL’s 2016 Western Conference Finals.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — At least they’re saying all the right things…

But that’s about all that can be said about the Ontario Reign, who are looking way, way up at a 3-0 series deficit against the Lake Erie Monsters in the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Finals after the Monsters shutout the Reign in Game 3 of their best-of-seven series, 4-0, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

The Monsters can complete a four-game sweep in tonight’s Game 4, also in Cleveland, and the way they’ve dominated the series, it almost seems like a foregone conclusion, as the Reign have had no answer to the Monsters’ speed thus far.

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