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Are LA Kings Sending A Message To Kevin Gravel By Leaving Him Off China Trip?

Los Angeles Kings defenseman Kevin Gravel
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net
(click above to view larger image)

EL SEGUNDO, CA — While the vast majority of his teammates from the 2016-17 Los Angeles Kings were heading to Los Angeles International Airport for their flight to China for pre-season games in Shanghai and Beijing against the Vancouver Canucks on September 21 and 23, respectively, young defenseman Kevin Gravel was skating with a squad comprised mostly of young prospects, many of whom are destined to return to their junior hockey teams in Canada, or for the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.

The fact that Gravel was left behind may or may not be significant. Nevertheless, the Kings are looking for more from the 25-year-old, 6-4, 212-pound native of Kingsford, Michigan, who was selected by the Kings in the fifth round (148th overall) of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft.

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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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Frozen Royalty Audio: Backman, Gravel, Stothers After Ontario Reign Drop Game 1 To Lake Erie, 4-3

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

ONTARIO, CA — After taking a 1-0 lead early in the second period, the Ontario Reign gave up three straight goals in a span of just 2:36 and ended up dropping a 4-3 decision to the Lake Erie Monsters in Game 1 of the American Hockey League’s Western Conference Finals at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California on May 21.

In that fateful second period, Reign forward Sean Backman opened the scoring on a one-timer from left point on the power play at 4:23. But the Monsters came right back with three quick goals, first by Lukas Sedlak at 7:10, Josh Anderson at 8:23 on the power play, and Ryan Craig at 9:46, giving the Monsters a 3-1 lead, leaving the Reign stunned.

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LA Kings, Anaheim Ducks Minor League Teams Face-Off In AHL Playoffs

LA Kings center prospect Nic Dowd is expected to be an impact player in the Ontario Reign’s
second round playoff matchup against the San Diego Gulls.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — They say rivalries can’t be true until teams meet in the playoffs, but whoever “they” happens to be must not have seen the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign and San Diego Gulls go at each other in their first season as divisional rivals this year.

The Reign and the Gulls have only met twelve times, and were affiliates in separate locations in prior seasons, but the rivalry is very strong between the pair of prospect-building affiliates, the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks, respectively, of the National Hockey League.

“It’s a fun rivalry, especially with what the Kings and Ducks created,” Ontario forward Sean Backman said in video interviews with Reign public relations staff. “The Gulls and the Reign, we’re not too fond of each other, it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

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Kevin Gravel Is Moving Up The LA Kings Depth Chart Fast

LA Kings defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — One thing that has been virtually automatic with Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter is that he is a negative feedback kind of guy when it comes to talking about young players.

Indeed, Sutter chooses to tear them down rather than sing their praises, as his way of motivating them. In fact, he has stuck to this method of motivating his young charges so much that when he does say anything even remotely positive about a young player, it comes as a shock.

As such, when Sutter recently offered praise of defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel, who was recalled from the American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign on February 11, without hesitation, shock and astonishment ensued.

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