Jeff Zatkoff Has Come Full Circle With LA Kings

Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, shown here during
their 2016 Training Camp at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — For Los Angeles Kings faithful, if the name “Jeff Zatkoff” doesn’t ring a bell, beyond the fact that he played for the 2016 Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, it should.

Indeed, Zatkoff got his start in professional hockey with the Kings, who selected him in the third round (74th overall) of the 2006 National Hockey League Entry Draft. But that was also the year that they selected goaltender Jonathan Bernier in the first round (11th overall), and one year prior, they selected Jonathan Quick in the third round (72nd overall).

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LA Kings LW Prospect Adrian Kempe “Has Some Juice To His Game”

LA Kings left wing prospect Adrian Kempe, shown here during a game
with the Ontario Reign of the AHL.
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

EL SEGUNDO, CA — One of the Los Angeles Kings forward prospects who draws a lot of attention because his of skill, speed and offensive flair is left wing Adrian Kempe, who was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) of the 2014 National Hockey League Draft.

Kempe crossed the Atlantic Ocean to join the American Hockey League version of the Manchester Monarchs for their playoff run, helping lead the Monarchs to the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

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LA Kings RW Prospect Justin Auger Could Be A Future 3rd Line Upgrade

Ontario Reign right wing and Los Angeles Kings prospect Justin Auger, shown here in Game 1 of the second round of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs against the San Diego Gulls at Citizens Business Bank Arena on May 5, 2016
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — At 6-7, 229 pounds, Justin Auger is not the kind of player who one would, at first blush, think of as anything more than a checking forward. But the 22-year-old native of Kitchener, Ontario already has a Calder Cup Championship (2014-15 season with the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs, now the Kings’ ECHL affiliate) and a 19-goal campaign with the AHL’s Ontario Reign last season.

19 goals for a checking forward? As it turns out, the development of the Kings’ fourth round pick (103rd overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft has been, in a word, remarkable.

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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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LA Kings RW Prospect Scott Sabourin Is Falling Short of Expectations

Los Angeles Kings right wing prospect Scott Sabourin, shown here playing for the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography”

ONTARIO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — Back in the late summer of 2013, a big, burly right wing came out of nowhere to turn heads during the Los Angeles Kings’ rookie camp and rookie tournament. In fact, in a rookie game against the then-Phoenix Coyotes, this player, not known for skating, speed or skill, took a breakout pass in stride, split two Coyotes defenders at the far blue line and went in on a breakaway. He didn’t score—his wrist shot barely missed the top left corner of the net. Nevertheless, he left just about everyone in attendance with jaws agape.

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