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LA Kings Looking To Re-Discover Innovation, Creativity In Amateur Scouting, Drafting

2016 NHL DRAFT: Frozen Royalty continues its coverage of the Los Angeles Kings and the 2016 National Hockey League Draft with a look at how changes the Kings are making across their hockey operations—that re-tooling that President/General Manager Dean Lombardi talked about in early May—and how they have affected amateur scouting and the draft.


LOS ANGELES — About two weeks after the Los Angeles Kings were eliminated from the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs in just five games—they were mostly dominated by the San Jose Sharks—President/General Manager Dean Lombardi spoke to the media and talked about significant changes, both in actions and in thinking, that were in the works.

Lombardi also said that the team would not be rebuilding, but added that some re-tooling was in order and that was not restricted to the current players. He also mentioned that the first group to meet with him was his amateur scouts.

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Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti Talks LA Kings and the 2016 Draft

2016 NHL DRAFT: Frozen Royalty begins its coverage of the Los Angeles Kings and the 2016 National Hockey League Draft with exclusive comments from Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti on what the Kings are thinking and looking at in the draft this year.


LOS ANGELES — Heading into the final days before the 2016 National Hockey League Draft on June 24-25, the Los Angeles Kings are in the home stretch of their preparations for what will be a challenging draft for them, one in which, barring any trades in which they may acquire or lose draft picks, they have just four selections and no first round pick.

The Kings sent their first round pick (21st overall) to the Carolina Hurricanes, along with defenseman Roland McKeown, in exchange for defenseman Andrej Sekera on February 25, 2015.

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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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2014 First Round Draft Pick Adrian Kempe Fits LA Kings Like A Glove

LA Kings 2014 first round draft pick Adrian Kempe (center), shown here with Kings Vice President of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel Mike Futa (left) and Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti (right)
during the 2014 NHL Draft in Philadelphia on June 27, 2014.

 

LOS ANGELES — If there was ever a first round pick in the National Hockey League draft that fit a team like the proverbial glove, forward Adrian Kempe is that player.

Kempe, 17, was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the first round (29th overall) of the 2014 National Hockey League Draft, which began on June 27.

The 2014 NHL Draft will conclude on June 28, with Rounds 2-7, beginning at 7:00 AM PDT (televised on the NHL Network).

But before the 29th pick came around, the Kings tried to trade up in the first round. Later, as prospects continued to come off the board, they also tried to trade down.

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Los Angeles Kings 2014 NHL Draft Preview

LOS ANGELES — Whether it is defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the Barrie Colts (Ontario Hockey League), center Samuel Bennett of the Kingston Frontenacs (OHL), center Sam Reinhart of the Kootenay Ice (Western Hockey League), or center Leon Draisaitl of the Prince Albert Raiders (WHL) who winds up as the first overall selection in the 2014 National Hockey League Draft, unless some way-out-of-left-field trade happens, the Los Angeles Kings will not be adding that player to the fold, or any of the top prospects, for that matter.

Indeed, that is the price of success. After winning the Stanley Cup on June 13, the Kings move all the way down to 29th in the first round of the thirty-team draft. The only reason they did not move to 30th is because of the sanctions handed down to the New Jersey Devils for salary cap circumvention when they signed forward Ilya Kovalchuk—the Devils will pick last in the first round instead of 11th.

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