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One-On-One With LA Kings Mark Yanetti On 1st Round PIck Gabriel Vilardi

2017 NHL DRAFT COVERAGE: In addition to bringing you some comments from Los Angeles Kings assistant general manager Michael Futa and their first round pick, center Gabriel Vilardi, Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti did a one-on-one interview with Frozen Royalty late Saturday. In this story, he added his voice to those talking about Vilardi and what the Kings tried to do to make sure they got him.


LOS ANGELES — With the 2017 National Hockey League Draft now complete, teams were able to take the wraps off much of what their plans were for this year’s draft and comment on things that they almost never discuss prior to each draft.

Indeed, amateur scouts and general managers for NHL teams are very hush-hush before each year’s draft, wary of giving the other thirty teams any idea of what young prospects they covet, and the Los Angeles Kings are no exception to that unwritten rule. But after rounds 2-7 on June 24, assistant general manager Michael Futa and Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti spoke with the media via conference calls.

Yanetti also spoke with Frozen Royalty in a separate, one-on-one interview.

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Michael Amadio Could Be A Gem In The Making For LA Kings

Ontario Reign center and Los Angeles Kings prospect Michael Amadio, shown here in Game 4 of the second round of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs against the San Diego Gulls at Valley View Casino Center on May 13, 2016
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Vince Rappleyea/Courtesy Ontario Reign

LOS ANGELES — When center prospect Michael Amadio was called up from the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League late last season, he went from playing more than thirty minutes per game in the OHL to fourth line minutes with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League, the Los Angeles Kings’ primary minor league affiliate.

Indeed, after scoring 50 goals and adding 48 assists for 98 points with a +30 plus/minus rating last season for North Bay, Amadio found himself stuck on the Reign’s fourth line in the first round of the 2016 Calder Cup Playoffs. But that changed quickly.

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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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LA Kings D Prospect Zach Leslie Remains Positive While Biding Time With Ontario Reign

LA Kings defenseman prospect Zach Leslie (center, wearing number 8), shown here during a game with the
American Hockey League’s Ontario Reign
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — If you’ve never heard of defenseman Zach Leslie, unless you’re a fan of the Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League, no one would blame you.

The 21-year-old native of Ottawa, Ontario, who was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the sixth round (178th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, is now playing for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

Actually, playing might be a bit of an exaggeration, because as a first-year pro, Leslie has been mostly on the outside looking in, so to speak, with the Reign this season, having played in just five games, contributing two assists, with a +1 plus/minus rating.

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LA Kings D Prospect Kurtis MacDermid Wants To Be More Than An Enforcer

LA Kings defenseman prospect Kurtis MacDermid (right), shown here during the 2015 Rookie Tournament against
the Arizona Coyotes at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California, September 15, 2015.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — Even though the stereotype of hockey being nothing more than players fighting is still fairly strong among those who are unfamiliar with the game, those who follow it know that the frequency of fisticuffs in games has been on the decline for years and years. In fact, one can go weeks of watching games and never see a single fight.

Years ago, teams had a roster spot for an enforcer, a player whose only real talent was dropping the gloves and trying to clobber the other team’s enforcer. But today, National Hockey League teams cannot afford to reserve a roster spot for a one-dimensional player whose only skill is fighting. Indeed, today’s “enforcer,” if you can call the player that anymore, must be able to play the game.

Enter Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Kurtis MacDermid, who is now in his first professional season with the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League.

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