Rob Blake, Mark Yanetti Talk LA Kings 2017 NHL Draft Outlook

2017 NHL DRAFT COVERAGE: Frozen Royalty begins its coverage of the Los Angeles Kings and the 2017 National Hockey League draft with a draft preview story featuring comments by Kings Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake and exclusive comments from Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti.

LOS ANGELES — On the eve of the first round of the 2017 National Hockey League draft, the Los Angeles Kings organizational needs are quite obvious.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that we’re looking for offense,” said Vice President and General Manager Rob Blake. “Especially with the 11th pick, you’re getting a quality player. I think that factors in. Also, our goaltender depth throughout the organization—we need to adjust to that, so I would imagine there will be someone, somewhere in the draft.”

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LA Kings Tanner Pearson: “Main Goal Was To Stay Here, In Los Angeles”

Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson, shown here
during practice at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — Rob Blake’s first big move as the new general manager of the Los Angeles Kings was to make signing of one of his key potential restricted free agents quick and easy instead of a long, drawn out process.

Indeed, after trading goaltender Ben Bishop, who would have been an unrestricted free agent on July 1, to the Dallas Stars in exchange for a fourth-round pick in the 2017 National Hockey League Draft, Blake signed left wing Tanner Pearson to a contract extension earlier today.

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LA Kings’ New Head Coach Gets Analytical About His Team’s Offensive Woes

LA Kings defenseman Drew Doughty (right) receives instruction from then-associate head coach John Stevens (left).
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — As it was when the Los Angeles Kings introduced Rob Blake as their new general manager, offense, or more accurately, the lack thereof, was the most discussed topic when the team introduced their new head coach, John Stevens, who had been an assistant coach under Terry Murray and associate head coach under Darryl Sutter.

Early in the press conference on April 24 where he was introduced to the local media, Stevens said something that has been plainly evident for a long time: that the Kings don’t get pucks or bodies to the middle of the ice or the front of the net anywhere enough.

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Rob Blake, Luc Robitaille Have Much To Build Upon As New Leadership for LA Kings

From left to right: Dan Beckerman, President/CEO. Anschutz Entertainment Group; Luc Robitaille, President, Los Angeles Kings; Rob Blake, Vice President/General Manager, Los Angeles Kings.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Gann Matsuda/

LOS ANGELES — On April 11, the new leadership of the Los Angeles Kings made their debut during a press conference at Staples Center in Los Angeles, where they discussed the need for change.

But before he looked ahead, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) Dan Beckerman, praised former Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi and former head coach Darryl Sutter, who were fired on April 10.

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An Heir of Resiliency

The following is a story I originally wrote for the English section of the Rafu Shimpo, the Los Angeles Japanese Daily News (founded in 1903), on a freelance assignment. It was published in their print edition on November 30, 2016, and they have graciously allowed me to reprint the story here.

Los Angeles Kings right wing Devin Setoguchi
(click above to view larger image_
Photo: Juan Ocampo/Courtesy Los Angeles Kings via Getty Images

EL SEGUNDO, CA — When he was playing youth hockey in Canada, Devin Setoguchi’s favorite player was a fellow Japanese Canadian, superstar Paul Kariya, who played for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now the Anaheim Ducks) from 1994-95 to 2002-03, before finishing his National Hockey League career with the Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators and St. Louis Blues.

Today, Setoguchi, 29, is playing for the Los Angeles Kings, hoping to complete a comeback story that would add another chapter to a family legacy in Canada that began in Vancouver, British Columbia, and includes his paternal grandparents having to survive incarceration in a horse stable nearly 75 years ago.

Setoguchi grew up in Taber, Alberta, on a farm that was established by his paternal grandparents, who lived in Vancouver until World War II when they were forcibly removed from their home and community.

Indeed, Canadians of Japanese ancestry, along with their immigrant parents, were unjustly incarcerated during World War II—more than 22,000 people in all—in Canadian concentration camps, in similar fashion to the unjust incarceration of more than 110,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents in American concentration camps and other confinement sites.

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