LA Kings’ Rob Blake On Jordan Weal: “There’s Not A Lot of Players Like That Around”

LA Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal (center, shooting)
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

PROSPECT WATCH: Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal went from a player with loads of doubt on his shoulders due to his size to one who dominated at the American Hockey League level. But will he be able to translate that to the National Hockey League? Audio interviews with Weal and Kings assistant general manager Rob Blake are included. Final installment of a two-part story. Don’t miss Part 1, From Doubts To Dominating: LA Kings F Prospect Jordan Weal Has Risen To The Top Of The AHL.


LOS ANGELES — As reported in the first installment of this story on July 24, Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal has ascended to the top of the American Hockey League as a dominant player who was one of the AHL’s top scorers this past season and its Most Valuable Player during the 2015 Calder Cup Playoffs, leading his team, the Manchester Monarchs, to the 2015 Calder Cup Championship.

But the Kings’ third round selection (70th overall) in the 2010 National Hockey League Draft was obviously not chosen to play in the minor leagues. After all, NHL teams do not draft players who have no hope of ever plyaing at the NHL level. Nevertheless, even after three years with the Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate (which will become the AHL’s Ontario Reign in the coming season), as with the vast majority of young prospects, questions abound.

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From Doubts To Dominating: LA Kings F Prospect Jordan Weal Has Risen To The Top Of The AHL

PROSPECT WATCH: Frozen Royalty takes a close look at Los Angeles Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal, who could join the Kings in the coming season. In this story, Weal looked back on his 2014-15 season, including winning the 2015 Calder Cup Championship. Part 1 of a two-part story.


LA Kings forward prospect Jordan Weal
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: Blake Gumprecht

LOS ANGELES — When forward Jordan Weal was selected by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round (70th overall) of the 2010 National Hockey League Entry Draft, the first reaction many observers had regarding the native of North Vancouver, British Columbia was a high degree to skepticism because of his scant, 5-10, 162-pound frame—they were convinced that he would be tossed around like the proverbial rag doll at the professional level.

Since then, Weal spent two more seasons with the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League (he played an overage year with Regina in 2011-12) before moving up to the American Hockey League with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ AHL affiliate (which will become the AHL’s Ontario Reign in the 2015-16 season).

Weal went on to play three full seasons with the Monarchs, and like most young prospects coming out of major junior hockey in Canada, he had a lot to learn, and did not get much ice time early in his first season in the AHL.

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LA Kings LW Prospect Maxim Kitsyn: “It’s Just Me. I Have To Be Better…It’s Not Anybody Else”

LA Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn, shown here
playing for the ECHL’s Ontario Reign.
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

ONTARIO, CA — When we last checked in with Los Angeles Kings left wing prospect Maxim Kitsyn in December 2014, his head coach said that “he wills his way, every shift.”

A couple of months later, that hasn’t changed.

“You know [that] when he puts on the uniform, he’s going to give you 110 percent,” said Jason Christie, head coach of the Ontario Reign, the Kings’ current ECHL affiliate. “You see him out there—he works, he competes. That’s why he got a call up—because he battles. He’s determined. I think that’s the biggest thing—how determined he is, as a player.”

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Frozen Royalty Audio: Wall-To-Wall Coverage Of Rob Blake’s Jersey Retirement By LA Kings

Rob Blake’s jersey number 4 now hangs from the rafters at Staples Center after it was retired by the
Los Angeles Kings on January 17, 2015.
Photo: Gann Matsuda/FrozenRoyalty.net

 

ROB BLAKE JERSEY RETIREMENT: In the final installment of a multi-part series on the Los Angeles Kings retiring superstar defenseman Rob Blake’s jersey number 4 on January 17, Frozen Royalty wraps up coverage with several audio interviews, most of which you will find only on Frozen Royalty.


EL SEGUNDO AND LOS ANGELES, CA — On January 17, the Los Angeles Kings retired former defenseman and captain Rob Blake’s jersey number 4 during a pre-game ceremony at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Over the past few days, Frozen Royalty has brought you a series of stories leading up to the ceremony on January 17, based on exclusive interviews. Below, you can listen to all of those interviews, as well as an interview with Blake after the jersey retirement ceremony.

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Mattias Norstrom Says Rob Blake “Pushed The Bar Higher” For LA Kings

ROB BLAKE JERSEY RETIREMENT: In part 4 of a multi-part series on the Los Angeles Kings retiring superstar defenseman Rob Blake’s jersey number 4 on January 17, former Kings defenseman and captain Mattias Norstrom spoke exclusively with Frozen Royalty about Blake, both as a player, and as a person.


Former Los Angeles Kings defenseman and
captain Mattias Norstrom

EL SEGUNDO, CA — With the Los Angeles Kings’ retirement of superstar defenseman Rob Blake’s jersey number 4 coming up tonight, Kings alumni, most notably, several of his former teammates, have made their way back to Los Angeles to pay tribute.

As one might expect, Blake’s long-time defensive partner and close friend, Mattias Norstrom, is one of those former Kings who has returned to the Los Angeles area to honor Blake.

“It means a lot to me,” Norstrom said about Blake’s jersey retirement. “I’m probably the player who’s been on the ice the most with Rob Blake. I can’t see that there’s been another player in this league who has been on the ice at same time [as much as Norstrom].”

“I’ve seen it up close, his performance on the ice,” Norstrom added. “But more importantly, I see the behind the scenes—the person that Rob Blake is. That means more to me than the player that he became. But we’ve been in this lovely game where you mesh it with what you accomplish on the ice.”

Norstrom said that he owes much of what he accomplished in the National Hockey League to Blake.

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