Nic Dowd Looks Like A Lock To Make LA Kings Roster in 2016-17

Ontario Reign center and Los Angeles Kings prospect Nic Dowd
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — Looking ahead to the 2016-17 National Hockey League season, the Los Angeles Kings are going to look quite different after a more than disappointing and unceremonious end to their 2015-16 season when they were soundly beaten in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, who dispatched them in just five games.

The Kings have open roster spots heading into the new season, and one young prospect who is likely to make the big club’s opening night roster is 26-year-old center Nic Dowd, who has played for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate the last two seasons.

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What You Probably Don’t Know About Kevin Gravel’s Rise On LA Kings Depth Chart

PROSPECT WATCH: Frozen Royalty begins its off-season coverage of the Los Angeles Kings up-and-coming prospects with a look at the backstory that you probably haven’t heard about regarding defenseman Kevin Gravel’s development and ascent through the ranks of the Kings’ system. Features exclusive comments from Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yanetti.

Ontario Reign defenseman Kevin Gravel
(click above to view larger image)
Photo: David Sheehan/CaliShooterOne Photography

LOS ANGELES — This past season, Los Angeles Kings defenseman prospect Kevin Gravel played for the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign, where he showed that he just might have what it takes to be a National Hockey League-caliber defenseman.

In 55 regular season games with the Reign, the 24-year-old, 6-4, 199-pound native of Kingsford, Michigan scored seven goals and added 13 assists for 20 points, with a +4 plus/minus rating and 30 penalty minutes in 55 games.

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2013 NHL Draft: LA Kings Net Seven Prospects, Maybe Even A Couple Of Gems

LOS ANGELES — Despite not having a selection in the first round of the 2013 National Hockey League Draft, held on June 30 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey, the Los Angeles Kings appear to have made the most of their ten picks in this year’s draft, adding seven new prospects to their system.

The Kings watched the cream of the 2013 prospect crop skate past them in the first round as a result of the acquisition of forward Jeff Carter from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Jack Johnson and a conditional first round pick in the 2012 or 2013 NHL Draft, on February 23, 2012. At the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, the Blue Jackets opted for the Kings’ 2013 first round pick, leaving the Kings on the sidelines until the second round.

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Showing Signs Of Progress: LA Kings Blue Line Prospects Nicolas Deslauriers, Derek Forbort, And Kevin Gravel

EL SEGUNDO, CA — All it takes is a quick glance at the roster to see that the Los Angeles Kings are set with their top six defensemen, with Drew Doughty, assuming the Kings can get him to sign a contract soon, leading their blue line corps.

Defenseman prospect Derek Forbort spoke to the media during the Los Angeles Kings 2011 Development Camp at the Toyota Sports Center
in El Segundo, California, July 11-12, 2011.
Photo: Gann Matsuda

The Kings are also developing several young prospects for their blue line, including Jake Muzzin, Thomas Hickey, Viatcheslav Voynov, Andrew Campbell, David Kolomatis, and Patrick Mullen—all played for the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League, the Kings’ primary minor league affiliate, last season.

But if you think the pipeline ends there, sorry, guess again.

Indeed, even more prospects are working their way up the ladder, trying to achieve the dream of someday playing in the National Hockey League, and three of them, Kevin Gravel, Derek Forbort and Nicolas Deslauriers, participated in the Kings 2011 Development Camp in mid-July at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, California, the Kings’ practice facility. Read more of this post