The Los Angeles Kings have a large pool of prospects. It’s almost not fair.
Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliev, Tobias Bjornfot and Shawn Durzy are considered NHL graduates and are no longer on the team’s reserves.
However, the Kings still boast one of the best pools of prospects in the league, which is incredible.
Los Angeles has done an excellent job of rebuilding, acquiring assets and making smart draft picks over the past few years. By making the playoffs last season for the first time since 2017-18, the Kings will take the next step as their young players begin to shine. Byfield is the head of their young core and is expected to finally break out for real in the coming season. He started last season with a broken ankle and returned to the lineup, but as with many injuries, he was still working when he returned to the game. With a full off-season and a good start, this year could be the year of Byfield.
The variety of skills littering the team’s pipeline is impressive. They have two sided hitters who can help bring down opponents like Alex Turcott and Samuel Helenius. Francesco Pinelli and Kasper Simontaival can provide the game. Jack Hughes, Samuel Fagemo and Akil Thomas are offensive dual threat characters that can play with just about anyone.
On the other hand, the depth of talent is just as solid. Brandt Clark is an incredibly intelligent offensive mind who can fearlessly blow his opponents apart from the blue line. Helge Grans is a smooth skater who, with his mobility, can reduce opponents’ chances on offense and create chances for his team on offense. Kirill Kirsanov and Angus Booth bring some physicality and prowess on defense, while Jordan Spence and Otto Sahlin are heavy puckers and thrive when given the freedom to attack.
All that talent allowed them to move Brock Faber, a great two-way guard, in exchange for Kevin Fiala to help the NHL roster add some offensive punch.
So overall, the Kings have a bright future ahead of them.
2022 NHL draft class
Round 2 (51 total) – Jack Hughes, C, Northeastern University (NCAA – Hockey East)
Round 4 (103 total) – Kenny Connors, F, Dubuque Fighting Saints (USHL)
Round 4 (116 total) – Angus Booth, D, Shawinigan Cataractes (QMJHL)
Round 5 (Total 148) – Otto Salin, D, HIFK (U20 SM Series)
Round 6 (Total 169) – Jared Wright, F, Omaha Lancers (USHL)
Round 6 (180 total) – Jack Sparks, Defensive Player, St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL)
Round 7 (215 total) – Caleb Lawrence, left, Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
By moving their first-round pick and defense prospect Brock Faber to Kevin Fiala, the Kings were left with no first-round pick. However, they still managed to find a solid and intriguing talent in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Starting the draft on the second day, the draft of the “other” Jack Hughes was a good start. Hughes is a solid transition forward who has gradually become more comfortable in attack as the year progresses. His game is precise and straightforward, and he rarely tries too hard on the puck. Hughes is playing well in the 200-foot race and will continue to develop at the NCAA level with the Northeast in his second campaign this coming season.
Kenny Connors appeared as a surprise choice. The excess USHL center had a lower point per game, but his defensive play stood out. He is active in his zone and was a great penalty killer, using his stick to interrupt play and intercept passes. He is not overly eager to use his body, but he will use his speed to cut off the rolling and passing lanes and change the way his opponent attacks.
Angus Booth is a defensive blueliner who uses his fitness and mobility to defend during the transition and will attack at the boards and at the net when needed. He can make a breakout pass while his team flies over the defensive zone and develop play on the ice, but he’s not going to play a decisive role on offense.
Finnish defender Otto Sahlin has missed the season several times due to injury, but he is one of the most offensive defenders in his class. He likes to make concessions to the attacker when he goes up the wall or crosses traffic in the offensive zone. Had he played a full season, he might not have been in the game for that long, so the value of getting a player with Salina’s edge in round five is a pretty nice snag.
The Kings are strong in almost every position, making them the envy of the league. One of their greatest strengths lies in the middle. The central position is incredibly deep thanks to Byfield, Turcott and Helenius. Then there is Pinelli, who would be the best young center in many organizations. Hughes is a promising center who has looked good at the NCAA level as well. Tyler Madden and Akil Thomas can both play center. but will probably be pushed to the wing due to the depth in the middle. If just a few of those names become something at the NHL level, it will be a win.
Despite all the talent, the team seems to be lacking a reliable starter or a class A prospect. Lukas Parik has shown solid results at the ECHL level, but has struggled a bit at the AHL level. Juho Markkenen looked great in Switzerland last year and will move to DEL next season. The Kings’ goaltending roster isn’t as high-profile and deep as the rest of the players, but they do have options.
Next player: C Alex Turcott/W Samuel Fagemo/D Jacob Moverare
It’s hard to determine who will be the next Kings player. They have so many young players in their squad before the start of the season. Byfield, Kupari, Kaliev, Bjornfot, Vilardi and Durzi are likely to be on the list for the premiere. They also have some solid NHL players filling out their roster. The Kings’ next player won’t necessarily be a prospect vying for the spot, rather it could be someone who comes in to replace an injury and then never lets go.
Turcott is only 21 years old, but he seems to be approaching the point where the Kings would like him to start asserting his place in the organization. A smart center who plays a two-way game, Turcott has struggled with injuries and illnesses for the past couple of years, but each of the last two years has looked solid in the AHL. All he needs is an extended look? Fagemo performed at the AHL level, scoring 27 goals last year, and have looked more comfortable playing in North America. He could be a viable option to call if the Kings need a scorer. Moverare plays inside himself and understands that he does not need to complicate anything. He’s a safe, ready-to-go defender and can fill in if the Kings need a blueliner.
Prospectus Depth Chart Notes
Left row: Samuel Fagemo, Martin Chromiak, Tyler Madden
C: Alex Turcott, Samuel Helenius, Francesco Pinelli, Aidan Dudas, Jack Hughes
Right winger: Akil Thomas, Kasper Simontaival, Alex Laferrier
LD: Kim Nusiainen, Kirill Kirsanov, Angus Booth, Jacob Moverar
RD: Brandt Clark, Helge Grans, Jordan Spence, Otto Salin
G: Lukas Parik, Juho Markkanen, Jacob Ingham
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