July 31-in-31: LA Kings

mitchbrandner

2017-07-14

The 2017 NHL Entry Draft symbolized the start of a new era for the Los Angeles Kings. When Rob Blake took over for Dean Lombardi as general manager this summer, he was handed an uncomfortable salary cap situation and a pretty shallow prospect pool. This summer represents a new beginning for the former Western Conference powerhouse. If this summer is an indication of where this franchise is headed, it won`t be long before the Kings are back on top once again.

Gabriel Vilardi: 1st round, 11th overall.

Ranked in the top five by most scouting services, Gabriel Vilardi falling outside the top 10 was a nice surprise for Blake and the LA Kings after leading the Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires in scoring during the regular season despite playing in just 49 games. The 6-3, 203-pound forward drove the Spits offence all the way to the championship final, where he posted two assists in a 4-3 win over the Erie Otters.

Vilardi`s play behind the opponent’s red line is downright dominant, as it`s almost impossible to take the Spits forward off the puck. His skating will need some work as he tends to fall behind the play at times, but his vision is underrated and he is almost impossible to defend when he has possession in the offensive zone.

 

Jaret Anderson-Dolan: 2nd Round, 41st Overall

Another really good pick for the rookie general manager, Jaret Anderson-Dolan from the Spokane Chiefs was also a player who was a major offensive threat for his team. Along with fellow 2017 draft eligibe, Kailer Yamamoto, Anderson-Dolan was one of the best on his team with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone. He has a great shot, as evidenced by his 39 goals, and has a knack for finding the open ice and anticipating where t