Los Angeles Kings 2018 Draft Review and Development Camp Updates

Carl Sinclair

2018-07-14

Los Angeles Kings logo courtesy of stmed.net

31 in 31 Series, July: Los Angeles Kings

 

Draft Review

 

The Kings were not meant to make any big wave at the 2018 draft, holding the 20th overall selection but they still managed to do so by announcing the imminent signing of elite Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk to a three year deal on June 23rd. Focussing back on the draft itself, the Californians went the speed and skills way with almost their entire picks. Forwards Rasmus Kupari and Akil Thomas were both regarded as higher picks then their respective 20th and 51st ultimate ranks and might qualify for steals within the next three to four year when looking back at the 2018 NHL draft. With their third pick, the Kings also made some interesting choice by opting for Bulat Shafigullin 82nd overall, a Russian forward who played most of 2017-18 in the MHL, a junior Russian league, and teared it offensively. While the regular playing time and offensive production in the NHL are still many steps ahead of them, it will be very interesting to see how these top-three-rounds selections will turn into.

 

The Kings then selected Aidan Dudas in the fourth round, 113rd overall, a rather small but fearless center. In the fifth round, with the 144th overall pick, The Kings opted for a 6-1 goalie from Slovakia, David Hrenak, a St. Cloud State University product. Talking again at the 165th rank, Los Angeles selected Johan Södergran, a 6-2 winger. Ten ranks later, the Kings concluded their draft with the 175th pick, Jacob Ingham, a Barrie native 6-3 goalie who played with Mississauga Steelheads last season

 

Round 1 – 20th Overall: Rasmus Kupari, C

The 6-1 speedy center will be a prospect to look at for the next two seasons or so. Once he adds the muscles and adapt to the North American rinks and style, he might reach the higher levels of hockey in a fashion way, but those two steps he has to accomplish are no easy ones and he remains a prospect with some risks in the long run. It would be interesting to add to his case that Kärpät HC coach in the Liiga, Mikko Manner is talking of Rasmus Kupari as a ”mix of Jesse Puljujärvi and Sebastian Aho”. His speed is not the only threat in Kupari’s arsenal as he possesses a puck control and shot release that are already very close if not already at the NHL’s level.

 

Round 2 – 51st Overall: Akil Thomas, C

Don’t be fooled by his size (5-11, 177) – yes Akil Thomas is a highly skilled skater with great offensive abilities, but he’s also a pretty efficient and tireless fore-checker, which makes him an interesting candidate to have a long NHL career despite his 51st overall selection at this year’s amateur draft. Wearing the ”A” at only 17 years old with the OHL Niagara Ice Dogs, his leadership attributes should also be a great help in his path towards the pro levels. Of course Thomas doesn’t come with the NHL certa