Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.
The Los Angeles Kings didn’t use the transactions way much in order to make their team better this summer. Aside of signing their own players to extensions, the Kings also signed Ilya Kovalchuk to a three year $18.7 million contract on July 2nd. The team also still has the rights over Slava Voynov and could deal those rights as soon as the NHL deems him good to go.
Except for the Kovalchuk arrival, the Kings opted for stability over transactions for 2018-19, but a couple of their own prospects should be making the NHL roster for as early as day 1 which could make this roster an improved one compared to the 2017-18 one.
Look out for Gabriel Vilardi to shake off back-to-back injury-marked seasons by making a strong push for NHL. With the growing depth in the Kings offense, there is an opportunity for the highly skilled and sized center to eventually have great linemates. Kale Clague should also make a push for a NHL role this upcoming season, but playing in the AHL would seem likely as he never played professional hockey yet. Who knows, there is room for him on a second- or third-pairing if he does what it takes. NCAA free agent acquisition Daniel Brickley will also fight for a spot on the Kings blue line and it will be interesting to see how the battle with Clague will shape out the closer we get to the opening day roster.
- Jaret Anderson-Dolan continues to climb the ladder towards the NHL. With 91 points last season in the WHL, he is still on track with his predicted ceiling. He already played 5 games with the AHL’s Ontario Reign last season and should also start the 2018-19 there. Injuries or underachieving performances by other forwards with the parent club could earn the 41st overall selection in 2017 a shot at the Kings anytime next season.
- Cal Petersen made a good impression on the organization in his first professional season in the AHL last season and will look to serve as Jonathan Quick’s backup as early as this season. It still wouldn’t be a disappointment if this promotion happened in 2019-20. He’s the franchise’s undisputed number one goaltending prospect.
- Paul Ladue, despite some NHL games under his belt, Ladue will feel more and more the pressure from fellow prospects defenders such as Kale Clague and Daniel Brickley as he tries to remain in the big league. His window might be on its closing way starting this season.
- Jonny Brodzinski will also try to get a grip on the NHL as he played 35 games last season. Averaging a little over 1 point-per-game in the AHL last season, he might find it a little hard to play the same kind of scoring role for which he’s built in a rather crowded top-nine in LA.
Top Ten Prospects
- Gabriel Vilardi – C
- Kale Clague – D
- Jaret Anderson-Dolan – C
- Daniel Brickley – D
- Rasmus Kupari – C
- Cal Petersen – G
- Jonny Brodzinski – RW
- Akil Thomas – C
- Mike Amadio – C
- Spencer Watson – RW
You can find LA and Montreal writer Carl Sinclair on Twitter @SinclairCarl