December 31-in-31: Los Angeles Kings

Dave Hall

2020-12-14

After a few years of being woefully uncompetitive and restocking the cupboards with prospects, the Kings’ team is poised to turn the corner this upcoming season. There should be plenty of opportunities for young players to make jumps to the NHL stage or at least into professional hockey. Although development and training camps may be on hold for the time being, we can still take a look at what this season will mean for some of the prospects and take a deep dive into the organization’s prospect pool. 

Graduating Players

With many young players set to make an impression and eager to begin their professional hockey careers, many players have moved up the organizational ranks and taken the next step. 

Graduating to NHL

Mikey Anderson – Spent most of last season in the AHL with the Ontario Reign before being recalled by the Kings near the end of the season. He made his NHL debut and appeared in six games for the Kings, notching his first career NHL goal in the process. With the departure of Derek Forbort and Ben Hutton, Anderson is penciled into the team’s top-six group of defenders.

Carl GrundstromThe Swede was up and down between the AHL and the NHL throughout last season, appearing in 40 and 13 games respectively. He was able to contribute four assists at the NHL level during his stint with the Kings. The now 23-year-old forward was re-signed to a two-year extension over the offseason worth $1.45 million. Grundstrom has now had stints with the big club over the last two seasons and is one of the most NHL ready forwards in the Kings system. He will be a favorite to make the Kings 23-man roster out of training camp.

Kale Clague – The left-shot defenseman took great strides in his development over the last season, earning himself a four-game recall late in the year with the Kings. He was given more opportunity with the Reign last season, playing top-minutes and special teams. The 2020 AHL All-Star has shown the organization what he is capable of and the vacancies on the Kings blue line make him poised to make the jump to a full-time role in the 2020-2021 campaign. He is shaping up to become an important piece of the future of the Kings defense core.

On the Cusp

Jaret Anderson-Dolan The former Spokane Chief completed his first year in the AHL totaling 28 points in 53 games. There will be a battle for roster spots in training camp for bottom-six roles on the team and Anderson-DOlan will be given the opportunity to make the Kings roster this season. With the team trying to turn the corner in their rebuild, they are more likely to give bottom-six roles to their younger group to see what they have in their system and gain valuable NHL experience.

Alex Turcotte – Although there is a logjam at the center ice position in the Kings depth chart, Turcotte may be one of the best prospects the organization has at that position. He is not likely to be moved to another position to be able to fit into the Kings lineup and may have to get some seasoning in the AHL in a top-six role to begin his pro career. His high-end skillset and upside will make him one of the first recalls from the minors should he not make the team. With the likes of Blake Lizotte and Lias Andersson occupying the third and fourth line center spots, Turcotte will likely only see NHL time if there are injuries at the center ice position.

Samuel Fagemo – The Kings do not have much depth on the right-wing position and Fagemo is one who can provide a serious offensive spark at that position. He can play both wing spots and will be one of the players competing to grab a roster spot at the Kings training camp. With the aging, Dustin Brown and Jeff Carter listed as two of