September 32-in-32: Los Angeles Kings

Julian Mongillo

2021-09-12

 

The 32-in-32 Series is an annual event here at DobberProspects! Every day in August we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s Draft, and insights into their off-season movements thus far. Following this up in September, we will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the
upcoming seasons. Check back often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all off-season long!

**********

Development Camp Recap

The Los Angeles Kings 2021 Development Camp took place from August 23 – August 27, 2021. Many of the team’s top prospects made the trip to take part in the event, including some of their newest draft selections Francesco Pinelli and Brandt Clarke. To view the Kings’ full development camp roster click here.

Some notable performances at the event included Rasmus Kupari, who returned to the Kings organization last season after suffering a major knee injury fr Finland at the World Juniors. He played in seven NHL games last season and is poised to force himself onto the Kings NHL roster this season. 

Samuel Fagemo, Martin Chromiak, Aiden Dudas, Andre Lee, Jordan Spence, and Johan Sodergran also showed well at the event. All the aforementioned players except for Chromiak and Lee will likely be playing for the Kings AHL affiliate in Ontario, while the other two will be in the OHL and NCAA respectively.

Rookie Faceoff Roster

The Development Camp focus has quickly shifted to the 2021 Rookie Faceoff Tournament that will take place in Arizona in September. The tournament will feature many of the same players from the team’s development camp roster which includes 11 players who played for the Reign in some capacity in the 2020-21 season. Players such as Byfield, Kaliyev, Turcotte, and Kupari will look to distance themselves from the rest of the pack and attempt to continue making a lasting impression on the organization ahead of training camp. 

Graduating Players

Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C

After a brief NHL stint of four games in the 2019-2020 season, the centerman appeared in 34 games for the Kings last season in a bottom-six role. The luxury of having a taxi squad helped keep Dolan with the big club during last season and allowed him to get his feet wet at the NHL level. Despite the Kings’ strong depth down the middle of the ice, it is possible his playing time at the NHL level is still somewhat limited but expect him to be part of the fold this season. 

Tobias Bjornfot, LD

The Swedish blueliner is also one who saw his role increase last season only appearing in one game at the AHL level. Like the aforementioned Dolan, he benefitted from the use of a taxi squad and being able to practice and play with the big club last season. Although he is not a huge threat offensively, his steady two-way game should propel him into a full-time roster spot this season as part of the second or third pairing even despite the addition of fellow countrymen Alex Edler on the backend. 

Quinton Byfield, C

The Kings’ second overall pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft looks poised to carve out a full-time role on the Kings roster this year. The team is likely to give Byfield every opportunity to force himself onto the roster during training camp and prove he belongs at the highest level. He posted 20 points in 32 games in the AHL last season playing as an 18-year-old due to the cancellation of the OHL season not allowing him to return to his Junior team. Even with the addition of Phillip Danault in the offseason, Byfield could find himself in the lineup in a sheltered third-line role that would allow him to see easier matchups against other teams while adding scoring upside to the teams bottom half of the lineup.

On the Cusp

Lias Andersson, C

After trading for Andersson back in October of 2020, he has so far split time between the Los Angeles Kings and Ontario Reign. He put up 17 points in 15 games in the AHL last season and only six in 23 games at the NHL level. Andersson is one who is hurt by the addition of Danault to the Kings roster due to the depth the team has at center limiting his ability to get into the lineup. The other factor that could postpone Andersson’s full-time arrival at the NHL level is where Byfield begins the season. He should again split time between the NHL and the minors and will likely be either an extra forward or first call-up from the minors in the case of an injury.

Kale Clague, LD

The blueliner signed a one-year extension worth $761,250 this offseason to remain with the Kings. He has been long awaiting his consistent arrival to the NHL stage but has always been pushed down the depth chart. The addition of Edler looks to have pushed him down the depth chart again this season while Olli Maatta is also still in the mix. He saw 18 games of NHL action last season, tallying six assists in that span, and is the most NHL-ready blueliner on the left side. His offensive upside has always been a strong part of his game but he has also taken strides to be a better and more complete defender over the last few seasons. He should split time again this season before jumping into a full-time role next season if Maatta and Edler depart as free agents next offseason.

Alex Turcotte, C

The loaded center ice position for the Kings organization is what muddies the future outlook for Turcotte, who was the teams’ fifth overall pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He made his pro debut last season making the jump from the University of Wisconsin of the NCAA to the Ontario Reign. He played in 32 games at the minor league level posting six goals and 21 points. He also had a strong showing for the United States at the 2020 World Junior Championships and will likely be asked to continue to develop in the minors this season. He should see a few games for the Kings this season closer to the end of the year depending on how the Kings playoff aspirations look as the season winds down. He is also a candidate as a player who could be asked to transition from his usual center position to the wing which would increase his chance to make the NHL.

Turning Pro

Jordan Spence, RD

Spence signed his entry-level deal and should graduate from the QMJHL to the professional level this season. He has been a dynamic offensive defenseman during his time in Junior putting up 40 points in 32 games between the Moncton Wildcats and Val-d’Or Foreurs last season. He is an excellent skater and a powerplay quarterback. His defensive game will need improvement but there is a lot of upside to his game and should see regular time on the right side for the Reign this season.

Johan Sodergran, RW

The Swede spent last season on loan and only has one year remaining on his deal before he is a restricted free agent. The 21-year-old appeared in 48 games for the Reign during the 2019-2020 season before being loaned to his native Sweden in 2020-2021. He posted three points in 12 games for Almtuna IS and while those numbers don’t jump off the page, the big-bodied winger has always had a nose for the net and been able to use his size to his advantage. The lack of winger depth should allow him to find his way into the AHL lineup and prove he can compete at the pro level in North America. 

Vladimir Tkachyov, LW/RW

The Kings signed the 25-year-old Russian forward in the offseason after he put up 36 points in 45 games in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg. He has never attempted to return to North America since his Junior days when he played for the Quebec Remparts in the QMJHL. He should provide the Kings with some depth scoring but it is likely that if he does not make the Kings roster that he will end up back in the KHL. It’s a high-risk, high-reward signing with a lot of offensive promise. 

Risers and Fallers

Riser: Arthur Kaliyev, RW

The former Hamilton Bulldogs sniper made the jump to professional hockey last season playing primarily in the AHL with Ontario. He did not look out of place scoring 31 points in 40 games played and also made his NHL debut, scoring a goal in his first NHL game. He is poised to take another step forward in his development and with a full AHL season ahead should be able to surpass last season’s point totals. He has a lethal shot and should be a focal point of the Reigns’ powerplay. The arrow is pointing straight up and Kings fans should be very excited about where he is at in his development.

Riser: Francesco Pinelli, C

The Kings 42nd overall selection in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft has been earning rave reviews for his play at the Kings Development Camp. He has so far come as advertised and his lethal shooting ability has been on display as has his work ethic and willingness to grow on and off the ice. Pinelli played 13 games last season on loan in Slovenia due to the cancellation of the OHL season and also posted 11 points in seven games for Canada at the U-18 World Championships. He won’t begin his professional career anytime soon and will return to the Kitchener Rangers looking to build off his 41 point rookie season back in 2019-2020.

Faller: Sean Durzi, RD

The 22-year-old blueliner is entering the final year of his entry-level deal this season and after playing 39 games for the Reign in each of the past two seasons. Although he has developed a more all-around defensive game while in the minors, the recent additions of Helge Grans and Brandt Clarke into the prospect pool could see Durzi get pushed back down the depth chart. Spence is also another right-hand shot defenseman poised to take some time away from Durzi at the minor league level this season. If Clarke and Grans end up turning pro this season it will be tough to see a clear path for regular minutes for Durzi.

Faller: Tyler Madden, C

Madden was one of the main pieces that were acquired by the Kings when they traded Tyler Toffoli to Vancouver. The centerman is in the second year of his entry-level deal after turning pro last year following a stellar season for Northeastern University in the NCAA. He was limited to only 14 games in the AHL last season due to a finger injury as well as a broken collarbone. He is back fully healthy and ready to make an impact in the minors this season but with so much depth at the center position, he has a lot of ground to make up on his teammates to move back up the depth chart. 

Prospect Depth Chart 

Left Wing Center Right Wing
Arthur Kaliyev Quinton Byfield Samuel Fagemo
Carl Grundstrom Alex Turcotte Kasper Simontaival
Martin Chromiak Gabriel Vilardi Johan Sodergran
Vladimir Tkachyov Rasmus Kupari Alex Laferriere
Brayden Burke Francesco Pinelli Aatu Jamsen
Andre Lee Tyler Madden 
Bulat Shafigullin Lias Andersson
Blake Lizotte
Jaret Anderson-Dolan
Akil Thomas
Aiden Dudas
Samuel Helenius
Left Defence Right Defence
Kale Clague Brandt Clarke
Tobias Bjornfot Helge Grans
Mikey Anderson Jordan Spence 
Kim Nousianen Brock Faber
Markus Phillips Sean Durzi
Jacob Moverare
Goalies
Lukas Parik
Matthew Villalta
Juho Markkanen

Top 20 Fantasy Prospects

  1. Quinton Byfield
  2. Brandt Clarke
  3. Alex Turcotte
  4. Arthur Kaliyev
  5. Francesco Pinelli 
  6. Rasmus Kupari
  7. Gabriel Vilardi
  8. Tyler Madden
  9. Helge Grans
  10. Samuel Fagemo
  11. Carl Grundstrom 
  12. Akil Thomas
  13. Kale Clague
  14. Lias Andersson
  15. Martin Chromiak 
  16. Jordan Spence 
  17. Kasper Simontaival
  18. Aiden Dudas 
  19. Lukas Parik
  20. Tobias Bjornfot

**Follow me on Twitter for more hockey talk and coverage @JulianMongillo **