Tyler Toffoli slides into lead in Los Angeles Kings' top 20
Winning the Stanley Cup is a proud moment for an the entire organization from top to bottom, but while the players, coaching staff, and upper management get much of the publicized credit, scouting and development personnel rarely get their due praise.
Many of the supporting players who suited up for the Kings during the playoffs (Dwight King, Trevor Lewis, and Jordan Nolan up front; Slava Voynov and Alec Martinez on the back end) are Lombardi-era draft picks and have gone through a long developmental process that includes personal coaching and consultation, rookie camps, training camps, and more. While the Kings roster was also comprised of a number of free agent signings and trade acquisitions, winning a championship in the current cap era is not possible without cheap homegrown talent.… read more
Very nice job.
I like almost everything and agree with allot of it. I am not as critical as you in some areas of a couple of players but not so much that it is worth going over.
Thanks for taking the time.
It's a shame Kitsyn didn't make our top 20.
Very nice article. I definitely agree about Shore and I think he is one of our hidden gems. He would be a great replacement for Stoll down the line.
The only question regarding MK is rather or not his familial situation and other pressures allow him the opportunity to get back to NA next season so that he can develop his Kings style game. So far it looks like he will be able to but then you can't count on everything working out everytime.
I honestly think the kid is going to be a diamond in the rough. One of those prospects that is buried over in the KHL/SEL/Europe playing against men and better preparing for a transition to the NHL.
No offense to the CHL...but I feel like the guys who come out of the KHL/SEL are just more prepared early on to play in the NHL.
Kopitar did it, as did Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen etc. etc.
Obviously the skill level in the CHL is higher, and they are more sure fire...but those late round euro players have such low risk high reward
Hickey would be claimed on waivers in a heartbeat by a dozen teams
No love for Robbie Czarnik?
Thanks Josh, great job again.
Some kids - like Lokti, Forbort, Hyka - are higher than I expected, but I'm surprised that Kevin Gravel didn't make the list.
It's interesting to compare this list to the one we generated through fan polling last month:
1. Tyler Toffoli
2. Andrei Loktionov
3. Tanner Pearson
4. Derek Forbort
5. Jake Muzzin
6. Linden Vey
7. Nick Shore
8. Dwight King
9. Jordan Nolan
10. Michael Mersch
11. Martin Jones
12. Christopher Gibson
13. Thomas Hickey
14. Jordan Weal
15. Nicolas Deslauriers
16. Andy Andreoff
17. Tomas Hyka
18. Nikolai Prokhorkin
19. Brandon Kozun
20. Michael Schumacher
1: Tyler Toffoli
2: Andrei Loktionov
3: Derek Forbort
4: Tanner Pearson
5: Thomas Hickey
6: Linden Vey
7: Jordan Nolan
8: Jake Muzzin
9: Nicolas Deslauriers
10: Martin Jones
11: Nikolay Prokhorkin
12: Andy Andreoff
13: Brandon Kozun
14: Nick Shore
15: Kevin Gravel
16: Christopher Gibson
17: Maxim Kitsyn
18: Andrew Campbell
19: Jordan Weal
20: Michael Mersch
Of note, in the fan poll, Dwight King wasn't available as an option.
Kevin Gravel (15), Maxim Kitsyn (17) and Andrew Campbell (18) made the fans list but not Josh's. In addition to King, Tomas Hyka and Michael Schumacher made Josh's list but not the fan's list.
Biggest difference for a player on both lists is Michael Mersch, who was 10th for Josh, 20th for the fans. On the flip side, Hickey was 5th for the fans and 13th for Josh.
Picks 1 (Toffoli), 2 (Loktionov) and 6 (Vey) are the same on both lists.
While I have a few issues with your list Josh (omission of Gravel the biggest, overall I like your list quite a bit. Nice call on Shore at seven as well. I had him pegged as my number six when I was doing the polling.
Thanks everyone for the kind words! Really appreciate it. Good to be back, both writing here and in the US.
Re: Kitsyn - I really loved his game when he first came over but as has been mentioned, his current situation is downright awful. Hoping he has a solid season in Russia but to be honest, I'm more hoping that he makes it back to North America without having his development ruined. Not sure exactly what they're thinking over there, he's definitely being mishandled.
Re: Czarnik - I'm impressed at how much he's improved at each prospect camp but I don't think I take him over anyone on this list. Do think he could have an NHL future if he keeps working on his defensive game. He's about on par with Schumacher and I tend to go for wingers in tiebreak situations.
Re: Gravel - I'm a huge fan but the unfortunate reality of this ranking system is that guys who play stay-at-home (or fourth line) roles in amateur hockey tend to end up lower than those who establish themselves offensively. I think he's being groomed as Greene's replacement and I have no doubt that he'll be successful in that role, it's just that he doesn't have the same kind of upside as most of the other prospects in the organization. Nic Dowd and Joel Lowry are two other high energy guys who I think will end up great third/fourth liners that haven't quite broken out offensively, so the same logic applies to them.
Want to note that one of the more difficult decisions I had to make with this list was leaving off Nick Ebert. Obviously there are the questions of hockey sense and motivation but I have a feeling that after being snubbed at the draft, he's going to come out guns blazing next year and within the next few seasons could make the Kings look genius for taking the risk on him. That, or he'll taper off completely and vanish. Whatever the case, it's low-risk, high-reward.
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