The LA Kings' prospect list hasn't changed much from last season, as the club did not have a first rounder in 2010. However, in 2011 they hold three picks in the first round and will look to add more prospects to the cupboard.
Although not technically a rookie, Alex Pietrangelo is having an excellent first full season in the NHL. The young defenseman is now the clear cut number one defenseman for the St.Louis Blues in the NHL, and is on pace for 45 points.
Smith had an incredible start to his pro career in the AHL, putting up 5 goals and 12 points in his first 12 games. He ran into some injury problems and his stats came back down to earth, but the defenseman has shown that he can handle the pro game thus far.
Team Canada captain at the 2011 WJC, Ryan Ellis has improved his all-around game this season and should be more than ready to leave the junior ranks behind him and turn pro next season. He has his question marks, those being size and skating, but supporters will note that he is very strong for his size, has continues to work on his skating. Ellis has roughly 60 points in his last 30 OHL games. With the aforementioned Pietrangelo and Smith, along with young dmen Alex Goligoski, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Mark Fistric to go with veterans Ryan Whitney and Dennis Wideman, the Kings may have the luxury of one day using Ellis as mostly a PP specialist.
The gritty sparkplug Marchand has quietly had an excellent start to his pro career. Out of junior and into the AHL, Marchand started slow for the baby Bruins two seasons ago, and then was nearly a point-per-game over the last two-third of the season. His second year (last season) saw Marchand put up a point-per-game in the American league, and get a 20-game call-up on the fourth line in the NHL. This year, Marchand has caught fire on a line with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi, and his 19-goals puts him on pace for 25+ for the season. At the rate he is going (15 points in his last 15 games), he may push for even more.
Another NHL Bruins prospect, Knight was taken in the later half of the second round last June. Knight has improved his play and seen his stock rise, and Bruins fans hold his strong, net-crashing style in very high regard.
After making the NHL as a 19-year-old with the LA Kings, Moller continues to improve statistically, but he`s doing it at the AHL level. With the NHL`s Kings continuing to get better, his chance may need to come with another NHL organization.
Hartikainen appears high on this list as a darkhorse to be a valuable player at the NHL level. Gritty with two-way ability, leadership and all the intangibles you could want, the 20-year-old winger has put up a solid 35 points in 57 AHL games as a rookie, with a majority of those coming after a slow start. Hartikainen was the AHL's rookie-of-the-month for January.
Cohen has had an interesting first pro season. He was excellent in pre-season for the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and nearly made the team, and was a final cut, being sent down to the AHL. His numbers were not impressive, but Cohen earned a call-up due to injuries on the Avalanche blueline and did not look out of place. He was sent back down after three games, and continued to not put up points. While injured, Cohen got dealt to the NHL's Boston Bruins, and after returning from injury, he has started to get on the scoresheet a little more. Cohen has size at 6'3" and a booming shot from the point that saw him score 15 goals in college last season.
Is Skille still a prospect? It's hard to believe. The winger has good size, tremendous speed and a good shot, but perhaps can't match those assets with the same level of hockey IQ or vision. Traded recently in the NHL to the Florida Panthers, Skille is a safe bet to stay in the NHL from this point on, but in a third line role.
What happens when a good prospect plays another year of Junior A in the OJHL before his collegiate career begins? In the case of Zach Hyman some insane scoring numbers are what happened. Hyman put up 102 points in just 43 games for the Hamilton Red Wings. While his competition was inferior to what most top prospects face, Hyman does have a few things going in his favor. He's got size at 6'2", has good leadership skills, two-way and penalty killing ability, and he was one of the younger players in the draft last June. Still, we will wait to see how he does for Princeton in 2011 before getting overly excited. Could the Kings have another Jamie Benn-like find in the later rounds?
Billy Sweatt, like Skille, has the wheels but perhaps lacks the head and hands needed to excel at the NHL level. He does have good numbers in his rookie AHL campaign, however.
Frattin is a player who broke out in his fourth and final year in the WCHA, putting up 24 goals in 33 games. Many Leafs fans hold out hope that he transitions well to the AHL next season, which would be a bonus for the somewhat forgotten prospect who was drafted out of the AJHL back in 2007.
Junland looks to be on the verge of cracking the NHL Blues' roster, but returned to Sweden for the 2010-2011 season. His play has been critisized by critics, so it will be interesting to see if he comes back over to North America next season, which seems to be the plan.
Carrick brings two-way play, grit and hustle to the lineup, but has struggled to improve offensively in his post-draft OHL season.
Chris Vande Velde
Vande Velde was picked up when the Kings swapped Jussi Jokinen for Alex Steen just a few weeks ago. He has little offensive potential, but may be a good defensive fourth line center in the near future.
Kings' management isn't usually too keen on QMJHL defense prospects, but Carrier has improved steadily in each of his junior seasons, and remains an interesting prospect.
Rogalski hasn't taken the steps forward the Kings were hoping for this season, but he remains a good defensive depth prospect who will need lots of seasoning in the minors. As a 1991 birthdate in the 2010 draft, Rogalski will be eligible to start his AHL career after just one post-draft OHL season.
Going into the 2010 draft, Guptill was a pretty much unknown prospect despite putting up good numbers in the OJHL. The HFNHL LA Kings took a flier in the seventh round, and days later the 6'3" forward went in the third round of the NHL draft to Dallas. Injuries and a slow start have hampered his season in the USHL this season, however.
Sawada makes the list purely because he has gotten some NHL time, and looks to possibly carve out a career as a fourth line defensive grinder.
Ramo is the only goalie on the list, and even he isn't in North America anymore. His rights were traded in the NHL to the Montreal Canadiens, and some are optomistic he may return to North America soon.