Kings 2008-09 AHL/ECHL prospects review

By Robby Lewis

The Manchester Monarchs finished fifth in the AHL Atlantic Division with a 37-35-8 record. They were just five points away from a playoff berth, and they were constantly having players recalled by the LA Kings throughout the season.

The Kings added a new ECHL affiliate this year, the Orlando Reign. The Reign were very impressive in their inaugural campaign in the ECHL. They finished first in the Pacific Division with a 38-29-6 record. They were ousted in the first round of the playoffs by the Stockton Thunder in the seventh game.

AHL

Ted Purcell, RW, 23

Purcell split his season between the Monarchs and the Kings. While he continued to dominate the AHL with 16 goals and 22 assists in 38 games, he struggled to mimic his offense with the Kings. Purcell scored four goals and had 12 assists in 40 games with the Kings. He did have a five-game point streak from Mar. 1 to Mar. 9, but he had just three points in his final 16 games. Purcell played his best when he centered the Kings’ top line of Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, but he will have to become less streaky to find a permanent home there. Purcell has top-six forward potential, and the Kings will give him another shot to prove he can score in the NHL next season.

Brian Boyle, C, 24

Boyle had four goals and one assist for the Kings for the second straight season. It took him 28 games to reach this total this time. The 6’7 center is starting to figure out his role for the Kings. His offensive numbers took a hit with the Monarchs, scoring 10 goals and adding 11 assists in 42 games. However, he had 73 penalty minutes and started to play with the grit you would expect to see from such a large forward. The Kings have enough young scoring talent that they want to see Boyle use his size as much as his skill while playing. Boyle will likely bounce around again next season.

Trevor Lewis, C, 22

Lewis got off to such a fast start with the Monarchs that the Kings called him up for a 12-day stint in late December. He had one goal and three assists in six games before the Kings sent him back to get more playing time with the Monarchs. Lewis finished with career totals of 20 goals and 31 assists in 75 games for the Monarchs — a 23-point improvement from last season. Lewis also led the Monarchs with four shorthanded goals. The speedy center had much higher offensive numbers than expected and will have a chance to make the NHL club in training camp.

Jonathan Bernier, G, 20

Bernier was excellent in his first full professional season. He compiled a record of 23-24-4 with a GAA of 2.40, a.914 save percentage and five shutouts. Bernier stole quite a few victories for the Monarchs and kept them in the playoff hunt until late. Bernier showed great quickness and did not give forwards many places to shoot.

With the emergence of Jon Quick as an NHL starting goalie, Bernier’s time may be pushed back a little bit. Bernier remains one of the best young goalies coming up and if he is not starting, the Kings will not waste his talent on the bench next season.

Matt Moulson, LW, 25

Moulson started the season on the Kings’ top line, but he struggled with just one goal in seven games. Moulson was sent to the Monarchs in November where he didn’t put his head down and was dominant yet again. Moulson scored 21 goals and had 26 assists in 54 games with the Monarchs. However, this season is disappointing because the 25-year-old has proven all he needs to at the AHL level. If there is not a spot in the Kings’ lineup next season for the talented winger, a change of scenery may be the solution.

Vyacheslav Voinov, D, 19

The Kings signed their 2008 second-round pick in September. From there, Voinov went straight to the Monarchs where he made a lot of noise as an 18-year-old. He had eight goals and 15 assists in 61 games, which was tied for first in points by defensemen on the team. Voinov quarterbacked the power play at times and showed off his cannon of a shot several times throughout the season. He has made it known that he wants to play in the NHL, but the Kings won’t rush him. Voinov will probably get another season with the Monarchs under his belt and he will likely see his first NHL call-up next year.

Davis Drewiske, D, 24

Drewiske was very solid in his first professional season playing for the Monarchs. The 24-year-old had one goal and 14 assists in 61 games. He showed great shot-blocking ability and used his big frame to get physical with his opponents. Drewiske earned two call-ups to the big club and added three assists in 17 games for the Kings. Drewiske needs to get better at staying out of the box. He had 95 penalty minutes and only one penalty came from fighting. Drewiske is too good defensively to not be on the ice while his team is on the penalty kill. Drewiske will be given every opportunity to make the Kings next season.

David Meckler, C, 21

Meckler’s stock dropped a little bit in his second AHL season. He had 14 goals and 15 assists in 74 games for the Monarchs. Meckler did not show the finishing ability he showed last season when he scored 23 goals. Meckler is a great checker and throws out a lot of hits and this is what he will need to do to stay on the Kings radar. Meckler still has time to get better, but the Kings have way too much talent to think that Meckler will be cracking the regular line-up anytime soon.

Scott Parse, LW, 24

Parse displayed slick playmaking ability in his first professional season. He had 15 goals and 24 assists in 74 games with the Monarchs. He also finished with a plus-6 rating, which was first on the team for forwards. Parse was used on both the penalty kill and power play. Parse works hard every shift and this forces his coaches to take notice. He continues to add muscle and needs another AHL season before it can be determined whether or not he can make it.

Bud Holloway, C, 21

Holloway did what he was supposed to do for the Monarchs this season as a rookie. He scored seven goals and added five assists in 38 games this season and saw quite a bit of time killing penalties. Holloway was used mostly on the third and fourth lines when he was in the lineup and he showed quite a bit of grit and passion when he was given the chance to play. Holloway excelled with the Ontario Reign, scoring 14 goals and adding eight assists in 23 games. Holloway has the skill to make it to the NHL, but he will likely see more time with the Monarchs next season.

Alec Martinez, D, 21

Martinez enjoyed a great rookie season for the Monarchs. He finished the season with eight goals and 15 assists, which tied Voinov for the most points by defensemen on the team. The offensive numbers were a bit of a surprise, but Martinez’s defensive poise was not. Martinez is known for his smooth skating and he used his speed and solid passing to become a great zone-changing defenseman. The Kings have plenty of spots up for grabs on their blue line and Martinez has earned himself a shot at making the Kings very soon.

Marc-Andre Cliche, RW, 22

Cliche lost most of his season due to a separated shoulder he suffered during training camp. He was assigned to the Monarchs in February. This is the second straight year that Cliche has lost a chunk of his season due to injury. The injury did seem toaffect his scoring touch. Cliche had five goals and four assists in 31 games. Cliche looked good defensively with his solid forechecking and ability to get to the puck before the defender. Cliche will play for the Monarchs again next season and hopefully the Kings will get a chance to see what he can do when he’s healthy.

Gabe Gauthier, C, 25

The Monarchs captain saw his offensive numbers drop this season, scoring 12 goals and adding 30 assists in 69 games. Gauthier continued his reputation as a faceoff specialist and continued to be very hard to knock off the puck. This was Gauthier’s third season with the Monarchs and the 25-year-old has only played eight NHL games. Gauthier is 5’9 and his height is a big factor in why he has not received more opportunities. Gauthier will battle for a spot with the Kings during training camp next season, but he may end up in another organization if he isn’t given a shot soon.

Justin Azevedo, C, 21

Azevedo showed glimpses of greatness with the Monarchs this season. The 2007-08 CHL player-of-the-year had 12 goals and 24 assists in 49 games. Very few players can handle a puck as well as Azevdeo can, and he found ways to use his average speed get past much bigger forwards. Azevedo is only 5’7, but he has a lot of determination and raw skill. His playmaking ability should be enough earn a call-up down the road.

Andrew Campbell, D, 21

Campbell struggled in his first season with the Monarchs. He looked great at times, but did not seem comfortable throughout most of the season. The 6’4 defender scored three goals and added five assists in 72 games. Campbell, who is known for his defense, had an atrocious -15 rating and he had trouble beating forwards to pucks. Campbell’s physical presence is enough to earn him more time. He will get another chance to show what he can do with the Monarchs next season.

Vladimir Dravecky, RW, 23

Dravecky was the only Monarch to reach 80 games played, showing off his great durability. The defensive-minded forward was very good on the penalty-kill for the Monarchs and did not look lost on offense. Dravecky scored six goals and added 18 assists. Dravecky played very smart and made few errors when handling the puck. Dravecky will continue to add depth to the Monarchs next season.

Drew Bagnall, D, 25

Bagnall looked better than he did last season for the Monarchs. Bagnall improved his skating and played forwards more aggressively than before. Bagnall had six assists and had a career-high 12 fights in 79 games. Bagnall knows his role and puts his teammates before himself, blocking lots of shots and playing very physical. Bagnall could make the Kings as a depth defenseman.

Richard Clune, LW, 22

Clune was injured for the early part of the season, but showed a lot of energy when he returned to the Monarchs. He scored three goals and added six assists in 35 games. Clune spent about as much time in the penalty box as he did on the ice. He had 13 fights and will likely be asked to fight less next season. Clune is only 5’11 and was dominated in a few of his fights. Clune still is a far way from being NHL ready and will continue to grind for the Monarchs next year.

Josh Kidd, D, 20

Kidd used his enormous size to contribute to the Monarchs this season. Kidd showed he was not afraid to throw his 6’5 frame around and his long reach stopped potential breakaways. Kidd’s skating is not yet NHL caliber, but the Kings will give him plenty of time to improve this. Kidd had one goal and five assists in 33 games, showing he can contribute some on offense. Kidd will continue to work on his skating and will play for the Monarchs again next season.

Kevin Westgarth, C, 25

Westgarth kept up his reputation of being a very solid enforcer for the Monarchs this season. Westgarth fought 17 times and crushed several other victims into the boards with his huge body. Westgarth had four goals and six assists in 65 games and also received his first chance to play with the Kings in March. In nine games, Westgarth had nine penalty minutes and fought Darcy Hordichuk in his first NHL fight. Westgarth will only be called on by the Kings when they need an enforcer, so he will probably continue to bounce around.

Joe Piskula, D, 24

Piskula continued to play strong defense for the Monarchs this season. He had a plus-12 rating and notched 12 assists in 67 games. Piskula continued to prove that he isn’t flashy, but he does know how to knock defenders off the puck while still using good disciple. Piskula played with a lot of heart, and showed promise that he can contribute to an NHL team. There are a lot of defensive openings for the Kings, but there are a lot of defensemen vying for those spots. Pisukla will be back with the Monarchs next year unless he has a spectacular training camp.

ECHL

Jeff Zatkoff, G, 21

Zatkoff was good for the Reign during his first professional season. He emerged as their No. 1 goalie and had a 17-15-3 record with a .915 save percentage and 2.97 GAA. Zatkoff also played in three games with the Monarchs, compiling a 1-2 record with a .918 save percentage and a 2.31 GAA. Zatkoff is behind Bernier and Quick, but he can challenge them if he continues to stop the puck. Zatkoff will have a chance to challenge Bernier for playing time in the AHL next season.

Danny Taylor, G, 23

Taylor was assigned for former ECHL affiliate Reading Royals this season, who are now affiliated with Toronto. Taylor had a 3-17 record with a .881 save percentage and a 3.96 GAA. When he started giving up goals, they continued to pile in. Once Taylor was promoted to the Monarchs, he looked like a completely different goaltender though. He started ahead of Bernier at times and had a 7-4-2 record with a .909 save percentage and a 2.66 GAA. Taylor is at the end of his entry-level contract and becomes a RFA.