The Kings have had their problems in the early part of this NHL campaign, but there is reason for optimism. Not only have the Kings acquired a young centerman to build around in Jason Allison, the minor league system that was once considered the NHL’s worst is now showcasing some of the best talent in hockey.
The Kings have stocked up on talented forwards, and are now faced with the pleasant situation of having several players battle for the title of “top prospect”. Alexander Frolov is having a monster year, showcasing every phase of an NHL-type game. In the last ten days he has scored a goal on a penalty shot and added an assist to get the #1 star in the Soviet Wings Dec. 1 game and then garnered the #1 star without scoring a point- his defense earned him that recognition. Frolov is still a boy and has collected 14 goals already- he seems to be developing a flawless game on both ends of the ice.
The Kings also have three players invited to Canada’s WJC tryout camp- Jared Aulin, Mike Cammelleri and Yanick Lehoux. All three players are having solid seasons, as Aulin and Lehoux are among the scoring leaders in their leagues and Cammelleri continues to turn heads at Michigan.
The Kings have two goalies having solid seasons overseas- Cristobel Huet has 23 wins and Alexey Volkov seems to be re-establishing his skills in Russia.
Along with Volkov, two other players seem to be returning to form after struggling last year. Jason Crain has rebounded this season to post 2 goals and 4 assists in 14 games for the #12 Buckeyes. Perhaps best of all, Crain is a +6. Andrei Shefer is having a better season back in Russia too. He has added nearly 20 pounds since he was drafted and is actually playing alot of defenseman, where he has received some positive reviews.
Kings picks from 2001 are still evolving- David Steckel has 8 points in 14 games and Jens Karlsson is seriously scuffing. The good news is that they will have the time to develop if the other prospects continue their solid play and development.
So as King fans watch their team struggle through this season, they can take solace in the fact that tomorrow’s teams are getting better every day.