Yanick Lehoux is a high scoring Kings prospect, currently playing for Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL. Lehoux is averaging nearly two points a game. In 55 games he has 48 goals, 61 assists (109 points) and has an amazing 13 short handed goals. These numbers have gotten Lehoux a snub from the Canadian World Junior Championship team, and is generally regarded as the Kings’ 4th to 5th best prospect. How could this happen during a career year?
Lehoux is listed at 6’0, 190 lbs.. Most who have seen him in person would regard this as a reach. Add this rumored lack of size to his absence from the WJC squad and one name comes to King’s fans minds:
While Lehoux numbers are breathtaking, they are not new to the Kings’ system. Rosa had 63 goals in 68 games in the Q, and scored 153 points. Numbers that had the Kings foaming at the mouth. Those stats have brought the Kings whopping four NHL goals so far, and Rosa is playing in Europe. Another prospect that boasted lofty numbers was Justin Papineau. The Kings elected not to sign him and he recently played in the AHL All-Star Game as a member of the St. Louis Blues organization. Papineau was in the nearly identical situation that Lehoux is currently in, and his development may turn out to be egg on the Kings’ faces.
Another problem for Lehoux has been the emergence of the Kings’ system. Years ago, the Kings would have been touting Lehoux as the next coming, just as they did with Rosa and Papineau. Now, fresh off the WJC’s, the Kings have top prospects like Alexander Frolov and Jared Aulin to speak of. The Kings also have Mike Cammalleri, David Steckel and Jens Karlsson, who all showed signs in the international tournament. These players have all benefited from the WJC experience while Lehoux just continues to score. Labels like “Cherry Picker” and “Defensive Liability” now surround Lehoux, much as they did with Rosa. The result has been some bloom of the Lehoux rose.
While the excitement about other prospects is certainly warranted, Lehoux is an enormous talent. His hockey sense is evidenced by his knack for the shorthanded goal. He knows how to score, how to move the puck, and he didn’t sulk after being cut from the Canadian WJC team- he just continued to rack up points.
Frolov and Aulin may turn out to be special players, but that will not be at the expense of Lehoux. Yanick has the potential to be great, just as the other prospects do. Make no mistake, Lehoux has alot to work on with his game, but he will be a star in the NHL. Here’s hoping the Kings realize that and we don’t see Lehoux in a future All-Star Game wearing another team’s sweater.