Photo: Minnesota Wild defensive prospect Matt Dumba received a brief look from the parent club to start the 2012-13 season before being returned to his WHL team, the Red Deer Rebels (courtesy of Brad Rempel/Icon SMI)
Our ranking of the drafted WHL defensemen includes a mix of offensively gifted players and prototypical “shut down” defensemen. For this list, the criteria we ranked “signed” prospects currently playing in the WHL. A handful of these defensemen attended their respective NHL training camps.
Photo: Windsor Spitfires' defenseman Nick Ebert is one of several late-round defensive picks in the Kings' system developing at the junior level. (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Los Angeles Kings currently have eight players developing in the CHL and USHL junior levels. Of those eight players, five are defenseman, and of those five defenseman, two were free agent signings and the other three were taken after the fourth round.
Photo: Two-way blueliner Jake Muzzin is one of the Los Angeles Kings' top defensive prospects playing with the AHL's Manchester Monarchs in 2012-13. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
For many years running now the Los Angeles Kings have had one of the best youth systems in the NHL. However, with promotions of players, deals involving picks, and later round selections, the pool has diminished slightly over time. It is the natural progression of a rebuilding mode that has given the organization three top-five picks since 2007 and seven top-15 picks since 2005.