The Los Angeles Kings have always had a tie to collegiate hockey. The pipeline in the pro ranks includes former NCAA talents like Michael Mersch, Kevin Gravel, Derek Forbort, Nic Dowd, Joel Lowry, Nick Shore and Johnny Brodzinski. Now, the Kings are looking at a much thinner and less diverse group of NCAA prospects. Read more»
Hockey is a tough sport with a lot to think about and a lot of moving parts on the ice. There is the physical aspect as well as the mental aspect that players have to develop. In the early stages of their career it is not uncommon to see one fall a step behind the other. The Kings have six prospects playings in the NCAA ranks and overseas, and most of them have endured seasons of struggles with a steep learning curve. Some, like Nikolai Prokhorkin, are battling mental challenges, while others like Adrian Kempe are battling the physical challenges. Either way it has made for a year filled with growing pains that will hopefully better these players as they move forward in their careers.
The Los Angeles Kings have had an up and down season in 2014-15. They are a team that has struggled during the regular season year after year, but this year the team has faced other challenges. With suspensions, injuries, and inconsistent play from several veteran players, the Kings have turned towards some of the younger members to step forward. With a history of young players making a difference (Dwight King and Jordan Nolan in 2012, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli in 2014), it remains to be seen who will be the 2014-15 spark.
Without having too many high selections in recent drafts, the Los Angeles Kings have done quite well in growing their pipeline in areas of need. While the graduation of Martin Jones does hurt the goalie pipeline, they continue to stock up on useful centers and defenseman. While the wings might not be top-tier, there are some role players and quality players peppered throughout.