Lake Erie Monsters coach Jared Bednar understands the challenge in front of his team as it prepares for the Calder Cup Western Conference Finals against the Ontario Reign.
The Reign are the defending champions, having won the title last season as the Manchester Monarchs, and return 15 players with championship rings. In addition, Ontario is big, physical and plays “Los Angeles Kings-style hockey” that wins in the playoffs. Read more»
The Los Angeles Kings are into the NHL postseason, facing the San Jose Sharks in what should be one of the best first-round series. The Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Ontario Reign, have clinched their division and are also into the postseason. The Kings also have had players with amazing junior seasons – Spencer Watson and Michael Amadio in particular – and can boast of one with an NCAA national title (Paul LaDue). Read more»
The Los Angeles Kings system remains robust in role players, grinders, and two-way defensemen. This has always seemed to be the case. However, the organization is starting to see a nice evolution from a few players within the system. When you have so few high end picks, you have to hope for the growth of the Mersch’s, the Dowd’s, and the Auger’s of the pipeline to come through for you in filling in the gaps. While some of these players are in the very nascent stages of their careers and development paths, they are starting to rise just like the development team had hoped.
After a big move from the east coast to the west coast, and a name change, not much else has changed. The newly-branded Ontario Reign are coming into this season as defending champions of the AHL, and they are playing like it early on. Part of the reason is that the Los Angeles Kings have a pretty loaded group of AHL prospects. While other systems may have a high amount of CHL or college prospects, most of the Kings’ picks from years past are now at the AHL level. Surprisingly though, only one of the players is a first round selection (Adrian Kempe).
With NHL prospects, we are almost always presented with two major questions: “Can they follow up a strong season?” and “How will they adapt at the next level?” The Los Angeles Kings prospect pool has many rather high profile players falling into one or both of these categories this coming season. Read more»