Photo: The Los Angeles Kings 15th overall pick in 2011, Derek Forbort signed a pro contract in April and finished the season in AHL Manchester (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
After 2012 saw a first ever Stanley Cup for the Los Angeles Kings franchise, 2013 brought forth a noble defense of the title but elimination in the Conference Finals by the Chicago Blackhawks. In what is considered the most difficult of tasks, the Kings came just three wins from reaching a second consecutive final and a chance at repeating as champions.
Photo: Rookie pro Tyler Toffoli has made a seamless transition to the AHL in 2012-13, leading the Manchester Monarchs with 26 goals so far this season. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
On the Stanley Cup winning roster of the 2012 Los Angeles Kings, there were 12 homegrown, King-drafted players, 10 of whom had spent time in the AHL with the Manchester Monarchs at some point in their career. Over the years the team has built from the draft and tried to develop talent from within rather than trading or building through free agency.
Photo: The fourth overall pick in 2007, defenseman Thomas Hickey is still trying to find his game in the AHL as part of the Manchester Monarchs' blue line corps. (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The Los Angeles Kings minor league affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, is absolutely packed and brimming with talent of all shapes and sizes. Through recent drafting and promotion of junior level prospects, the Monarchs have filled their lines and pairings with a wealth of two-way talent, defensive talent, goal-scorers, and grinders.
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.
Photo: Nick Shore, one of the many skilled forwards to watch in the Kings' system in 2012-13, is already off to a quick start for Denver University. (courtesy of Patrick S Blood/Icon SMI)
The 2012-13 season commences for the Los Angeles Kings prospects knowing that their organization just achieved hockey's greatest prize. Through years of solid drafting and good prospect development, the Kings were able to mold a championship-winning lineup. It seems that this trend is still alive and well within the pipeline with notable prospects at all levels of play.