Photo: Reigning top prospect Tyler Toffoli was named Rookie of the Year in the AHL before he stepped up with an excellent playoff performance for the Kings (courtesy of Vincent Muzik/Icon SMI)
The Los Angeles Kings did not have much time after a conference finals exit at the hands of the Blackhawks to ready themselves for the 2013 NHL Draft. Nonetheless the Kings managed to pick up several quality players, including what was widely considered the steal of the draft in Valentin Zykov.
Photo: Rookie winger Tanner Pearson has done a lot of the dirty work for the Manchester Monarchs’ top line in 2012-13 (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
While some teams thrive in the development of one position or another, the Los Angeles Kings have had players of all shapes, sizes, positions, and styles put up noteworthy seasons this year that deserve recognition. While the prospect pool has waned in recent times with promotions, trades, and general roster transactions and development, the team still has a wide range of talent in multiple positions. All the way from the two-way grinding forward, to the pure sniper, to the gritty and physical defenseman, the Kings have seen a number of talented draft picks put up superb seasons in 2012-13 in very different ways.
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.