Yanick Lehoux is a high scoring Kings prospect, currently playing for Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL. Lehoux is averaging nearly two points a game. In 55 games he has 48 goals, 61 assists (109 points) and has an amazing 13 short handed goals. These numbers have gotten Lehoux a snub from the Canadian World Junior Championship team, and is generally regarded as the Kings’ 4th to 5th best prospect. How could this happen during a career year?
Lehoux is listed at 6’0, 190 lbs.. Most who have seen him in person would regard this as a reach. Add this rumored lack of size to his absence from the WJC squad and one name comes to King’s fans minds:
While Lehoux numbers are breathtaking, they are not new to the Kings’ system. Rosa had 63 goals in 68 games in the Q, and scored 153 points. Numbers that had the Kings foaming at the mouth. Those stats have brought the Kings whopping four NHL goals so far, and Rosa is playing in Europe. Another prospect that boasted lofty numbers was Justin Papineau. The Kings elected not to sign him and he recently played in the AHL All-Star Game as a member of the St. Louis Blues organization. Papineau was in the nearly identical situation that Lehoux is currently in, and his development may turn out to be egg on the Kings’ faces.
Another problem for Lehoux has been the emergence of the Kings’ system. Years ago, the Kings would have been touting Lehoux as the next coming, just as they did with Rosa and Papineau. Now, fresh off the WJC’s, the Kings have top prospects like Alexander Frolov and Jared Aulin Read more»
The Kings called up Ryan Flinn and gave him his shot. The result has been a shot in the arm for the Kings.
21-year-old Ryan Flinn came to the Kings a week ago. After being scratched against the Ducks, he got his shot last Thursday in a game against Minnesota. His first scrap was with Brad Brown- a tough customer but no heavyweight. The results- a TKO and Brown has not returned to the ice yet. Flinn showed a vicious right as he disposed of Brown. The fight energized the team and the person who should benefit from Flinn’s arrival the most, Ziggy Palffy, scored a short handed goal just minutes later.
After an uneventful game in L.A. against Colorado, Flinn and the Kings took the ice in Denver Monday night and the fans got what they wanted- Scott Parker and Ryan Flinn squared off. Flinn stung Parker with a solid right that did major damage to Parker’s face. Parker kept his face away from Flinn for a few seconds and then threw a couple crushing rights, one that sent Flinn to a knee. A great fight with Parker getting a slight edge, despite the fact he did not skate again the rest of the evening.
Two fights and two impressive showings. Ryan Flinn has inflicted some damage on two NHL tough guys, and stood toe to toe with one of the toughest- Scott Parker. After watching the Kings get pushed around in the first half of the season, it is apparent that Ryan Flinn is the man right now.
If the choice comes down to the three enforcers who have skated for the Kings this season (Flinn, Brennan and Ken Belanger), Flinn has emerged as the clear leader. F Read more»
The Los Angeles Kings have two enforcers currently patrolling the ice at AHL Manchester. King draft pick Kip Brennan, who just returned from his first stint in the NHL, and the recently signed free agent Ryan Flinn. Both are big, both are young and 21, and both can handle themselves and protect their teammates. It would appear than neither will win any scoring titles, so it would be difficult for both play for the Kings at the same time (although fans would love it). So the question is, who will be the future enforcer?
Kip Brennan (6’4, listed at 222 but closer to 200) was chosen in the fourth round of the 1998 draft by the Kings and has emerged as the top fighter in the system. Brennan went to Lowell last season but was clearly not ready for the AHL and was returned to Sudbury for the balance of the season. This seaso, that appears to have helped because Brennan has taken on all comers in the AHL and more than held his own. Brennan has an enforcer’s demeanor and is learning to pick his spots effectively. Brennan’s recent stint is the NHL was effective if not impressive. He fought two of the most difficult players to fight in the NHL- the awkward Steve McKenna, who he struggled to stand up with, and Andre Nazarov who grabbed the rear numbers of his jersey and held on until the officials came in. He also tried and failed to get Steve Webb to go on the island and drew his first NHL penalty. He used this as a lesson (that was in his NHL debut) and he seemed to learn from that. As he became more comfortable, he was more effective in the low cycle with his lin Read more»
It has been quite a season already for the Kings and their system, but despite an average record for the Big Club, the Kings’ farm system has never stood taller.
The big news around the Kings’ system is the play of their prospects at the World Junior Championships. The Kings owned the rights to three of the top six point scorers in the WJC’s. Gold Medal winner Alexander Frolov is the real deal and the hockey world seems to know it now. Rave reviews about his blend of smooth skating and power around the net are still coming in. Frolov’s walk-out goal in the final game was huge and started the rally that won the game for Russia. Frolov has the potential to be the impact rookie that the Kings have not seen since Luc Robitaille. Frolov could arrive as soon as next season, which would allow him to play with Jason Allison. The Kings must be drooling at the prospect of pairing a playmaker like Allison with a potential finisher like Frolov. In any case, Frolov is emerging as the crown jewel of the Kings’ system.
Another riser is the diminutive Mike Cammalleri. Cammalleri lead the WJC’s in goals and points and emerged as a leader on Team Canada. Cammalleri is not real big, but is an intriguing player due to his scoring and leadership abilities. Mike’s success at Michigan and the WJC’s has him rising up the charts of Kings’ prospects.
Jared Aulin’s 9 points put him third among the scoring leaders at the WJC’s. Aulin is am NHL caliber player who can play both center and wing. Aulin continues to impress as well and caught the eye of the hockey world.
Nearly every team in the NHL covets a big defenseman. A big cannon at the point on the power play is something that teams are always seeking. An aggressive, hard hitting, nasty blueliner is a staple for any successful team. The Los Angeles Kings got all of that when they signed the best defenseman outside the NHL, Jere Karalahti, two years ago. Now Karalahti is a healthy scratch and seems destined to make his NHL mark in another city.
Granted Karalahti has his shortcomings. His discipline off the ice has always come into question ever since his drug problems in Finland in the mid 90′s. Reports of Jere’s behavior have been Internet fodder ever since his NHL arrival. No one would argue that Karalahti’s drug problems are behind him and he has stayed out of harm’s way with the exception of an alcohol related incident in 2000. On the ice, he is not the most fleet of foot and his decision making has come into question. He has been learning to play defenseman in the NHL on the fly and while it is an ongoing process, it is an evolving one.
Karalahti’s skills are undeniable. He is a fierce hitter and has a heavy shot. The Kings knew this when he came over and he showed it for spurts in his first season. He had a couple blue line power play goals in his first season and he was relentless in the physical game- he would hit anyone who came near him. These traits did not blend with the Andy Murray style. Jere would often leave his responsibility to make the hit or take the shot and the result was often an outnumbered attack or an unattended forward waiting for Read more»