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.
Photo: Los Angeles Kings prospect Paul Ladue will play at the University of North Dakota starting in the fall of 2013 (courtesy of Kim Fogle/Lincoln Stars)
During the 2010-11 season, defenseman Paul LaDue was playing for the Alexandria Blizzard of the North American Hockey League, a Tier II junior league known more for producing players for the NCAA rather than the NHL. Just a year later, on June 23rd of this year, he heard his name called at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh.
Tanner Pearson parlayed a breakout OHL campaign for the Barrie Colts into a first-round selection and entry-level contract with the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings. (courtesy of CHL Images)
Winning the Stanley Cup is a proud moment for an the entire organization from top to bottom, but while the players, coaching staff, and upper management get much of the publicized credit, scouting and development personnel rarely get their due praise.
Photo: Winger Tyler Toffoli is one of the top offensive prospects in the Kings system. Toffoli managed 52 goals in 65 OHL games in 2011-12. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
Thanks to graduations and trades, Thomas Hickey was the only former first-round pick among the Los Angeles Kings’ prospects last season. Thin on high-profile selections, the Kings system was replete with well-rounded players seeking to strengthen their identity to carve niches at the next level. However, it was also brimming with character, industriousness, and a number of players who exceeded expectations. Shifting from high selections and home-run swings, the Kings have sought to invest later selections shrewdly as they have solidified their pro roster, which captured the Stanley Cup this past season.