While the Kings’ season has not started well, the prospects that comprise the rejuvenated Kings’ farm system are enjoying fine seasons. Here is a quick look around the system:
The top guns of the system, Alexander Frolov, Jared Aulin and Yannick Lehoux are all starting out their seasons in fire. Frolov has already potted 8 goals in 13 games in the low scoring Russian Super League he plays in. Aulin has 17 points in 9 games following a longer-than-expected stay in camp where he nearly made the Kings big team. Lehoux has 15 goals and 19 points in a mere 10 games. Lehoux in carving a niche as the premiere short-handed goal scorer in the minor leagues.
College stars Mike Cammalleri and David Steckel have started out their seasons strongly. Cammalleri used the stage of a 70 thousand-plus outdoor crown against rival Michigan state to score two goals and add an assist. David Steckel has a goal and two assists in two games for Ohio State.
Fellow Ohio State star Jason Crain, who is coming off of an off season in 2000-01, has been named captain at Ohio State and is already a +2 after two games. Crain was a cherished prospect before last season and Kings’ management is watching and hoping his development continues.
Future King enforcer Kip Brennan has not found the AHL to his liking yet. Brennan was beaten badly by AHL veteran Mel Angelstad in Portland. Kip has only played three games so far and his development has to be a priority for the enforcer-less Kings. (Thanks Earl)
Andrei Shefer is scoreless in 6 games for Severstal Cherpovets in the Ru Read more»
It will be an interesting season for the Kings and their organization. On the NHL level, the Kings will face a pivotal season- they need to show L.A. that they are not penny pinching, but rather building a strong, defensive team. They will need to replace fan favorite Luc Robitaille and his on-ice and community presence. They will also have to hope Felix Potvin can go into his bag of tricks for another season and that the first full season without Rob Blake looks more like the end of last season than what many experts are predicting. Here is a rundown of best and worse case scenarios:
Best Case- The Kings play defense like last season, Potvin sparkles in net again and Bednar and Heinze pick up some of the scoring slack. Ken Belanger patrols the ice to keep the skill forwards healthy and Josef Stumpel and Ziggy Palffy are healthy all season and are effective with Adam Deadmarsh. Eric Belanger takes the next step that the Kings think he can and Modry, Boucher, Lilja and Karalahti can fill in the final defensive pairing.
Worst Case- Potvin returns to the form that had him ticketed to the IHL last season. The defense is ineffective and lacks the hammer on the power play. Bednar turns into Tomas Vlasak. Karalahti and Lilja prove to be too slow and Boucher and Modry realize they are bottom-tier NHL defensemen. Ken Belanger suffers an early concussion and is unable to deter opposing players from running Ziggy Palffy and Josef Stumpel, who spend the majority of the season injured. Eric Belanger returns to the funk that kept him from the NHL before last season Read more»
The Kings are moving along in their preseason schedule, and there have been some surprises – both good and bad. With two cuts already having been made, here is where the Kings are.
First, the development, or lack thereof, of Jaroslav Bednar has to be the primary concern. No matter what anyone says now, the Kings planned on having Bednar on one of their top two lines. After spending the summer saying that he was not like Tomas Vlasak, Bednar has spent the last two weeks proving that he might be exactly like him.
The play of some young forwards has been encouraging. Even though they will likely not make the team, Yannick Lehoux and Jared Aulin have shown that they have NHL-caliber stuff and will be here soon enough. Add to that the surprise play of Chris Schmidt and Derek Bekar along with solid play by Adam Mair and the Kings have the chance to have a young prospect crack the everyday lineup. It will likely be Mair or even Bekar, but the once written-off Schmidt has shown some signs of life and he may finish the season with the big club. Young tough guy Ryan Flinn is battling the likely enforcer Ken Belanger for the muscle spot and if nothing else, he has a steel dome and fears no one on the ice which has been a successful formula for more than one tough guy in the league.
Young defensemen Joe Rullier, Richard Seeley, Tomas Zizka and even Andreas Lilja have shown some spark. Lilja appears to be too slow to be the player they once thought, but he could be a player in the mold of Sean O’Donnell, and those kind of defensemen are valuable. Zizka looks Read more»
Kings Director of Professional Scouting Ace Bailey and scout Mark Bavis were among the thousands of victims from Tuesday’s cowardly acts of terrorism.
Ace Bailey was a two-time Stanley Cup winner in Boston and a highly regarded scout in Los Angeles. His off-season input lead to the signings of Steve Heinze and Ken Belanger. He leaves his wife and son.
Mark Bavis, 31, was instrumental in the Kings’ off-season. He played a major role in the drafting of David Steckel. Bavis has a twin brother who coaches at Boston University.
The entire LA Kings Hockeys Future staff extends their deepest sympathies and condolences.
When the Kings gave up on Aki Berg last season, the Kings seemed pretty happy about getting rid of Berg and getting a draft pick. They also acquired left wing Adam Mair and while most hockey pundits don’t give Mair much of a chance to contribute, he will help the Kings this season.
There isn’t much to Adam Mair. He stands about 6-0 and weighs about 190 pounds. He has a pretty good shot and loves to play the body. He will drop the gloves if need be, and he is defensively responsible. That description fits not only Adam Mair, but about half of the Kings’ potential line-up. What makes Adam Mair stand out among the others?
Mair has never been a scorer. His career high 25 goals in 56 OHL games in 1997-98 is his high water mark. He is not a great distributor of the puck- his 35 assists in 1996-97 were the most he’s ever had. How can Mair help the Kings?
Adam Mair has the potential to be what the Kings need- a gritty player who can get both his team and his fans into a game with one hit. He has only one speed- extra high intensity. The Kings and their fans know what a player like this brings- they have seen Ian Lapperriere develop into a fan favorite and a vital cog in the Kings’ machine.
Trying to make a team over from the offensive team that feature Luc Robitaille to a grinding, playoff-style team with players like Steve Heinze and Adam Deadmarsh sets the table for a guy like Adam Mair. He can offer the open ice hitting, the defensive intensity and even pop in some goals with his heavy and accurate shot. Mair didn’t get much of a chance last Read more»