The Los Angeles Kings got part one of their off-season work done Monday when they signed highly regarded prospect Yannick Lehoux to a three year contract.
Lehoux will report to the Kings AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs, on Tuesday. The Monarchs are preparing to open their first ever playoff series on April 13.
Lehoux also signed an amateur tryout contract with the Kings, so he could potentially play in one of the Kings final three games should they clinch a definitive playoff position. The Kings finish Sunday in Anaheim and if they have locked up their position, the Kings may give the faithful a look at the future.
The Kings next targets would appear to be Jared Aulin and Alex Frolov.
The 2001-2002 season has brought prosperity for the Kings both in the system and on the NHL level. The Kings were able to do some key things that they have not been able to do in year’s past-
1) The Kings were able to develop some top prospects that they acquired in trades and from drafts. Alex Frolov has emerged as a potential NHL star and Jared Aulin, Yannick Lehoux and Mike Cammalleri have all had seasons that have pushed them into the legitimate prospect category. The Kings have also seen defense prospects Joe Corvo and Tomas Zizka emerge as potential NHL defensemen as soon as next season. Add the improved play of Jens Karlsson and the Kings system is deep heading into a draft where they have a first round pick and two first round picks the following year.
2) The Kings were able to develop their own affiliates in Manchester and Reading. The Monarchs have been a monumental success. All of their prospects have been able to develop under their own coaching and the team has been successful as well. The franchise is a hit in Manchester and the players have prospered there.
3) The Kings were able to dip into the system when needed and were the beneficiaries of some positive results. When enforcer Ken Belanger went down, they were able to call on Kip Brennan and new fan favorite Ryan Flinn who combined to give the Kings the punch the Kings were missing for much of the season. In fact, their inspired play lit a fire under Ken Belanger who has played his best hockey since returning. When Eric Belanger went down the Kings were able to go to Brad C Read more»
As the trade deadline nears closer and closer, hockey critics have provided
us with their predications of what to expect before the 3:00 pm deadline on
Tuesday. According to the majority of critics, such as TSN’s Bob McKenzie,
deadline should be marked by a number of insignificant trades quite unlike
what we have become accustomed to in the past seasons.
Although the Los Angeles Kings started the season poorly, they have been one
of the NHL’s hottest teams and seemed destined to make some noise in the
upcoming playoffs, especially if they are lucky enough to play the Chicago
Blackhawks in the first round, who have had a strong season but really
cannot be considered a serious contender in the Western Conference.
The Kings were involved in the most talked about trade of last year’s
deadline when they sent Rob Blake to the Colorado Avalanche for Adam
Deadmarsh and Aaron Miller. Will the Kings once again make significant
adjustments to the roster? The answer is likely no, but it should be noted
the recent addition of veteran forward, Cliff Ronning, does improve the
Cliff Ronning has played in over 1000 games and participated in the Stanley
Cup finals as a member of the Vancouver Canucks. Although he is now 36 years
old, he once again led the Nashville Predators in scoring and can be relied
upon to provide some offense, taking away some of the burden from Jason
The addition of Ronning provides Andy Murray with some more depth but
without Karalahti, the Kings are not willing to part with any other player Read more»
Some notes, news and observations about the Kings system:
The Los Angeles Kings have to be pleased with the return to form of Jarslov Bednar. In his first game back in the NHL on Monday he showed alot of spunk. He played the body all night, made some crisp passes and had several scoring opportunities on a line with Jason Allison and Adam Deadmarsh. He is a nice fit with those two and could be a key cog if the Kings are unable to land a top six winger.
It seems like a good year to have a rebound as a defenseman in the Kings system. In the collegiate ranks, Jason Crain has had a great season after struggling last year. Crain has developed into a leader and shown some offense this year. Crain has 10 points and is a +7 in 35 games- solid numbers in the college game. Richard Seeley and Joe Rullier have developed their defensive games in Manchester and while neither may be the offensive prospects once hope for, you can’t get enough big, physical defensemen. The best comeback is by Joe Corvo. Once out of hockey and the King’s plans, Corvo is Manchester’s best defensemen and may be in the NHL next season.
College prospect Noah Clarke has had another great offensive season for Colorado College. Clarke has 29 points in 33 games. Clarke and Sweden’s Tim Eriksson are both in the same boat- having great seasons but limited due to their small stature.
Very quietly, Jen Karlsson is finding his game. Look for this kid to keep developing and turning into a solid pick, even though the Kings have taken some heat for picking him in the first round.
Fin Read more»
It’s a rite of spring for all Kings fans. Is this the trading deadline when Jamie Storr will be dealt to another team for a big name player? The question is more pressing than ever this season. The Kings are playing as well as anyone in the league right now and may be a player away from making a run at the Stanley Cup Finals. The only real tradable commodity for the Kings right now is Jamie Storr, but what does that do for the future?
Felix Potvin is fully entrenched as the #1 goalie and is playing well. Stefan Fiset is in Manchester and with his hefty salary, the Kings would trade him for yesterday’s newspaper. Storr has done an admirable job as a backup, and the Kings have done an even more admirable job positioning him to do so, handpicking his games to make him more effective.
While Storr has not played the toughest schedule, his confidence is high and prior to Wednesday’s game in Pittsburgh he was playing the best hockey of his NHL career. The Kings have seen signs of the netminder that they have worked so hard to hold on to, even at the expense of other players on their roster.
If they do deal Storr, what will happen in two years. Granted, Potvin is excelling but how many more years can the Kings count on him. Can Jamie wait another year after this to take the #1 spot? Do the Kings have a goalie they can depend on if they do trade Storr?
If Storr were traded today, Fiset would be the backup. he would be a capable backup, but if pressed into every day service he cannot be relied on due to his injury-prone nature. If Potvin plays thro Read more»