Kings’ Norris Winning Defenseman Rob Blake has emerged as one of the top players in the NHL ever since he came to the club. Blake as able to step in and contribute right away because he had played and excelled on the collegiate level and his experience paid immediate dividends. The Kings have a few players in the college ranks right now that may give the Kings a boost down the line. Here is a quick rundown:
The most intriguing college prospect is Noah Clarke. The Kings made the diminutive Clarke their ninth round draft pick in 1999. Noah currently plays for Colorado College of the WCHA. Clarke is the highest scoring college prospect for the Kings with 20 points in 23 games (9 goals and 11 assists). Despite being a freshman, Clarke is third on his team in scoring. The reason I am personally pulling for Clarke is that he is a California native, hailing from LaVerne and attending Claremont High School. Clarke is small in stature- he is 5’9: and 175 pounds but has shown some promise. If Jason Blake can play on the NHL level then there is hope for Clarke.
As we approach the halfway mark of the season, here are the highs and lows of the system.
The best story so far is Joe Rullier. He is quickly emerging as the top defensive prospect in the Kings system. He has shown the grit the Kings like at the blue line and has added some solid offense. Rullier was the only Kings’ representative on Canada’s WJC team and has put up solid numbers for Rimouski of the QMJHL.
The most concerning story is Scott Barney. The Kings have been so hush-hush about this that one can only wonder what the problem is. To the best of my knowledge, Barney is still nursing a back injury and is not even skating right now. This is the big centerman the Kings have longed for. An unfavorable diagnosis would make a thin pipeline even thinner.
What to watch out for is firstly, Barney. Will he play this season? Secondly is how Pavel Rosa emerges. He has been decent in Long Beach, but where is the goal scoring? Is he moping in Long Beach or is this what the guy is? The Kings seem like they would have to at least give him a cup of coffee this season, even if it is to show him for trade.
The Los Angeles Kings recent slide has overshadowed what has been a great season to-date. The Kings started the season playing over their heads and are currently playing below their ability. That is not unusual- teams go through slumps. The part that may be somewhat distressing is that when the Kings could use a spark from the farm system, some peek at a great prospect that will reinvigorate players and fans alike, the best the Kings could do…
No offense to Len Barrie. He plays hard and with grit and he is an excellent minor league hockey player, but he would likely not crack 75% of the NHL teams fourth line. It was this move that lead to a look at the system. The fact, while hard to swallow, is that the Kings do not have an impact player that is even remotely ready to play in the NHL.
The Kings seem to be on either side of the prospect fence. They have prospects like Pavel Rosa and Jason Podollan who posses promise but a call-up would likely expose the holes in their games and impede on any potential movement in regards to expansion. Both of these guys, along with Donald MacLean, Nathan Lafayette and Rich Brennan can prosper in the minors, making themselves more appealing to Columbus or Minnesota.
LOS ANGELES KINGS ORGANIZATIONAL ROSTER
“Tough to Play Against.”
As of December 14 1999
Owners: Philip F. Anschutz and Edward P. Roski Jr.
Governor: Bob Sanderman
President/Alternate Governor: Tim Leiweke
Senior Vice President/General Manager: Dave Taylor
Assistant to the General Manager: Kevin Gilmore
Assistant to the General Manager: John Wolf
Director of Player Personnel: Bill O’Flaherty
Director of Professional Scouting: Ace Bailey
Director of Amateur Scouting: Al Murray
Professional Scout: Rob Laird
Amateur Scouts: Serge Aubry, Greg Dreschel and John Stanton
European Scouts: Vaclav Nedomansky and Ari Vuori
TV Commentators: Bob Miller and Jim Fox
Radio Commentators: Nick Nickson and Daryl Evans
Head Coach: Andy Murray
Assistant Coaches: Ray Bennett Mark Hardy Dave Tippett
Video Coordinator: Bill Gurney
Trainer: Peter Demers
Fitness Consultant: Guy Lemasurier
Rehabilitation Trainer Strength/Conditioning Coach: Robert Zolg
Equipment Manager: Peter Millar
Captain: D Rob Blake
Alternates: D Garry Galley and LW Luc Robitaille
Arena: Staples Center
Affiliates Lowell AHL, Long Beach IHL and Mississippi ECHL
Flagship Station: KRLA-AM 111 [Los Angeles]
Radio Network: KBET 1220 AM Santa Clarita, CA, KGEO 1230 AM Bakersfield, CA,
KHJJ 1380 AM Palmdale/Lancaster, CA, KSHP 1400 AM Las Vegas, NV, KTRO 1400 AM Read more»
Jere Karalahti had his first taste of the NHL last Friday against Detroit, and after being returned to Long Beach, it appears that will be it for the time being. With that in mind, here is the lowdown on his debut.
Firstly, Jere is a big, rugged looking defenseman. As I watched his warm-up in his #8 Kings’ road jersey I thought of what he offered that the two players who most recently wore that number (Kristich and Bodger) didn’t- grit, physical play and toughness.
Karalahti’s first game was not all wine and roses. There were several instances where Jere left his zone and seemed to skate in his own game, often leaving Matty Norstrom alone on 2 on 1’s. The good news is that he often left his position to deliver a hit. In fact, he lead the team in hits for the game. On one of his first shifts there was a little mucking after the whistle. Jere was the first player on the scene which was good to see.
As the game pressed on, Jere seemed to time his hits better. The most obvious thing was the Karalahti can handle the puck. Just as fellow rookie Frankie Kaberle, Jere holds the puck a little longer to make sure the right pass is made. Towards the end of the game he did make a some bad decisions with the puck, but for the most part his blend of grit and puckhandling is unique.