Photo: Russian winger Valentin Zykov was named the CHL Rookie of the Year for his 2012-13 campaign with Baie-Comeau in the QMJHL (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Despite not having a first round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Los Angeles Kings still managed to grab some talented kids from various leagues and at multiple positions. General Manager Dean Lombardi, who has put together a solid track record of middle-round picks, had a lot on his plate coming into the draft in trying to extend the youthful success his squad has had up to now.
Photo: The Los Angeles Kings 15th overall pick in 2011, Derek Forbort signed a pro contract in April and finished the season in AHL Manchester (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
After 2012 saw a first ever Stanley Cup for the Los Angeles Kings franchise, 2013 brought forth a noble defense of the title but elimination in the Conference Finals by the Chicago Blackhawks. In what is considered the most difficult of tasks, the Kings came just three wins from reaching a second consecutive final and a chance at repeating as champions.
Photo: Martin Jones won his last six starts of the regular season to clinch a playoff berth for the Monarchs, but not even his strong play could help the team overcome the Springfield Falcons in the first round of the AHL playoffs (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
The prospect pool of the Los Angeles Kings saw varying amounts of playoff game time this year, but one of the more important points is that the majority of them did in fact see the postseason. Over twenty-five skaters for the Kings saw playoff action across multiple levels.
Photo: Detroit’s signing of Western Michigan defenseman Dan DeKeyser has improved the team’s breakout and transition game (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
Below is the middle section of the Hockey's Future Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.
Photo: Rookie winger Tanner Pearson has done a lot of the dirty work for the Manchester Monarchs’ top line in 2012-13 (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
While some teams thrive in the development of one position or another, the Los Angeles Kings have had players of all shapes, sizes, positions, and styles put up noteworthy seasons this year that deserve recognition. While the prospect pool has waned in recent times with promotions, trades, and general roster transactions and development, the team still has a wide range of talent in multiple positions. All the way from the two-way grinding forward, to the pure sniper, to the gritty and physical defenseman, the Kings have seen a number of talented draft picks put up superb seasons in 2012-13 in very different ways.