Kings 2005 draft evaluation

By Josh Deitell

The 2005 NHL Entry Draft marked a turning point for the Kings organization. Not only was it the last draft before a changing of the guard, which saw general manager Dave Taylor replaced by Dean Lombardi after the 2005 NHL season, but it also provided the team with two quality players in Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick, who have become part of the team’s nucleus. However, despite the ascension of those two players to the NHL roster, the Kings had six other picks in the 2005 draft. None of them are still with the organization and are long shots to make it to the NHL in any capacity.

Anze Kopitar, C
Drafted: 1st round (11th overall) from Sodertalje Jrs. [Sweden]
Status: NHL player
NHL Games Played: 318

Drafted as a developing power forward with the potential to become an elite offensive player, there was some concern on draft day about whether Kopitar’s country of origin, Slovenia, was a legitimate source of NHL talent, but the Kings had no qualms about picking up the big center when he dropped to them at the 11th pick. Not only has Kopitar scored more points than any other player in the 2005 draft not named Sidney Crosby, he’s also played three full 82-game seasons in his first four professional years, illustrating tremendous durability.

He’s been the top scorer on the Kings three years running and continues to improve at both ends of the rink, constantly working to round out his all-around game. There have been some concerns about his ability to consistently put up star-caliber numbers and carry a team, but with a young supporting cast around him in Los Angeles that continues to improve, Kopitar should benefit greatly from having more open ice when the team is better able to spread the offensive load around. He’s also still only 22 years old and does not look as if he’s reached his ceiling. Locked up through the 2016 season, Kopitar has the potential to become one of the more notable forwards in Kings history.

Dany Roussin, LW
Drafted: 2nd round (50th overall) from Rimouski Oceanic [QMJHL]
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

Originally drafted by the Florida Panthers in the seventh round of the 2003 NHL draft, Roussin re-entered the draft in 2005 after failing to come to a contract agreement with his former suitor. Between the time he was first drafted and the point when the Kings picked him, Roussin established himself as an elite winger in the QMJHL, scoring 125 goals and posting 271 total points in 173 games over three years with Rimouski. Despite his impressive numbers, some pundits wondered if he was merely the beneficiary of being Crosby’s linemate. In retrospect, their concerns had some merit.

The Kings signed Roussin within months of drafting him, and his struggles began shortly thereafter. He split his rookie professional season with the Manchester Monarchs of the AHL and Reading Royals of the ECHL, scoring over a point per game at the ECHL level but posting a mere six points in 29 games when given the opportunity to move up to the AHL level. Over the next three years (2006-2009), Roussin played 117 more games in the ECHL and only 15 in the AHL, before moving to France at the end of the 2008-09 season. He played this year with St. Gorgeous of the LNAH, and it looks as if he’ll bounce around low-level professional leagues for the rest of his career.

T.J. Fast, D
Drafted: 2nd round (60th overall) from Camrose Kodiaks [AJHL]
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

After putting up 36 points in 58 games with Camrose during his draft year, the Kings took a second-round flier on Fast, in hopes that the talented offensive defenseman would continue to develop at the University of Denver. Things did not go as planned, as in 58 games with Denver over two seasons, Fast posted a meager 11 points and struggled to earn quality ice time. A mid-season move in 2006-07 from Denver to the Tri-City Americans of the WHL seemed to jumpstart Fast’s career, and during a year and a half with Tri-City, Fast put up an impressive tally of 76 points in 97 games while playing big minutes in all situations.

Despite this breakout, the Kings chose to deal Fast after the 2007-08 season to St. Louis for a fifth-round pick. In 64 AHL games since being traded, Fast has only been able to put up five points. His ECHL numbers are better, with 32 points in 55 games, but after struggling to establish himself in the AHL for a second straight year, Fast looks to be headed for a career in minor hockey.

Jonathan Quick, G
Drafted: 3rd round (72nd overall) from Avon Old Farms High School [Connecticut]
Status: NHL Player
NHL Games Played: 119

When Quick put up an astounding 1.14 GAA and .953 save percentage in 27 games in 2004-05 with Avon Old Farms playing high school hockey in Connecticut, there was some concern about whether he would be able to maintain such a high level of play against tougher competition. Unlike T.J. Fast, Quick was able to transition to NCAA hockey without a hitch, and after taking a year to establish himself, posted a 2.16 goals-against-average and .929 save percentage in 37 games during the 2006-07 season with UMass-Amherst.

Signed before the 2007-08 campaign, Quick started his professional career well, splitting the year with Manchester and Reading and posting 34 wins in 57 combined games. The next year, with Jason Labarbera and Erik Ersberg both struggling to lock down the NHL starting job and stay healthy, Quick’s impressive play led to an NHL call-up with the promise of a few starts, and he never went back. From that point on, thanks to his fantastic performance down the stretch, Quick was the Kings uncontested No. 1 goalie, and over the past two seasons, he has posted 60 wins in 116 games. His 39 wins this year broke a 29-year-old Kings record for most victories by a goaltender, set by Mario Lessard in 1980-81. Though Quick has the AHL’s best goalie in Jonathan Bernier breathing down his neck, he’s established himself as a No. 1 goalie in the NHL.

Patrik Hersley, D
Drafted: 5th round (139th overall) from Malmo IF [Sweden]
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

A two-way defenseman with a booming shot, Hersley was considered to be a possible gem on draft day. In the year after his draft, 2005-06, he played for the Malmo Redhawks of the Swedish First Division (the farm team of the Elite League squad) and posted 13 points in 34 contests while playing a solid overall game. After signing an NHL entry-level contract, Hersley returned to Sweden, and though he was never able to be a consistent offensive producer in the SEL, he nevertheless became a mainstay on Malmo IF’s blueline in 2006-07. The next year, Hersley finally made his away across the pond for the 2007-08 year, and while he dominated for Reading of the ECHL with 18 points in 20 games, he was unable to establish himself in the AHL.

It was at this point that the Kings decided to part ways with Hersley, sending him over as part of a package to acquire veteran defenseman Denis Gauthier. Hersley was traded once again – to Nashville for future considerations – but is no longer in North America, having returned to Sweden to play for Malmo in the Allsvenskan, where he has become a key contributor. It remains to be seen whether he will try to make the jump again or be content to play out his career in his home country.

Ryan McGinnis, D
Drafted: 6th round (184th overall) from Plymouth Whalers [OHL]
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

McGinnis was once one of the most promising blueliners in the Kings system, but he has since moved on from the organization and has a doubtful NHL future. After putting up six points in 66 games in his draft year of 2004-05 for Plymouth, McGinnis steadily improved and established himself as a two-way force in the OHL, posting 104 points in 189 games over his last three seasons in junior hockey. After completing his junior eligibility, McGinnis was unable to secure a contract with the Kings and became a free agent. He found an opportunity with the Hurricanes, splitting the 2008-09 year with their minor league affiliates, the ECHL Florida Everblades and AHL Albany River Rats. For both teams, McGinnis was a depth player, but played a dependable defensive game.

In 2009-10, McGinnis garnered some attention with his efforts for the Kalamazoo Wings of the ECHL, where he was consistently one of their top defensemen, posting 33 points in 49 games while playing in all situations. He also played 25 games in the AHL this year, split between the Norfolk Admirals and Manitoba Moose, but was unable to carve himself out a major role. As it stands, McGinnis looks like he’ll have a career in professional hockey, but it will likely be in the minors.

Josh Meyers, D
Drafted: 7th round (206th overall) from Sioux City Musketeers [USHL]
Status: NHL Prospect
NHL Games Played: 0

Though Meyers had a solid college career with the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs, he was never able to distinguish himself as legitimate NHL prospect. After being eased into college hockey in 2005-06, only suiting up for 27 games with limited ice time, Myers became a key contributor for the Bulldogs in 2006-07, playing 37 games and posting 11 goals and 24 total points, good for second among defensemen on the team. After somewhat of an off year in 2007-08, Meyers returned with gusto for his senior season in 2008-09 and led Bulldogs defensemen in goals (10) and points (28).

The Kings decided to pass on signing Meyers, and he became a free agent, but was unable to find an NHL team as a suitor, and was forced to start the year with the ECHL Utah Grizzlies. He found his way onto the roster of the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat and, after filling in admirably when the team’s top players went down to injury, earned himself a two-year NHL contract with the Flames. Though he’s not shown enough potential to be considered a surefire NHLer down the line, the fact that the Flames were impressed enough by his performance to ink him is a sign that he is, at the very least, a capable AHL player with some possible untapped potential.

John Seymour, LW
Drafted: 7th round (226th overall) from Brampton Battalion [OHL]
Status: Bust
NHL Games Played: 0

Drafted as a gritty forward with a solid defensive game, Seymour suited up in 200 OHL games, but was never an impact player for Brampton. Over his four seasons, he posted 24 points, and never more than 10 in one year. While there’s something to be said for grinders, it’s difficult for guys who are unable to put the puck in the net in junior hockey to make it past that level, since there are so many other prospects in the world with more well-rounded games battling for professional contracts. After leaving the OHL after the 2006-07 season, Seymour played a year for the Georgetown Raiders of the OPJHL (a step below the OHL), where he put up 23 points in 26 games as one of the oldest players on the team.