Kings CHL prospects update

By David A. Rainer

Graduation and lack of recent picks from the CHL have reduced the number of Los Angeles Kings prospects currently in the CHL to only four. None of the four stands out as top prospects, but all have a considerable amount of talent that could land them in the NHL one day.

At this point in the season, there is no single prospect that is experiencing the break-through season. Now with Swift Current, Ned Lukacevic continues his solid play. Like Lukacevic, Daniel Taylor changed teams in the offseason but is struggling slightly in his new surroundings. Recent draftees John Seymour and Ryan McGinnis enter their third season with their respective teams.

During the offseason, Lukacevic was traded from Spokane to Swift Current in a move that would result in increased ice time for the young forward. And after the second game of the season, it appeared that the move would pay off for Swift Current. Lukacevic scored five goals against the Prince Albert Raiders, including goals shorthanded and on the power play. However, since that early season game, Lukacevic has put up rather pedestrian totals, scoring only 18 points in his last 25 games. He is on pace to exceed all his career highs, but not at the pace which was expected of him after a phenomenal Kings prospect camp. Much of it can be attributed to the lack of talent around him in Swift Current as the team is tied for last in goals scored.

After moving from Guelph to Kingston in the offseason, Daniel Taylor assumed the No. 1 goalie position on the roster to start the year for the first time in his career in the OHL. Taylor had more than established himself as a top goaltender in his days with Guelph. At first glance, with a 3.17 goals-against average and a .903 save percentage, it would appear that Taylor is experiencing an off year in 2005-06. However, the league average for goals-against has risen from 2.93 in 2004-05 to 3.57 in 2005-06, representing a 21.8 percent increase. Taylor’s goals-against average has risen only 20.1 percent, outpacing the rest of the league. The same can be said for the difference in his save percentage. As long as Kingston can remain in the top for team goal scoring, Taylor should experience a winning year.

John Seymour missed ten games early in the season due to a shoulder injury, but found the net in his first game back from injury. Seymour plays a physical, defensive game and is matched on a checking line, which does not provide him with much opportunity to get on the score sheet. Instead, he is a mainstay on the penalty-killing unit. With five points in 16 games, Seymour is on pace to shatter career highs in goals, assists and points. With a career high of only five points set in 2004-05, he didn’t have far to go.

While Seymour is struggling to find the back of the net from the forward position, Ryan McGinnis is on fire offensively from the back line. With 14 points in 24 games, McGinnis is in the top 30 of all defensemen for scoring while also adding some physical play on the blue line. Entering the 2005 Entry Draft, the Kings were lacking depth in their system for defenseman. McGinnis was the third of four defensemen chosen in the draft and, to date, is having the best season of any of the four.

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