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NHL Prospect Report: Los Angeles Kings

Los Angeles Kings

From now until the start of next season, I’ll be looking at each NHL team’s prospect situation and assessing each prospect’s projected fantasy value. With all due respect to turnover leagues, I will be focusing solely on keeper and dynasty leagues, because prospects have minimal value in re-draft leagues. Most fantasy leagues vary in structure, so for the purpose of this exercise, I will be referring to leagues that include a main roster and a prospect roster, each with their own respective draft.

This week we move up to the 23rd-placed Los Angeles Kings.

2016-17 Recap

Unfortunately, it was a year of injuries and poor offense for Kings fans. There were rumors about trades, and in the end, Los Angeles missed the playoffs. Dean Lombadi and Darryl Sutter were relieved of their duties and John Stephens was brought in to change things. Also, the power play was brutal, and too many top players had off years.

Worse yet, most of the Kings’ prospects have not seen the prime time just yet. That may change this year with a new GM and Offensive Coordinator. On the other hand, another season of development may pay off handsomely for some of their prospects. Fans of Los Angeles need to hope for better fortune. Last season, the system hampered the Kings when there were injuries. Their aging core presents a unique dilemma. Let us start off with the highest potential and work our way down.

1. Gabriel Vilardi, D

Age: 18  H/W: 6’2″/205 pounds.

Drafted: Round 1, Pick 11 in 2017 by Los Angeles

2016-17 Team: Windsor Spitfires (OHL)

49 GP, 29 G, 32 A, 61 Pts,+13, 12 PIM

Vilardi was fun to watch for Windsor last season. He is a young forward that should have been a top five or six pick in the draft. The Kings struck gold with the 11th pick in the 2017 draft. When teams were more physical with Vilardi, he thrived by making them pay. It was encouraging to see him improve throughout the season.

He may start off in Los Angeles for a nine-game run, but do not be surprised if he goes back to Windsor. Training camp will be telling because that can be an avenue for Vilardi to turn some heads. Also, he must improve his skating. There is upside, but Kings fans must be patient. Vilardi has been working with a skating coach and group this summer, so it should pay off some dividends. However, he has a little ways to go to get to NHL-caliber speed. His presence on the power play could be something to look forward to. The Windsor forward has a little of that old Kings hockey in him with a mix of what the 2017-18 Kings are looking for now.

2. Kale Clague, D

Age: 19  H/W: 6’0″/ 176 pounds.

Drafted: Round 2, Pick 51 in 2016 by Los Angeles

2016-17 Team: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

48 GP, 5 G, 35 A, 40 Pts, -8, 41 PIM.

Clague was too good for Brandon, but can he crack the AHL? Overall, the defenseman had 40 points in 48 games for the Wheat Kings. Yes, he created his share of chances. On the other hand, execution on those chances was problematic. What has to be different now?

[the_ad id=”384″]The key will be for Clague to score goals. His lower body is strong, but he still needs to put on some weight. Speed and power will be different as he moves up levels. Clague will have to adjust to that. Also, he is cunning with the puck and can avoid hits. There is no denying that the defenseman moves extremely fast. His decision making is near an NHL level already. Clague’s game just has to come together and mature a bit more. Let’s say he is a year or two away. That is, unless Los Angeles needs him sooner.

3. Jonny Brodzinski, RW/C

Age: 24  H/W: 6’0″/203 pounds.

Drafted: Round 5, Pick 148 in 2013 by Dallas

2016-17 Team: Ontario Reign (AHL)

59 GP, 27 G, 22 A, 49 Pts, +3, 12 PIM

Brodzinksi was great for Ontario in 2016-17. He had 49 points, and his possession metrics were good relative to the team. His ability to shoot often was noticed. The competitive fire increased as well. Los Angeles realizes he is NHL-ready now, but again, do they have a spot? His prospect development took more time than expected.

As he gains more NHL experience, Brodzinski has a chance to rise up the depth chart. Fortunately, that depth chart may be of help. Los Angeles needs him to take a step or two this year, and he could be a real surprise. This is a crucial year in his development, and the Kings need offense. Time is of the essence in a retool.

4. Mike Amadio, C

Age: 21   H/W: 6’1″/ 191 pounds.

Drafted: Round 3, Pick 90 in 2014 by Los Angeles

2016-17 Team: Ontario Reign (AHL)

68 GP, 16 G, 25 A, 41 Pts, +5, 4 PIM.

Amadio had a nice breakout season for Ontario last year. However, his offense may not quite translate to the NHL level. Time will tell. At the very worst, he is extremely disciplined. Defensive positioning is above average and can be a bit of an asset on special teams. If the Kings have room for him, he will break camp with them.

Amadio’s best opportunity is a depth role. The forward must execute better at both ends in training camp. His shot is okay but also needs improvement. Again, there is a little to work on, That seems to be a theme with the Los Angeles prospect pool. It is also a product of mishandling picks and bad development. Fortunately, there are a few slick picks that could pay off in a retool.

5. Jaret Anderson-Dolan, C

Age: 17  H/W: 5’11″/ 187 pounds.

Drafted: Round 2, Pick 41 in 2017 by Los Angeles

2016-17 Team: Spokane (WHL)

72 GP, 39 G, 37 A, 76 PTS, 22 PIM, +4

Anderson-Dolan plays the game in a simple yet powerful way. His economy of motion is in stark contrast to what most 17-18-year-olds play at. Most will argue that Spokane may see the center for only a year, maybe two. The second-round pick could easily make the jump to Los Angeles, as he should fill out quickly.

That will be the key to the future Kings’ development. Players like Anderson-Dolan must pan out and exceed expectations. If they do not, then things will be even worse in Los Angeles. No one likes to hear that, but this is the truth. There are at least some possible quick risers, which is good. The Spokane forward had top-15 talent and is a gem that will be counted heavily upon.


Prospect Grade: C+

Los Angeles’ prospect situation is okay but improving, as the Kings have some holes in their prospect ranks. A few will even think the C+ grade is being too harsh. There are several first-round prospects that could burst on the scene. A new regime can hopefully develop some of these players better than Dean Lombardi and company. That will be vital in any retooling efforts for Los Angeles going forward. Furthermore, understand that patience is needed when a team is trying to re-brand their prospect pool on the fly.

That does it for this week’s prospect report, but be sure to come back next week when we look at the Florida Panthers. As always, feedback is appreciated, and I’d love to hear what changes you would all make to this list. Leave your thoughts in the comment section! Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice!


All statistics taken from:

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