It seems like the Kings are developing a bit of a habit of using their late picks on sliders. When your NHL team is pretty much set for the foreseeable future that's not a bad thing to do. Has the added appeal of one of them hitting star potential which is absolutely huge for a Contender to keep going. At the start of their draft years - Nick Ebert was a projected first rounder, Mistele was a projected first rounder or definitely top 2 rounds, and Middleton and Watson were both considerably more highly thought of than 7th round picks.
Another thing worth mentioning is that after reading and listening to all these interviews it seems like the Kings are ultra specific about who they want to draft, it seems to be less so about worrying about rank itself than getting a player they targeted based on some characteristics they think their development staff could work with. There seems to be a more specific bond between scouting and development than what I've seen on other teams. The Kings seem to really worry that they're getting the best fit for their organization and development staff not necessarily just chasing high talent-levels. Not that other teams aren't like that but it seems like the Kings have 3 or 4 guys in mind for each of their picks and make their moves in accordance to that. A lot more targeting than sitting passively and picking the next highest name off the list. I really wish I could see one of their final lists to see how it works.
I just wanted to recap my thoughts on the draft picks:
#209 - Spencer Watson: He's a small one-dimensional player. Usually I don't like these kinds of players, but, as hokey as this sounds, my heart was warmed when I saw his interview with Darryl Evans. His genuine joy and enthusiasm for being drafted can't be overlooked when evaluating his character, and him waiting until the very end to hear his name called, and still smiling when he came up to the Kings, just says a lot about him. I've heard people call him a perimeter player, but that's not what I saw. He just doesn't do anything useful in the defensive end.
I loved his reaction too. He looked as if he wanted to hug DE. This is the type of character that Denis Fugere mentioned in his interview with DE. Just shows how much the Kings' organization values character as a key component in a player's profile. This kid may never make it, but his character was rewarded with a chance to play in the NHL.
I also really like Yannetti's idea of the hybrid exceptional player rule for organizations. It really sounds like that would have benefited Hickey.
No doubt about it. It also hurt Hickey that he's physically a late bloomer. Take a look at any of those WJC U20 pics when he wore the "C" for Canada and he looked about 15 years old. Getting him on a pro strength and conditioning program from the time he was drafted would've made a big difference in his career.