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Thread: Top 20 Prospects Ranking/Discussion

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    Default Top 20 Prospects Ranking/Discussion

    Well, it's that not-so-glorious time of year when there's very little hockey news going around. The most exciting thing to talk about is the Cammalleri signing and Gravel going to arbitration.

    One way of remedying this is to make a daily poll of the top prospect, but I honestly don't trust myself to be that disciplined. I decided to make my own list, let you all laugh at me and critique it, and invite you to make your own.

    My criteria is pretty simple: Under 25 (so no Jack Campbell or Fantenberg, Gravel), and nobody who has played in the NHL for at least a season (no Shore, Pearson). So, hopefully that covers just about everyone. If you feel there's someone who should or shouldn't be a prospect, well... dammit, let's talk about it and get through the lull.

    Gabriel Vilardi: He was anointed as a likely top five pick who fell to 11th. But he led the Memorial Cup winning Windsor Spitfires as a 17 year-old. Size, skill, and smarts, the only "s" he is lacking is skating. Very early, but he has top six potential.

    Jaret Anderson Dolan: I feel the next few spots are interchangeable, but JAD also has taken on a leadership role as a 17 year-old. He is already showing professional habits with his diet and attitude, and already has a good deal of skill. My biggest question, which isn't so much of a criticism, but we're seeing him outperform these players when he's already very well conditioned. He has room to grow and experience to gain, but this is like the anti-Toffoli, who wasn't very physically fit at the time of his draft. Could top out as a middle six forward (2nd/3rd line).

    Kale Clague: After returning from injury, he went nuclear to start off, scoring at a 3 pt/game pace for a brief stretch. He finally normalized to 40 points in 48 games, which is still good for a defenseman who just turned 19. The offensive potential is just very enticing for him.

    Paul LaDue: Undoubtedly the most NHL ready of this group, because he's already held his own a bit in the NHL. He's one of the oldest prospects in this list, and will be 25 by the time the season begins. While defensemen take longer to develop, I don't expect too much more growth out of him, so what you see is what you'll probably get.

    Cal Peterson: Our stolen prospect from Buffalo might be a bit higher on this list because of the organizational need he fills, but he also has been a regular starter for quite some time for Notre Dame. I fully expect he'll get split time in Ontario with whomever doesn't win the back-up role to Quick.

    Mike Amadio: He just finished his first AHL season, scoring 41 points in 68 games for the Ontario Reign. He was actually the only player to play in every single game. He's more of a defensive forward, though, and while he scored 50 goals in one season in junior, I still see him as more than a play maker. He'll probably top out as a bottom 6 forward.

    Adrian Kempe: Kempe finished his second full season in North America, which I think is an important thing to remember. He's still only 20 years-old, and won't be 21 until September. His offense plateaued in the AHL, but I think we saw why some people said he may benefit more playing in the NHL than the AHL. He's not going to be a world beater, but his combination of size and speed are intriguing. He could develop into an energy forward like Trevor Lewis.

    Chaz Reddekopp: He's one of the more enigmatic players in this list, mostly due to his inconsistency. He boasts great size at 6'3, 220 lbs, and he's only 20 years old. He finished the season with 43 points in 51 games, which is on par with #3 ranked Kale Clague. The prior years, though, he scored a combined 51 points in 142 games, so his identity at the pro level is in question.

    Austin Wagner: Without a doubt one of the fastest players in the organization, and has been praised for being among the fastest players in the WHL. He complements this speed with a scoring touch, where he led the WHL playoffs with 16 goals. Speed AND goal scoring ability? In the Kings system?

    Jonny Brodzinski: I am sure I will get a lot of flak for ranking him this low. He has an NHL release, arguably the best out of all the prospects. Beyond that, I don't see him as a difference maker at the next level. I think he'll always need to have someone else create the space for him, like Jonathan Cheechoo. That doesn't make him a bad player, but if he doesn't score regularly in the top six, I don't see him being helpful in the bottom 6.

    Spencer Watson: He's slightly undersized at 5'10, 170 lbs, which makes him a bit of a wildcard. That said, barring his rookie season, he always scores at over a point per game pace (258 points in 211 regular season games). He has a variety of ways to beat you, but I am genuinely concerned at his transition against bigger players, especially since he doesn't have one asset that stands out as a saving grace for him.

    Alex Iafallo: The free agent signing from the NCAA had a coming out party, scoring 51 points in 42 games as a senior. That begs the question, of course: was that season an outlier? The production aside, he has a healthy combination of speed to go along with his average size, and he reportedly is good defensively. It's important to remember that not too many college UFA signings make a big impact, so hopefully he can top out and contribute in the bottom 6.

    Michael Mersch: It feels like he's been in the organization for a very long time, and he teeters back and forth in the organizational depth. I think, at this point, what you see is what you get with Mersch. He's very heavy-footed, and while he has a good release, I don't think it's enough to compensate. There's still hope he can be a grinder, but he might just have to settle for the AHL.

    Matt Villalta: Another wildcard out of the group. He stole the starting position before relinquishing it when the chips were high. It's still very early for him, though. It's safe to say this season will be a lot more telling, now that he doesn't have the surprise factor with him.

    Drake Rymsha: He bounced back after missing his original draft year with a broken leg. Consequently, one of the "newer" prospects is older than the rest of his draft class compatriots, but there are still raving reviews about him.

    Jacob Moverare: He made a good transition to North America, playing his first season in the OHL and scoring at over .5 ppg. He's been lauded by Yanetti for his hockey IQ. I don't think he's the game breaking type, but there's still a remote chance of making the NHL.

    Kurtis MacDermid: This is the one player where next season says more about his role in the organization than anyone else. He's big and bruising, and he has an opportunity to earn a #6/7 roster spot on a team that desperately needs toughness on the blueline. If he can't show it now, chances are he'll fall down the depth chart.

    Markus Phillips: Another player who was announced as a steal for the Kings. He fell due to a rough start but then a switch flipped from January 8th onward, when he scored 9 goals and 22 assists (31 points) in 27 games. A more consistent production next season will be very encouraging and allow him to move up the depth chart.

    Stepan Falkovsky: A free agent signing who just got out of the Calgary organization. The 6'7 Belarussian has a lot of promising tools. He was hammering 99mph slap shots in the skills competition, but he's also shown some nice moves in close. All of this from a defenseman. That said, he needs to be able to show his meddle against tougher competition than the ECHL.

    Matt Luff: A free agent signing from last season who, in my opinion, just should have done a little bit more. At 6'3 and 20 years old, I expected more than barely breaking the point per game threshold as a forward.

    Honorable Mentions:
    Bokondji Imama
    Mikey Eyssimont
    Matt Roy
    Mikey Anderson

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    Great write up

    one question: Which players are in the make the team or risk being lost on waivers for nothing this year ala Hickey?
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    Quote Originally Posted by JWR View Post
    Great write up

    one question: Which players are in the make the team or risk being lost on waivers for nothing this year ala Hickey?
    Mersch, Auger and MacDermid, but if none of them make the roster then I don't any team picking them off waivers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JWR View Post
    Great write up

    one question: Which players are in the make the team or risk being lost on waivers for nothing this year ala Hickey?
    Thank you! I'll have to get back to you on that, unless someone else wants to answer. I am on my phone and so the research isn't easily accessible.

    But I am pretty sure Mersch, Gravel, and MacDermid at least are waiver eligible. I think Campbell and Brodzinski are part of that group, but not as certain.

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    Great write up KP. Thank you.

    Hockey's Future used to have a website with content ranking but it looks like they stopped updating it last year.
    Does anyone know what happened to them?

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/teams/los_angeles_kings/

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    Paul LaDue: Undoubtedly the most NHL ready of this group, because he's already held his own a bit in the NHL. He's one of the oldest prospects in this list, and will be 25 by the time the season begins. While defensemen take longer to develop, I don't expect too much more growth out of him, so what you see is what you'll probably get.

    This is my main arguement against Dowd...hes a forward and 27 years old. Like him and happy for him...just dont think any team with any chance of winning the cup will have him as a 3rd liner.

    That said...would love to see the writeup on the honorable mentions. And thanks again for doing this in the offeseason to give us something to keep us entertained.
    Last edited by Hipcheck; July 9th, 2017 at 06:19 PM.
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    Thanks KP, good stuff as always. Wondering why you didn't include Fantenerg other than because he hasn't played in the Kings system yet. I'm guessing that he'll play minimum of a half season in the AHL to evaluate his adaptation to the NA game. Your thoughts?

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    This point about Dowd I agree with, in fact we may have already seen his best years. On the plus side, this is also part of the reason why I think Kempe has a good chance to be a productive first-line Winger.

    If players don't Peak till 25 and improve fairly steadily until then he projects to be pretty good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riofan View Post
    Great write up KP. Thank you.

    Hockey's Future used to have a website with content ranking but it looks like they stopped updating it last year.
    Does anyone know what happened to them?

    http://www.hockeysfuture.com/teams/los_angeles_kings/
    I just don't think they have dedicated writers like they used to. Which is a shame. I enjoyed their content.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hipcheck View Post
    Paul LaDue: Undoubtedly the most NHL ready of this group, because he's already held his own a bit in the NHL. He's one of the oldest prospects in this list, and will be 25 by the time the season begins. While defensemen take longer to develop, I don't expect too much more growth out of him, so what you see is what you'll probably get.

    This is my main arguement against Dowd...hes a forward and 27 years old. Like him and happy for him...just dont think any team with any chance of winning the cup will have him as a 3rd liner.

    That said...would love to see the writeup on the honorable mentions. And thanks again for doing this in the offeseason to give us something to keep us entertained.
    Re: Dowd, I think he's serviceable as a 3rd liner. Just because he may not develop any further skills wise, doesn't mean he can't get smarter, with more experience, which is the one bonus to LaDue. He CAN get smarter as he gains experience at the highest level. Again, I don't see a huge boost in skill, either way, but for an energy center, I don't think Dowd's a bad choice.

    Quote Originally Posted by RockPile View Post
    Thanks KP, good stuff as always. Wondering why you didn't include Fantenerg other than because he hasn't played in the Kings system yet. I'm guessing that he'll play minimum of a half season in the AHL to evaluate his adaptation to the NA game. Your thoughts?
    I just had an arbitrary cut off point at 25 years old, which Fantenberg was a part of (it's why I also left off a player like Campbell).

    As for where he'll play... I think he has as much a shot in training camp as the others. Remember our depth chart:
    Forbort - Doughty
    Muzzin - x
    y/Martinez - Martinez/y
    z

    x is likely going to be a right handed shot, unless Stevens goes with Muzzin/Martinez again. But more likely, we'll see LaDue and Folin battle for that spot.

    Since Martinez plays on either side, y will probably one of:
    LaDue/Folin (and Martinez plays left side)
    MacDermid/Fantenberg (and Martinez plays right side).

    z will be one of the two remaining

    The one who doesn't get the spot will be assigned to the AHL.

    Since I don't think LaDue is waiver eligible, the Kings may play it safe and field a line-up of:
    Forbort - Doughty
    Muzzin - Folin
    Fantenberg - Martinez
    MacDermid
    and assign LaDue to the AHL. But really, I think it all depends on how training camp goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by King'sPawn View Post
    I just had an arbitrary cut off point at 25 years old, which Fantenberg was a part of (it's why I also left off a player like Campbell).

    As for where he'll play... I think he has as much a shot in training camp as the others. Remember our depth chart:
    Forbort - Doughty
    Muzzin - x
    y/Martinez - Martinez/y
    z

    x is likely going to be a right handed shot, unless Stevens goes with Muzzin/Martinez again. But more likely, we'll see LaDue and Folin battle for that spot.

    Since Martinez plays on either side, y will probably one of:
    LaDue/Folin (and Martinez plays left side)
    MacDermid/Fantenberg (and Martinez plays right side).

    z will be one of the two remaining

    The one who doesn't get the spot will be assigned to the AHL.

    Since I don't think LaDue is waiver eligible, the Kings may play it safe and field a line-up of:
    Forbort - Doughty
    Muzzin - Folin
    Fantenberg - Martinez
    MacDermid
    and assign LaDue to the AHL. But really, I think it all depends on how training camp goes.
    It's nice to talk futures a bit during a long, long summer. I have a couple thoughts on the D situation.

    It wasn't that long ago that Kevin Gravel had seemingly passed Forbort on the depth chart - a year with a great partner can do wonders. He will have his work cut out to win a spot over Fantenberg and Folin, however being homegrown is something I think Blake-itaille will still value as much as Dean did. Speaking of LaDue, I tend to believe he's going to have nine lives before they would send him down. They made no effort to fill that 2R hole from the outside.




    Ok, there's one other thing. My magic 8 ball says there's a faction of the organization that feels like your 2 best defensemen should play together, and that faction's name is Rob. Now, I told the 8 ball to can it, but she says Doughty Muzzin rides again opening night. I don't know if I can agree with that, but it's hard to argue with the little ball of bad advice. It came in a Taco Bell happy meal, after all.

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