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  1. #1
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    Default 2019 Entry Level Draft Thread

    Hey all!

    I know there's already a Lose for Hughes thread, but after feedback and consideration, I feel it would be better to keep a separate thread where we can look at more than just one prospect the Kings could be drafting. After all, there are a lot of options in just the first round, and if you recall the 2018 draft thread, we also featured the 2nd and 3rd round picks.

    The present sucks. So let's get excited about the future and the possibilities!

    What I like to do first of all is to recap the draft under the current regime. It's not an indicator or predictor, but it can lead to some insight in terms of what the organization HAS done in the past.

    Since Rob Blake has taken over (2 drafts), the Kings have made 14 picks.

    Volume:
    League*
    50% (7) of those picks have come from the OHL
    1 of those picks came from the WHL
    2 of those picks came from the USHL
    1 pick came from the NCAA
    3 of those picks came from Europe
    *Leagues can change, especially as USHL players transfer to NCAA; this is strictly the league they were playing in during their draft year

    Position
    8 picks have been forwards
    3 picks have been defensemen
    3 picks have been goalies

    Nationality
    7 Canadian
    3 American
    1 Swedish
    1 Russian
    1 Slovak
    1 Finnish

    Handedness:
    5 Shoot/Catch right
    9 Shoot/Catch left

    Size**
    4 under 6'0 (small)
    5 between 6'0 and 6'1 (average)
    5 over 6'1 (large)
    **Size is based on their height according to Central Scouting during their draft year. Players grow (for example, Mikey Anderson was 5'11 at the time of the draft and is now 6'0)

    Composition of their picks (Size/Nationality/League/Position/Handedness):
    2 first
    - Large Canadian OHL Forward and Shoots right (Vilardi)
    - Average Finnish European Forward and Shoots right (Kupari)

    2 second
    - Small Canadian WHL Forward and shoots left (Anderson-Dolan)
    - Small American OHL Forward and Shoots right (Thomas)

    2 third
    - Large Canadian OHL Goalie and catches left (Villalta)
    - Average Russian European Forward and shoots left (Shafigullin)

    3 fourth
    - Small American USHL Defenseman and shoots left (M. Anderson)
    - Average Canadian OHL Defenseman and shoots left (Phillips)
    - Small Canadian OHL forward and shoots right (Dudas)

    3 fifth
    - Average American USHL Defenseman and shoots left (Hults)
    - Average American OHL forward and shoots right (Rymsha)
    - Large Slovakian NCAA goalie and catches left (Hrenak)

    2 sixth
    - Large Swedish European forward and shoots left (Sodergran)
    - Large Canadian OHL goalie and catches left (Ingham)

    So this is still a very small sample size. The most interesting piece is the fact the Kings have only taken one player out of the WHL and none out of the QMJHL in two years. Under Lombardi, 15/82 (18%) of their picks came from the WHL. The OHL is unsurprising, as the Kings have always grabbed a lot of OHL players (27/82; 33% under Lombardi). Also interesting is the low volume of defensemen taken by Blake. 28/82 (33%) of Lombardi's picks were defensemen, while so far only 3/14 (21%) of Blake's picks have been defensemen. Unsurprisingly, with the lack of goaltending depth when Blake took over, the 21% of picks of goaltenders is so far considerably higher than the 8.5% (7/82) Lombardi drafted.

    Yes, I have a little spreadsheet where I keep track of all this stuff.

    Okay, so I am going to make a couple more posts for cleanliness reasons though they may be empty for now. Then we'll look forward to some prospects whom we hope give us something to look forward to other than this current bleak season!

  2. #2
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    Last edited by King'sPawn; November 15th, 2018 at 06:51 PM.

  3. #3
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    Useful Links (Mock drafts, draft rankings, misc):
    Mock Drafts
    MyNHLDraft - Updates regularly
    Draftsite - Updates regularly

    Draft Simulator
    Tankathon Draft Simulator - Semi-regular player updates. Daily standings updates
    Tankathon Pick Odds - Where each of the sucky teams have a chance to pick

    Prospect Watching
    Prospect Shifts - Isolated videos of these prospects in regular games (I used to make these myself years ago; a part of me would like to think I inspired this page, but they've never told me. I'm just grateful for their work). I will be referencing these videos a LOT when I make my own assessments.

    Draft Rankings
    MyNHLDraft Draft Rankings Instead of posting a bunch of links to articles, this link connects to the appropriate rankings articles of all these services.
    Last edited by King'sPawn; November 2nd, 2018 at 08:00 PM.

  4. #4
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    Jack Hughes
    Team: USNTDP U-18 Team (USDP)
    DOB: 5/14/2001
    Position: Center
    Height: 5'10
    Weight: 168 lbs
    Shoots: Left

    Metrics from Prospect-Stats: http://prospect-stats.com/player/27175

    Other Kings drafted out of the USNTDP:
    Hudson Fasching (2013)
    Derek Forbort (2010)

    Articles:
    Hughes' 16-year-old season is essentially unprecedented for an American player. At USA Hockey's National Team Development Program, he put up 116 points -- just one point shy of Auston Matthews' program record. The big difference is Matthews did it when he was a year older. The previous high-water mark for a U17 player at the NTDP was 82 points set by Phil Kessel and Clayton Keller. That's a 34-point difference from what Hughes did. Last I checked, both of those guys are pretty good NHL players.
    http://www.espn.com/nhl/story/_/id/2...draft-prospect

    The National Team Development Program has produced N.H.L. stars including Matthews, Jack Eichel, Patrick Kane and Phil Kessel. Yet Hughes, who is nearing the end of his first of two years in the program, seems poised to destroy all of their scoring marks in the program. His 99 points so far this season are already the fourth highest single-season total since the program began in 1996. At his current pace he could break Matthews’s record of 117, which he set in his second season when he was 17.

    In the United States Hockey League, the junior circuit where the N.T.D.P. team plays, Hughes faced off against teams of 18- to 20-year-olds, yet averaged two points a game, the best mark in the league by far. He played only 27 of the 60 games and finished with 21 goals and 33 assists.
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/16/s...ckey-ntdp.html

    Watching him play: He is so fun to watch. Even though he was younger than everyone in the U20 Summer Showcase game between USA and Canada, which features the best players of his age group, he was incredibly fast. He showed a great deal of hustle and was able to thread the needle with some beautiful passes. He controls the puck well at top speed, too. If there was one word to describe him, I'd say electric. He's not without his warts, though. As noted before, he's on the smaller side. Even though he's a threat with the puck, he can definitely use some improvement on his shooting. Finally, as with most smaller, dynamic players, improving his overall strength and his defensive awareness will require time. I've heard people compare him to Patrick Kane, and while there are obvious differences, it's not too far off in terms of role/playstyle.

    Overall feeling: The articles pretty much say it all. He almost eclipsed Mathews' points in the same league when he was a year younger. He is having a "down" year so far, scoring 20 points in 13 games so far. Most of these games are played against the NCAA. So, I'm not too alarmed by his decreased production. Looking at him merely on paper, you can see he's a smaller player, and he needs to put on weight. Doing some research it looks like he was asked to play for Michigan this year but he chose to stick with the US National Team Development Program (https://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/...usntdp-school/). His numbers indicate he's a playmaker (3 goals, 17 assists). That's all you will see without watching him play.

    I've heard some criticisms of his play this year, and while some may prefer Kakko (who will be discussed in another post), there's still SO much to like about Hughes. My only concern is if the Kings can develop him into a successful player.

    Video:
    Last edited by King'sPawn; November 4th, 2018 at 11:43 AM.

  5. #5
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    Kaapo Kakko
    Team: TPS (Liiga)
    DOB: 2/3/2001
    Position: LW/RW
    Height: 6'1
    Weight: 181 lbs
    Shoots: Left

    Metrics from Prospect-Stats: None

    Other Kings drafted out of TPS (Finland):
    Tommi Hannus (1998)
    Aki-Petteri Berg (1995)

    Articles:
    "He's a very good talent; one of the best players at his age," Kupari said of Kakko. "Sometimes I watch him and say, 'Wow, how did he do that?'"

    Kakko considers himself more of a playmaker than a goal-scorer.

    "I like to play in the offensive zone and play and handle the puck, creating plays and scoring situations for teammates," he said.
    https://www.nhl.com/news/kaapo-kakko...ft/c-299637312

    Kakko is an extremely intelligent playmaker with incredible vision and high-end puck-protection skills. His offensive abilities are undeniable. He has soft hands and a great shot with a quick release, but the best aspect of his game is definitely his stick-handling ability.

    ...

    If he keeps up his rhythm of 0.71 points per game, he’ll have one of the best U18 season in Liiga history, surpassing Patrik Laine’s 33 points in 46 games in 2016 with the Tappara Tempere. He has also contributed to 26.3% of his team’s goals scored despite being the youngest (17 years and 259 days) on a team with an average age of 25.4.
    https://www.habseyesontheprize.com/n...-hughes-debate

    Watching him play: The remarks in the articles are very easily apparent. His best skill is how he handles the puck, whether it's protecting it himself or chipping it off of a player and recovering it. He always looks like he can make something happen when he has the puck. I wouldn't say he's an explosive player, but he's very sneaky. The way he finesses the puck or slips by defenders. I don't know if it's because he's playing in a league full of men, but he's more of a "support" player; he'll fall back to give his defenders an option for a breakout pass, and he'll hang out at the opposing blue line as his team has the puck, but I would say he's not much of a play driver. He's an offensive catalyst when they give him the puck in the offensive zone, but he doesn't lead the breakouts or set himself up as the "go to" man in the neutral zone. I also didn't see him kill any penalties; while he has shown a willingness to block a shot from the point, he seems to be a bit one-dimensional.

    Overall: He looks like he could be one of the better possession players. His puck protection ability, particularly in the offensive zone, can give his teammates a lot of options. He still has to grow physically, and he has decent size at 6'1. Still, performing at the level he's played at, playing in a league full of men (the Liiga is the professional league in Finland) is outstanding. Any time your production gets compared to a player like Laine, you have a great deal of hope. There are talks about him fighting with Hughes for the #1 overall spot, but with little I've seen, I think I still give the edge to Hughes due to his higher propensity to drive a play in all three zones.

    Last edited by King'sPawn; November 4th, 2018 at 11:41 AM.

  6. #6
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    Kirby Dach
    Team: Saskatoon Blades (WHL)
    DOB: 1/21/2001
    Position: Center
    Height: 6'4
    Weight: 198 lbs
    Shoots: Right

    Metrics from Prospect-Stats: http://prospect-stats.com/player/26802

    Other Kings drafted by the Saskatoon (WHL):
    Greg Phillips (1996)
    Dave Chartier (1982)
    Craig Hurley (1981)

    Articles:
    “You need the drive and you need the work ethic. If you don’t have that, you’re not going to be an elite player,” said Saskatoon Blades head scout Dan Tencer.

    “Kirby has that. Kirby has all of the skill and everything you’re looking for in a six-foot-three-and-a-half, right-shot, intelligent centre with skill. I can guarantee you, there’s no part of his game that he did not work on in the summer time.”
    https://saskatoon.ctvnews.ca/the-bla...ayer-1.4070481

    Big-bodied playmaking center with outstanding passing skills and soft hands who is one of the best draft-eligible players at incorporating all his teammates into the attack. Dach has a tremendous wingspan and reach that help him maintain control the puck for lengthy periods inside the offensive zone. He is a confident puck carrier up ice, and you’ll rarely see him advance via direct routes. Dach can create time and space using a variety of methods on zone entries, and he can stutter-step defenders out of position. All these traits force opponents to back away from him, which provides him with the opportunity to unleash a wicked wrist shot. Still, Dach certainly is more of a set-up man than a shooter, and you can make a strong argument that he is the best saucer-passer of any forward prospect.
    https://www.thedraftanalyst.com/2019...-c-kirby-dach/

    Watching him play: There is a lot to like about Dach. He not only is big, but he plays big. He isn't physical. However, he still has shades of Kopitar in him with the way he drives the play and carry the puck with his size. He makes himself a dual threat with his ability to find an open player or with firing off his own shot. The opposition is just not safe with him barreling into the ice.

    Overall: I mean, 11 goals and 18 assists in 18 games is impressive. That's 3rd in the league, and he's a 17 year-old playing against 16-20 year-olds. For a player being heralded as a playmaker, he's rounding out his game. He was less heralded coming into this year and hasn't received much hype yet, but he's going to start catching the eyes of a lot more scouts.

    He may not be anyone's first choice right now, but he has so much potential with his game. I think if he keeps this up he could throw his hat in the ring to be first overall himself.

    Video:
    Last edited by King'sPawn; November 4th, 2018 at 11:38 AM.

  7. #7
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    Dylan Cozens
    Team: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
    DOB: 2/9/2001
    Position: Center/RW/LW
    Height: 6'3
    Weight: 185 lbs
    Shoots: Right

    Metrics from Prospect-Stats: http://prospect-stats.com/player/26804

    Other Kings drafted from Lethbridge (WHL):
    Dwight King (2007)

    Articles:
    Dylan Cozens is preparing for the biggest hockey season of his life.

    The Whitehorse hockey player just netted a gold medal in an international tournament — the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup — in Edmonton last week. Cozens played for Team Canada at the under-18 world championships, which beat Sweden for the gold medal on Saturday.

    Now, the 17-year-old is heading to training camp in Lethbridge, Alta., where he plays for the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League.

    His playing this season will have a big impact on if, and how quickly, he will be chosen in next summer's NHL draft. One prominent commentator, Craig Button with TSN, predicts he could go as high as the second pick overall.
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north...tzky-1.4784191

    Cozens is very physical and always finishes his checks; at times to a fault, as his desire to mash people into the boards can make him the last forward back on an opposing counterattack. He’s quick enough, however, to eventually catch up and place himself in the right position to ensure there aren’t gaps in coverage. Cozens always keeps his feet moving and keeps his stick active, and his quick turns and pivots allow him to stay with his man, especially while he’s killing penalties. Overall, he’s an excellent 200-foot forward who is very good on draws, can anchor a penalty-killing unit, run a power play and assume top-line duties.
    https://www.thedraftanalyst.com/2019...-dylan-cozens/

    Watching him play: His luster has faded a little bit since last season, but there's still a lot to like. He has size, and he's not afraid to use it. I would best describe him as a high impact player. When he's not scoring or setting up the play, he is throwing his weight around..

    Watching him, I see a bigger Mike Richards, a two-way player who plays fearlessly and physically.

    Overall: He's one of those players where he may not have the highest upside of the other prospects, but he also has a higher floor. In my opinion he's one of the safer picks of the draft, and can play in all three positions.

    Video:
    Last edited by King'sPawn; November 4th, 2018 at 11:36 AM.

  8. #8
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    Trevor Zegras
    Team: USNTDP U-18 Team (USDP)
    DOB: 3/20/2001
    Position: LW/RW
    Height: 6'0
    Weight: 168 lbs
    Shoots: Left

    Metrics from Prospect-Stats: http://prospect-stats.com/player/27184

    Other Kings drafted out of the USNTDP:
    Hudson Fasching (2013)
    Derek Forbort (2010)

    Articles:
    Slick playmaking center with exceptional hockey sense who took over the under-17 NTDP’s top line after Jack Hughes and Alex Turcotte were promoted. Zegras, who is committed to Boston University, is very dangerous with the puck and appears quite comfortable handling the responsibilities inherent in leading a talented squad’s offense. He is both crafty and fancy with the puck, and his passes almost always are on the tape with authority. Zegras’s pass accuracy remains consistent anywhere on the ice and he’s just as dangerous threading the needle while manning the half wall as he is in open ice. His ability to stickhandle while keeping his head up allows him to be the first to identify trailers or back-door cutters, and Zegras will use no-look centering passes on the power play to exploit an open passing lane. He’s also capable of tricking goalies with a hard, accurate shot that he can tuck under the bar from bad angles.
    https://www.thedraftanalyst.com/2019...trevor-zegras/

    Trevor Zegras projects to be a second-line center at the NHL level. He possesses an elite level of hockey sense and is a tremendous playmaker. He can thread passes through passes and reads the ice well in order to find passing lanes that no one else sees. Heading into the ’18-19 season, Zegras forecasts as a late first round pick for the 2019 NHL Draft.
    https://prospectpipeline.ca/2018/09/...outing-report/

    Watching him play: The simplest way I can describe him is he's an opportunist. I've watched a couple games of his, and while being in the right place at the right time is a skill, he's not the play driver on his line. He has very good offensive instincts, and his offensive skills with the puck make him very dangerous on one half of the ice. The other half of the ice needs a LOT of work. Just to describe two plays in two separate games:
    - While the opposition had pressure and was cycling the puck on the attack, Zegras skates off to get a change. While he was skating off and there were only 4 US players, the opposition scored.
    - He peeled off his defensive coverage where Dartmouth was able to generate a high danger scoring chance, so he can hang out by the blueline. The goalie made the save, the puck came to him, and he fed the puck to Hughes which led to a secondary assist.

    One of the articles above said that he's a two-way player, but he puts in minimal effort in the defensive zone and shies away from physical contact with what little I've seen.

    Overall: He is a high risk/high reward offensive opportunist who would not have a lot of appeal to the Kings in previous regimes due to his lack of defensive commitment and lack of physical play. On the other hand, he's also tied with Jack Hughes for scoring on the team with 20 points (6 G, 14 A). He's committed to Boston University, which is a good hockey program. I wouldn't want the Kings to take him with a high pick, but I wouldn't hate it if the Kings decided to take a flyer on him with a late first round pick (if they got one via trade) or beyond.

    Video

  9. #9
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    So who is going to be around at #14?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mondo Blando View Post
    So who is going to be around at #14?
    I'm getting there

    I actually think there are a couple good ones who could be there and I'll make some profiles on them soon. However, if you want to look them up ahead of time: Alex Turcotte, Matthew Boldy, Ryan Suzuki, and Raphael Lavoie

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