They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
- Jul 28, 2004
One of the more interesting aspects of LA’s 2023 Development Camp has been the opportunity to hear from different members of Kings management. While some of their evaluations of the organization’s prospects have evolved around many of the same standouts this week, each has brought their own perspective on the development process.
Recent articles in this series:
Brandt Clarke Continues Push for NHL Roster Spot with Mentoring from Sean O’Donnell
Jarret Stoll Shares Thoughts on Laferriere, Ziemmer, and Hughes from Kings Dev Camp
Coach Mike Donnelly Evaluates Handful of Kings Prospects after Dev Camp Day 3
Now, let’s hear from Senior Director of Player Personnel Glen Murray, as he helps put a bow on this year’s festivities…
Murray on Frankie Pinelli and Alex Laferriere:
With Frankie, the level from the last Development Camp to this is – he started here, which is he’s 18. Then, he’s here [ed. note: holding his hand a little higher]. Now, he’s making his way this way [moving his hand a little higher again]. Sometimes it takes a few years for them to understand how hard it is to be a pro. And, the off-season workouts should be harder than when you come in here to play. I think he’s really taken that to heart. Not that he didn’t do it before, not that he didn’t work out before. But now he really gets it that this is big. The off-ice part of it is very big. He’s young and Alex is the same way. He finished college and he came here at the end of the year, with the Reign and played three games. And he was pretty impressive. I think he understands now, ‘Okay, I have to really push myself off the ice during the off-season if I want to keep up with the Kopitars and those guys.’ So, they’ve they’ve had a great four or five days. There’s a lot of summer left until Rookie Camp, but we’re looking forward to getting those guys back here.
On who stood out at Dev Camp this year, including among the 2023 draftees:
Frankie, Alex, and we really liked [Martin] Chromiak; he had a really good camp. For the first-year draft picks, the Dvorak kid. He’s a big, left shot D that’s very calm for a young guy. The other picks were… It’s hard. It’s hard to come in here. You’re nervous and you haven’t been to LA before, and you see Drew Doughty walking around the locker room and stuff like that. They get a little nervous, but once they get that out of their system and they know that they’re here for a reason — we either drafted or invited them for a reason — it gets a little bit better. It’s just too bad it’s only four to five days. But, overall, I think it was a very good camp and you saw guys today that worked, they worked very hard.
On where Chromiak can continue to grow his game:
I think he just has a better engine [now]. I call it an engine, the stuff off-ice, He was a young guy last year and I don’t think we saw this all the time, certain players don’t understand that the American League is hard. The American League is very hard. There’s older guys there and they’re battling for their jobs, and they’re not going to give it to you. And he found out fairly quickly. He had a good about six weeks last year, where he scored all those goals. But it’s hard. It’s a long season. You’re on the bus. You’re practicing every day. You’re used to someone taking care of you and now you’re here, you’re a pro hockey player. You have to get your meals and you have to do your laundry. You have to put gas in your car, whatever it may be. I think sometimes it takes a little time, but he’s he’s going in the right direction.
On Brandt Clarke being arguably the best player on the ice in today’s scrimmage:
I think how his brain works is, ‘It’s the last game of the Development Camp and I’m gonna be the best player out here.’ You could see it; the plays he makes, he wants the puck. That’s Clarkie. I think he was trying to be a forward more than he was being a D today, but we’ll let him off the hook today.
On finding balance in Clarke’s game, teaching him risk management, how to balance keeping his game steady without taking away some of his creativity:
You don’t want to ever take that away because he’s as special. As everyone in here knows, it’s great because you have to create offense. And I think for our development staff, he doesn’t get enough credit for being good defensively. I really believe that, because everyone always sees the offensive part and the instincts that he has. But, I don’t know if he gets enough credit for his defensive play. Obviously, O’Donnell, Greene, [and I], we’re not the coaches, I get that coaches will see something different, but I truly believe that he is better than everyone thinks because they always think about the offense and how he makes those plays. But I think he’s a good defenseman too.
On where Clarke is at with his physical development:
You kind of notice it in a few players. I’m shrinking. So these other players are growing. Usually, he and I are both the same height, 6-foot-2, maybe 6-foot-3. But just the maturity, his body is becoming a man. I go back to the off-ice training and the off-season. He’s understanding the importance of it. Maybe he used to work out three days a week in the off-season, but now he’s probably doing five or six; the importance of every day and doing that training. When the season starts in September or October, for those types of players, it’s easy. The hard part is the off-season.