The Los Angeles Kings had a rough season last year finishing second last in the entire NHL and losing out on a lottery pick thus dropping to fifth where they took a great talent in centermann Alex Turcotte. The Kings followed that up by doing virtually nothing on July 1 when free agency began besides signing Joakim Ryan and Martin Frk to solidify their depth roles and maybe their AHL roster spots for next season. We’ll switch gears to the Kings prospect pool where fans of the team have certain players to keep their eye on for the future of this hockey club and what could be in store.
Kings Prospect Pool
- Alex Turcotte, Age 18, Drafted fifth Overall in 2019
- Arthur Kaliyev, Age 18, Drafted 33rd Overall in 2019
- Rasmus Kupari, Age 19, Drafted 20th Overall in 2018
- Akil Thomas, Age 19, Drafted 51st Overall in 2018
- Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Age 19, Drafted 41st Overall in 2018
- Gabriel Vilardi, Age 20, Drafted 11th Overall in 2019
- Blake Lizotte, Age 21, signed by Kings in 2019
- Carl Grundstrom, Age 21, acquired by Kings in 2019
- Matt Luff, Age 22, signed by Kings in 2016
- Tobias Bjornfot, Age 18, Drafted 22nd Overall in 2019
- Micheal Anderson, Age 20, Drafted 103rd Overall 2017
- Sean Durzi, Age 20, acquired by Kings in 2019
- Markus Phillips, Age 20, Drafted 118th Overall in 2017
- Kale Clague, Age 21, Drafted 51st Overall in 2016
- Lukas Parik, Age 18, Drafted 87th Overall in 2019
- Matthew Villalta, Age 20, Drafted 72nd Overall in 2017
Next Season and for the Future
As mentioned at the top of this article, the Kings were a mess last year in terms of putting together wins and playing consistently as a team. The Kings finished 31st in goal differential (-61) and the worst home record in the entire league (17-21-3) so next year can’t get much worse. The core of the team is still present in the Kings locker room with captain Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, Jonathan Quick, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Tyler Toffoli and Trevor Lewis but, most of them with older age are losing their consistent point production and speed that the NHL is now at.
Kopitar with a cap hit of 10 million dollars and Doughty at 11 million dollars aren’t going to moved by the Kings management staff anytime soon, thus being the two players here to stay for when the Kings start to compete again. The rest of the team is up for either trade or buyouts next year because this team will need to get younger and find a way to get rid of their bad contracts in order to sign up-and-coming players. Adrian Kempe, Alex Iafallo, Mike Amadio and Matt Roy are currently RFA’s and, with 12 million dollars in cap space currently, The Kings should be just fine with giving them contracts in order to play next season.
For the future, the Kings have a solid amount of prospects up their sleeve and will need to develop those young guys very well in order to compete for the Stanley Cup. With the possibility of having Alex Turcotte, Gabriel Vilardi, Jaret Anderson-Dolan and Akil Thomas as your centremen — or even playing together on the roster — is crazy and exciting for the fans of the team. The forwards of this team heading into the future are going to be fine, but the defence to an extent and mostly the goaltending, could be a question mark for when this team is ready to compete. There aren’t legit goaltenders on the market right now and maybe not even next season at a reasonable age and price so maybe the Kings look into trading for a goalie because Jonathan Quick just isn’t Jonathan Quick anymore. It could be quite a few seasons before we see the Los Angeles Kings enter the playoffs but we have seen a theme in the NHL the past few years that younger, elite players can drive their clubs to the postseason. The Kings need to focus on the development of the young talents they do have and look to pick up more in future drafts in order to be successful in the near future.