NHL Player Comparisons for Los Angeles Kings' Top Prospects
Three of them—Tyler Toffoli, Linden Vey and Tanner Pearson—have already spent significant time in the NHL this season. These and other LA prospects draw comparisons to some well-known NHL players based on their size, skill, style of play and potential.
Many of these youngsters should have a good chance at solidifying a roster spot on the Kings in the next couple of years.
For now, here are some NHL player comparisons for the Kings' best prospects.
NHL Comparison: Willie Mitchell
Derek Forbort was regularly compared to Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers leading up to the 2010 NHL draft where the Kings selected him 15th overall. While they do play a similar style to an extent, a better overall comparison at this point is to LA veteran Willie Mitchell.
Forbort is taking the same path to the NHL as Mitchell did. Mitchell spent two seasons playing college hockey with the Clarkson Knights before spending time in the AHL. Forbort suited up for the University of North Dakota for three seasons before making the jump to the AHL late last season.
At 6'4" 212 pounds, Forbort is a solid, shutdown defender who is rarely caught out of position, much like Mitchell, who stands 6'3" and weighs 210 pounds.
Perhaps the only major difference between the two is that if Forbort plays with a more offensive-minded partner, he should be able to top the 20-point mark far more often than Mitchell has.
NHL Comparison: Michael Ryder
The Kings traded up in the 2013 draft to select Valentin Zykov in the second round, 37th overall. The Russian winger was the CHL rookie of the year last season and is once again dominating offensively this year, with 34 points in 29 games.
Like Ryder, Zykov has good offensive vision, a quick release and the ability to find open space in the offensive zone. However, he also faces the same question Ryder did early in his career: Can he become a better skater?
At 6'0", 209 pounds, Zykov has all the other intangibles to be a second- or third-line player in the NHL. He must continue to work on his skating if he's going to be a consistent offensive threat and put up 50-plus points per season.
NHL Comparison: Nick Foligno
Tanner Pearson has bulked up over the past two years, adding more than 10 pounds to his 6'1" frame. But, like Zykov, he must work on his skating in order to make the jump to the NHL full-time.
With just one goal in six games, he failed to make an impact in LA this season and was reassigned to Manchester.
Nick Foligno—a 6'0", 210-pound winger—had similar problems early in his career. To get over the hump Pearson must work extremely hard in the AHL to develop into a stronger two-way forward, while also averaging close to a point per game.
NHL Comparison: Valtteri Filppula
It may seem like a bit of a stretch right now, but if Linden Vey continues to improve, he could end up playing a role similar to that of Valtteri Filppula.
Vey made his NHL debut this season and has recorded five points in 13 games. He boasts tremendous playmaking abilities and plays a solid two-way game.
However, like fellow centers Filppula and Stephen Weiss, Vey must find a way to be effective in the offensive zone, despite his small frame. He stands 6'0" and weighs less than 190 pounds.
If Vey can continue to be a good two-way player and penalty-killer—while also providing secondary scoring—he could be the Kings' third-line center in a few years.
NHL Comparison: Joffrey Lupul
A comparison really isn't necessary in this case.
Tyler Toffoli has once again proven he has what it takes to compete at the NHL level. He is a regular on the Kings' second or third line alongside Mike Richards. Toffoli has averaged 13 minutes of ice time and racked up 15 points in 18 games since being called up from the Manchester Monarchs.
At 6'1", 196 pounds, Toffoli's frame is nearly identical to that of Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul, who stands 6'1" and tips the scales at 206 pounds.
Both players are average skaters with great offensive instincts and highly accurate shots. Hopefully, Toffoli can stay healthy, whereas Lupul has dealt with a few injuries in his career.
With that said, there is no doubt Toffoli should be a top-six forward for the Kings for the next decade.