NHL Draft 2012: 5 Prospects LA Kings Brass Should Keep Their Eye on
It's never too early to look to the future. Especially when you are in the position of the L.A. Kings.
The team looks poised to make its 3rd consecutive postseason appearance, and they have many core players signed to long term contracts.
So why not think about the next wave of talent who you will plug into the roster? This year's draft looks very rich with talents, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a lot of players step onto the scene this coming season.
That being said, here are a few prospects from the junior levels the Kings might take a real strong look at come draft day.
C Stefan Matteau
If there is one thing I have learned from Dean Lombardi and crew, it's that they love drafting kids out of the USHL and the United States development program.
There is a lot of NCAA/USHL blood already in the Kings' lineup, with guys like Jonathan Quick, Matt Greene, Alec Martinez, Trevor Lewis, Kevin Westgarth, Scott Parse etc. And they also have recent draft choice Derek Forbort.
Matteau, standing at 6'2, and 220 pounds is a big-bodied center capable of taking over shifts with his strength and size.
You can guarantee that if the Kings retain their first-round pick for this season, and he is available, it would be a nice fit. (As part of the Jeff Carter trade, Columbus has a choice of this year or next year's first-round pick.)
LW Nicholas Kerdiles
If the Kings, however, do have to give up their first-round pick they will have to look a little deeper into the draft.
And that's where Texas native Nicholas Kerdiles will be. Currently the 27th-ranked North American skater with Central Scouting, Kerdiles is another big-bodied player at 6'2" that the Kings might be interested in for wing depth.
He's played very well in midget juniors and with the U.S. U-17 team, and brings a nice set of hands along with a good physical nature.
The Kings don't have as much depth on wing as they would like, and Kerdiles would be a welcomed addition.
LW Pontus Åberg
If the Kings want to add a little dynamic skill and speed to their lineup, it seems that the Elitserien, or Swedish Elite League, is absolutely oozing with it this season.
Åberg is a shifty winger, coming in just shy of 6 foot. But don't let his size fool you, he is a very capable player.
Åberg, at age 18, has already played a full season with Djugårdens IF and actually did very well, recording eight goals, seven assists and 15 points in 41 games, and was nominated for a SEL rookie of the year award.
He is currently ranked as the No. 5 overall European skater, but it's not unlikely to see a player ranked that high fall as far as the late-second round, especially with the amount of good, solid CHL and USHL prospects this year.
It's also worth noting that he has had some injury problems in his young career, which would also make his draft position slide, but he is a pure sniper nonetheless, and someone the Kings might be looking at.
D Michael Matheson
I know you ask yourself: do the Kings really need another defenseman at this point?
And the answer is: You always need defensemen. Especially skilled ones.
Matheson, another USHL product out of Dubuque, is a two-way defenseman praised for his natural hockey sense, skating, and puck-moving ability.
Matheson, if drafted by the Kings, would be in a long line of defenders waiting for their shot.
However, one positive is that Matheson has committed to Boston College for next season—something that Dean Lombardi has been impressed with in the past with players.
The Kings can sit on Matheson for some time in the NCAA until he is ready for his shot at the pros.
D Patrick Sieloff
There is one thing moving forward that the Kings don't have too much of. And that would be nasty, physical, defensive defensmen.
Patrick Sieloff out of the USA U-17s is just that. This is one of those picks that the Kings might be able to steal as late as a third- or fourth-round selection.
Looking down the road with an aging Rob Scuderi, Willie Mitchell, and Matt Greene, the Kings only have the likes of Davis Drewiske, Andrew Campbell and Derek Forbort (when he is ready) to fill the defensive defenseman roles on the team.
Sieloff would be a good addition to the Kings' defensive prospects.
I think he is comparable to Matt Greene in many ways. If you don't think so, check out the video posted above of him blocking a shot with his dome.
Matt Greene approves (Don't look if blood makes you nauseous!)