2015 NHL Draft Guide for Los Angeles Kings
The 2013-14 season was amazing for the Los Angeles Kings, as they won the Stanley Cup. The 2014-15 campaign was supposed to be a continuation of that, but the defending Cup champions fell short of the postseason.
The Kings have a number of questions heading into the draft, and the team needs to figure out how it is going to fill out the rest of its roster.
Los Angeles has a pick in every round of the draft (June 26-27) except the sixth round, and it will look to make the most of them while trying to overcome a salary-cap situation with financial uncertainty.
With that in mind, here's a NHL draft guide for the Kings.
Projected Lineup and Depth Chart
According to General Fanager, the Kings currently have the following roster players signed to a contract.
- Centers: Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Trevor Lewis and Jordan Nolan
- Left Wingers: Dwight King, Kyle Clifford and Tanner Pearson
- Right Wingers: Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik
- Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Matt Greene and Brayden McNabb
- Jonathan Quick
Marian Gaborik—Anze Kopitar—Dustin Brown
Tanner Pearson—Jeff Carter—Tyler Toffoli
Trevor Lewis—Jordan Nolan—Dwight King
Kyle Clifford—Nick Shore—Brian O'Neill
Jake Muzzin—Drew Doughty
Brayden McNabb—Alec Martinez
Derek Forbort—Matt Greene
Recent Draft History
Top Players Drafted in Last 5 Years
2012: Tanner Pearson, No. 30 Overall from Barrie (OHL)
2010: Tyler Toffoli, No. 47 Overall from Ottawa (OHL)
The Kings don't have many notable draft picks to speak of over the last five seasons outside of Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli. They have drafted other players during that span, but none of them have done anything of note as a member of the Kings.
Toffoli and Pearson have had an impact to date.
The former has tallied 83 points in 148 regular-season games and 20 points in only 38 playoff contests. The latter's impact has been smaller, but his 12 points during the Kings' 2013-14 Cup run were certainly significant.
1. Adrian Kempe: The Kings have a talented prospect who stands 6'2" and weighs 187 pounds. The No. 29 pick in the 2014 draft is a versatile Swedish forward who plays both left and right wing. He will spend the 2015-16 season with the Ontario Reign of the AHL and will have the potential to make a name for himself before earning a call-up to the NHL.
2. Valentin Zykov: Los Angeles also has Valentin Zykov waiting in the minors. He's a 6'2", 216-pound winger with speed, strength and great hands. He spent the past season between the Gatineau Olympiques and Baie-Comeau Drakkar, finishing with 21 goals and 46 points in 42 games. If he has a strong showing at training camp, he could make the roster right away, but look for him to spend some time with the Reign first.
3. Collin Miller: Miller was a fifth-round pick in the 2012 draft, and he had a very solid sophomore year with the Manchester Monarchs. In 70 games, the 6'0", 195-pound defender scored 19 goals and added 33 assists for 52 points. Miller could contend for a roster spot in training camp, but he may end up in the AHL for some more development before finally being brought up to the NHL level.
Going into the draft, the Kings have a couple of items on their shopping list, and they can address them by using or trading their draft picks. With that in mind, here are their biggest needs and potential fits based on the picks they have in their possession.
1. Scoring Forwards
The Kings have a glut of lunch-pail forwards who can play a grit-and-grind game, but they lack a number of skilled forwards. Though the Kings have some talented forwards in the system, as illustrated in the previous slide, they are by no means a sure thing. Marian Gaborik is getting older, and soon it will be left to Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson to produce offense from the wings. Anze Kopitar is an elite two-way center, but he could use some support further down the lineup. The Kings own a first-round pick, and taking a forward early should be a top priority.
Potential Fits: Timo Meier, Pavel Zacha, Travis Konecny or Denis Gurianov.
The Kings currently have two amazing defenders in Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin, but outside of that, they don't have any stars on the blue line. The team also lacks a legitimate prospect on defense, and the team should address that need when you consider that Voynov may not return to the Kings next season.
Potential Fits: Zachary Werenski, Jakub Zboril or trade up for Ivan Provorov.
The Kings have some issues to address and need to look at missing the playoffs as just a blip in the road. The majority of their key players will be back next season, and the team has the opportunity to make an impact at the draft.
It will be interesting if L.A. tries to clear some roster space and move up in the draft because it has the assets to package along with its No. 13 pick to get into the top 10.
General manager Dean Lombardi knows what he is doing and will have a game plan for the draft.