Drafting Skills: LA Kings

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Los Angeles Kings

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Edmonton for Dustin Penner. The pick turned into Oscar Klefbom, who has become a great two-way defender in today’s NHL. Meanwhile, Penner retired after the 2013-2014 season.

Round 2 – Christopher Gibson (G) 49th overall – Gibson never signed in LA, and went onto to Toronto where he was traded in a big package to bring in Michael Grabner. He hasn’t grown into an NHL player, seeing action in only 4 games since being drafted 6 years ago. Big miss by LA, to not even have the player since with you, let alone not develop into an NHL player.

Round 3 – Andy Andreoff (LW) 80th overall – Andreoff has played a bottom-6 role for the Kings the past 2 seasons, taking the role of tough-guy on the team. He provides no offensive support for the team, but being picked in the third round and playing in over 100 games is a decent pick by the Kings.

Round 3 – Nick Shore (F) 82nd overall – They received this pick in dealing out a 6th rounder, plus the pick used on Jimmy Vesey. Shore has also played in over 100 games, but again provides almost no offensive upside (34 points in 172 games). Still, playing in over 100 games for a 3rd round pick isn’t the worst selection.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Tanner Pearson (LW) 30th overall – Pearson has developed into a good player for the Kings, taken with the last pick of the first round in 2012. In 80 games this year, he broke out for 24 goals and 44 points. He’s already played in over 200 games, and the 5 players taken immediately after him have played in zero. Great pick here by the Kings after winning the Cup.

Round 2 – Pick was traded to Philadelphia with Wayne Simmonds for Mike Richards. The trade looked OK at the time, but looking back now it was brutal. Richards is no longer in the NHL, and Simmonds has scored 120 goals in the last 4 seasons for the Flyers.

Round 3 – Pick was traded to Edmonton, along with their 2011 first round pick for Dustin Penner. Baaaaad trade again by the Kings, as Penner was awful when coming over to LA.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded to Columbus with Jack Johnson for Jeff Carter. I’d consider this a good trade for both sides, as Carter wanted out of Columbus, and they managed to get Jack Johnson out of it plus the pick. Carter has scored 137 goals in 361 games since coming over, and has hit 50 points in each season.

Round 2 – Valentin Zykov (LW) 37th overall – I, like many others, expected big things out of Zykov. He dominated in junior, and flopped hard after being drafted. He made his NHL debut this year, for Carolina, playing in 2 (!!) games. In 66 AHL games, he scored only 34 points. Safe to say the Kings were disappointed with this selection, as he never played a game for them.

Round 3 – Pick was traded with their original 2nd round pick to move up and take Zykov. I’ll consider this a bad trade, as Zykov did not pan out, and the Oilers took Anton Slepyshev with this pick and he looks to be better than Zykov at this point.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Adrian Kempe (LW) 29th overall – Kempe made his NHL debut this year, playing in 25 games and scoring 6 points. He’s never put up big offensive numbers, and looks as though he will not make an impact at the NHL level. Another miss by the Kings, who have traded away more picks than any other team in recent years.

Round 2 – Roland McKeown (D) 50th overall – Traded Lined Vey to Vancouver to get this pick. McKeown has yet to play an NHL game, and is likely a year or more away from a shot to play one. Vey has played in 138 NHL games meanwhile, and the Kings then traded McKeown plus a 1st round pick in 2016 (Julien Gauthier) to Carolina for Andrej Sekera. Sekera played in a whopping 16 games for LA before leaving as a free agent. Two bad trades by LA involved with this pick.

Round 2 – Alex Lintuniemi (D) 60th overall – Another player who has yet to play a game for the Kings, therefore I’ll say another miss. He’s still young, but played most of this year in the ECHL. That’s not a good sign.

Round 3 – Mike Amadio (C) 90th overall – Amadio had a great rookie year in the AHL, scoring 41 points in 68 games. He’s grown his offensive game since being drafted, and could challenge for a spot in the next couple of years with LA likely to go through some changes. Good find at the end of the 3rd round by the Kings.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Pick was traded along with Martin Jones, and Colin Miller to Boston for Milan Lucic. The pick was used on Jakub Zboril, who hasn’t made the jump to pro hockey yet, but man did they ever give up a lot to get Lucic, who played one year before leaving for Edmonton in free agency. Meanwhile, Jones is the starter in San Jose and Miller played his second season for Boston this year. Bad, bad trade by the Kings.

Round 2 – Erik Cernak (D) 43rd overall – Cernak finished his junior career this year, with 21 points in 50 games. Not great numbers, but he projects as a defense-first player. He’ll need some seasoning, and will likely go through some bumps playing against men, however is a big kid at 6’3” and over 220 pounds.

Round 3 – Alexander Dergachyov (C) 74th overall – Another miss by the Kings. He played in 31 KHL games, adding only 3 assists and no goals. We’ll likely never see him over in North America.

The Kings have traded away more picks than anyone in these 5 years, and with winning 2 Cups they’ve picked near the bottom. That being said, their choices have been poor to say the least. The trades they’ve made have turned out bad almost in every case, and have found only 1 true impact player out of these 5 drafts in Tanner Pearson. That is awful.

Sources: www.hockeydb.com ; http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm

Outlook on 2016-2017: Edmonton Oilers

Continuing to attempt to predict outcomes of the 2016-2017 season. Next up: The Edmonton Oilers

2015-2016 Important Notes:

Finish – 14th place in the Western Conference, 29th overall

Goals for vs. goals against – minus 42 (28th overall)

Picked 4th overall in 2016 NHL Entry Draft – Jesse Puljujarvi

Where will the Oilers finish?

Everyone has to think that EVENTUALLY the Oilers will not be a lottery team. Will it be this season? With a healthy team, they have the best shot they’ve had in years. For a team that has picked in the top 10 in nine of the last 10 seasons (!!), the fact that they’re still stuck in the basement is an embarrassment. All non-Oiler fans rejoiced when the team fell out of 2nd place in the entry draft down to 4th, only to see Puljujarvi drop right into their laps. Even when the Oilers lose the lottery, they end up on the winning end. Puljujarvi projects to play a key role, riding shotgun on Connor McDavid’s wing for the foreseeable future.

Even with a team that boasts the likes of McDavid, Milan Lucic, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Leon Draisaitl, the team is filled with holes on defense, and question marks in net. How will Adam Larsson fare? Is Cam Talbot capable of carrying this team into the playoffs? These have been the same questions facing the Oilers for the last few years, and this year is no different. I see the Oilers as a team who is still outside of the playoff picture come April, but further up from the basement. I see them right around 11th place in the west, and 22nd overall.

Taylor Hall for Adam Larsson?!?

Everyone knew the Oilers had to improve their defense this offseason, and that a star player was likely on his way out of Edmonton. That being said, I don’t think anyone expected it to be Taylor Hall, and the return to be ONLY Adam Larsson. This was a nightmare trade for Oilers fans, as they watched both PK Subban and Shea Weber (who are much better options) be traded minutes later. This is no knock on Adam Larsson, he’s an immediate and substantial upgrade to the Oilers defense. But he’s no superstar. Taylor Hall is a top 5 player at his position. He’s been the Oilers best player since he came into the NHL, and while that is surely now McDavid, I can’t think of any Oilers fan who didn’t want to see Hall and McDavid play a full season together, or many seasons together for that matter.

This came down to the Oilers being desperate to acquire something that would improve them defensively, even if it hurts their offensive production. Unfortunately for Larsson, he will have the weight of this trade on his shoulders this season, as fans look for him to replace a fan favorite. Will he live up to the trade? No. Will he be an upgrade in an area that the Oilers needed? Yes. How big of an upgrade is the question many will be looking to answer this year.

What can we expect from Connor McDavid?

Greatness. Magic. Dominance.

McDavid comes into this season healthy, and ready to continue right where he left off last year. Everyone will be watching to see how he does at the World Cup, surely leading the ‘Young Stars’ team in all aspects. He seemed to pick up right where he left off after coming back from injury last season, and barely missed out on winning the Calder.

With a full season, and an improved defensive team behind him, McDavid should have no problem challenging for the scoring crown. He possesses all the tools necessary to carry the Oilers to heights they haven’t seen in quite some time. Losing Hall as a key member of the offense could hurt McDavid slightly, but if can rekindle the magic he had last season, it could be a great year for both Oilers’ and McDavid fans.