Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Prospects Continue to Shine

Finding a silver lining in all the futility of the last few years can be tough. Top draft picks have probably been the one thing everybody can agree has helped the franchise. From day one Dean Lombardi has talked about the importance of not just having younger players in the system, but the right younger players. Ones with high upside, strong character and guys that have been tested in key hockey situations - like playoffs and international play.

It doesn't get much bigger than the grand stage of the World Junior Championships. Team Canada has dominated the holiday tournament, winning five straight gold medals. More importantly, it features a who's who of all the best under 20 players in the world.

With games beginning at the end of the month, camp selections are staring to be announced. Take a look at some of the Kings prospects already invited to participate:

Team Canada
Colten Teubert (D) - 1st round pick 2008
Nicholas Deslauriers (D) - 3rd round pick 2009
Brandon Kozun (RW) - 6th round pick 2009
Brayden Schenn (C) - 1st round pick 2009
Martin Jones (G) - free-agent signing
* note: the Kings selection of five players was more than any other NHL team

Team Russia
Vyacheslav Voinov (D) - 2nd round pick 2008

Team USA
At one point it appeared a lock that Robbie Czarnik (C), a 3rd round pick in 2008, would make the team - especially after playing two years on the under-18 team. However, just a few weeks ago he left the University of Michigan to play Junior hockey in the OHL. Why leave one of the best programs in all of college hockey? He said "I don't think I got as better as I should have." Team USA must have agreed.

More teams will be announced in the days to come.

Nearly every top player you can think of to come through the Kings system in the last decade has played in this tournament - Brown, Frolov, Doughty, Kopitar, etc. and you can add top prospects currently in the system to the list too - guys like Bernier and Hickey.

If you want to see some of the future stars of the Kings, watch the World Junior Championships beginning December 26th. DirecTV and Center Ice usually play a handful of games, including Team USA vs. Canada (12/31 at 5pm PST) and the medal rounds (1/2 -1/5/2010).

Of course, will have all the key stories too!


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