Saturday, June 25, 2011

LA Kings 2011 Draft Notes - rounds four, five, six and seven

I'll have full notes on the players listed below up later. For now, here's a quick recap on some more of the Los Angeles Kings draft picks today...

Fourth Round - LW Michael Mersch from the University of Wisconsin (pictured). Yes, another college player. During his just completed freshman year as a Badger, he posted 19 points in 41 games. He's 6-foot-2, 198 pounds and is a product of the US National Program. Mersch - along with other Kings prospects Derek Forbort, Kevin Gravel and Nick Shore - has been invited to this summer's evaluation camp for Team USA's squad being assembled for the 2012 World Junior tournament.

Fifth Round - LW Joel Lowry from Victoria (BCHL). The 6-foot-1 and 180 pounder had 24 goals and 43 assists in 42 games this past season. His brother Adam was taken earlier today by the Winnipeg Jets and his dad is an assistant coach with the Calgary Flames. Joel is scheduled to attend Cornell University in the fall - the same school that turned out former Kings prospect Matt Moulson.

Sixth Round - pick was traded, along with 2012 third rounder, to move up to #82 and select Nick Shore from Denver (NCAA) - detailed in a previous post this morning

Seventh Round - LW Michael Schumacher. A formula one driver? No, a forward for Frolunda HC. Last year, Kings GM Dean Lombardi selected a Russian with his final pick (Maxim Kitsyn). This year, he went to Sweden. And yes, he was trying to fill the gaping hole at LW throughout the entire organization. Schumacher is 6-foot-3, 198 pounds.

Overall, the team took one goalie, two centers and three left wingers. By country, they selected three Americans, one Canadian, one Finn and a Swede.

Only one Canadian? My how the game has changed.

More later.

The Mayor

LA Kings Draft Update: Round Three - center Nick Shore

Finally some love for Team USA.

In recent years, Team Canada camps for the World Junior Championships have been like mini-Kings camps. Los Angeles has had more prospects there than any other NHL franchise - with names like Thomas Hickey, Brayden Schenn, Kyle Clifford, etc.

On the flip side, Derek Forbort - the Kings first round selection at last summer's draft - has been the lone guy over on the Team USA side.

That's about to change.

Dealer Dean was up to his old tricks again, just moments after making the 80th pick in this year's draft, Lombardi packaged his sixth round pick this year (#170 overall) and next year's third rounder to nab Nick Shore at #82.

Shore, a center from the University of Denver, was ranked #56 by NHL Central Scouting, so he was a pretty attractive pick when he was still sitting there. During his just completed freshman season he had 18 points in 28 games. Scouts rave about his hockey smarts and say he is strong defensively - both things coach Terry Murray values highly.  His skating is said to need serious improvement though.

Forbort's North Dakota Fighting Sioux downed Shore's Denver Pioneers 6-1 in this year's NCAA playoffs, advancing to the Frozen Four.

Both players, along with fellow Kings prospect Kevin Gravel (St Could State), have been invited to participate in the upcoming USA Hockey evaluation camp for next year's World Junior tournament.

Also of note, Lombardi has been known as a big WHL guy - however, he's been taking a lot of NCAA players lately.

For a look back at the Kings other draft picks today, start here.

Or skip ahead to their next selections from rounds four through seven click here.

The Mayor


Interview with Kings 2010 first round pick Derek Forbort

Brayden Schenn's last major interview as a member of the LA Kings

Kyle Clifford explains his nickname

Interview with Thomas Hickey - Kings former number one draft pick, top prospect

LA Kings Draft Update: Round three - center Andy Andreoff

Andy Andreoff welcome to Manchester, New Hampshire.

With their second selection in this year's NHL Draft - number 80 overall in the third round - the LA Kings selected 6-foot-1, 198 pound center Andy Andreoff from the Ontario Hockey League.

After posting 11 and 15 goals the two previous seasons, Andreoff exploded this season for 33 goals and 42 assists in 66 games for the Oshawa Generals.

He's an older player, who was originally draft eligible in 2009. However, he went unselected that year.

In the annual OHL Coach's Poll he was recently voted the East's most underrated player and the third most improved player.

Scouting reports suggest he's most likely a third line center with a very heavy shot, but he usually passes first.

He also is strong defensively and finished second in the OHL with seven shorthanded points.

Given his age, he'll most likely play with the Manchester Monarchs next season in the AHL. 

For more on the Kings first pick today, goalie Chris Gibson, click here.

To skip ahead and see who the Kings selected next click here.

The Mayor


Interview with the OHL Scoring Champion - Kings prospect Tyler Toffoli

Interview with Team USA's Derek Forbort - Kings prospect talks 2011 World Junior Championship

Interview with Monarchs 'Man of the Year' Bud Holloway

LA Kings Draft Update: Round two - goalie Chris Gibson

In a little bit of a surprise move - or what some might call a Dean Lombardi draft day special - the Kings selected a goaltender with their first pick (#49 overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft.

LA traded away their first round selection in the Dustin Penner deal earlier this year. So, the team didn't hit the podium until the second round, where they announced 'We proudly select Finnish goaltender Christopher Gibson.'

He played last season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he led all goalies with a .920 save-percentage and was second overall with a 2.42 goals-against average. He was named a First Team All-Star.

Gibson lists Mikka Kiprusoff as his favortie athlete - a netminder Lombardi is very familiar with from his days in San Jose.

The Kings also know about goalies coming out of the QMJHL, having recently taken Jonathan Bernier and JF Berube from the junior circuit.

To see what the Kings did in the third round click here.

The Mayor


Interview with Kings 2010 first round pick Derek Forbort

Interview with Kings goaltending prospect JF Berube

Clearing the Crease with Jonathan Bernier

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ryan Smyth traded to the Oilers for basically a draft pick

Ryan Smyth is about to test the theory that you can't go home again.

In a deal that came together after the Calgary Flames are believed to have entered the race, the Oilers agreed to send Gilbert Brule and a fourth round draft pick to the Kings in exchange for Captain Canada.

Brule, a center, is under contract for one more year and is most likely headed to Manchester next season or will bought out.  He was a first round draft pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets back in 2005 and was traded to the Oilers in 2008.

At this point, his talents - even though seven goals in 41 games last season aren't bad numbers - are probably not enough to crack the roster in Los Angeles. Thus, all of Smyth's salary comes off the books and frees up GM Dean Lombardi's budget just a week before NHL free agency opens up next Friday.

Full details on new Kings jerseys - 3rd, retro, home, road

As I posted earlier on twitter and facebook, that's a picture of the new Los Angeles Kings road jersey that will be featured when the team takes the stage at the draft this weekend - most likely tomorrow (as GM Dean Lombardi doesn't have a first round pick tonight).

Well, here are some more of the plans...

After much discussion on which jersey should be used as the third version, it's been settled - the current home jersey, black base with the crown and purple trim, will become the new third jersey.

For fans loving all things retro, the team will also wear vintage jerseys during three 'Legends' games - dates still to be determined.  Those will (probably) be the same '67-era purple and gold jerseys worn a few times this past season.  However, it could be a different purple/gold version, depending on the players/era they honor.

During home games at Staples Center the Kings will wear the black version of the jersey pictured above.

The Mayor

Dean Lombardi 'troubled' by Ryan Smyth trade request

When the NHL schedule came out yesterday it revealed the Kings will host both the Washington Captials and Pittsburgh Penguins.  Sid and Ovi coming to town? Usually that's enough to talk about on a boring Thursday in June.

Yet, leave it to Dean Lombardi to throw that one out the window.

First, he made a huge trade with the Flyers, acquiring their captain Mike Richards in exchange for a package that included hockey's number one prospect, Brayden Schenn.

Then, hours later, he dropped another bomb on the conference call - yes, Ryan Smyth DID ask for a trade.

As discussed here on MayorsManor earlier in the week, Smyth's team of preference was the Oilers. And our poll showed fans were split on what the Kings should expect in return (results here).

Lombardi, known for his honesty when answering these type of questions, was his usual blunt self...

"This has kind of evolved over the last two months, actually. When Ryan asked to be moved, at first I was really troubled. Ryan, in our first 40 games last year I thought he was one of our better players. He kind of tailed off a little and then, in the playoffs, was one of our best players. And certainly, left wing, it’s not one of our strongest positions. So first off, my reaction was, `No way,’ and I couldn’t figure out why, because I think Ryan had adapted well."

Exclusive: Jim Fox on LA Kings Trade for Mike Richards

He may be on the other side of the globe, yet Jim Fox still made time to check in with MayorsManor regarding the big news from yesterday.

Fresh off another successful charity event last week (they raised over $200k at the 23rd annual Jim Fox/Dave Taylor golf tournament), Fox headed over to Prague this week for some R&R. Although he still couldn't shake the hockey world, as he worked out in the same gym yesterday with Roman Hamrlik and Patrick Elias. You think Kovalchuk's name came up?

Meanwhile, the Kings were retooling their roster yesterday in a big way - acquiring Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn and a second round draft pick.

In Richards, the Kings received the Flyers’ 26-year old captain, who is under a long term contract. He's averaged 28 goals, 42 assists and 70 points over the last four seasons. Equally important, he's played in 57 playoff games - including the Stanley Cup Finals in 2010.

Earlier this morning Fox shared a few comments on the trade -

"When I think of Mike Richards I think 'playoff player.' A guy who because of his competitive nature and style personifies 'leaving it all on the ice.' His versatility drives his value way up. He plays and excels in all facets of the game - all situations and he gets better when the game is on the line!"

More on the trade later today, including exclusive comments from one of Richards' former teammates.

The Mayor


High/Low with Jim Fox - Kings vs San Jose, 2011 Playoffs

Interview with Brayden Schenn - interview with hockey's #1 prospect

Cruising the mall with Simmonds and Doughty

Interview with Marcel Dionne

Monday, June 20, 2011

POLL: Ryan Smyth - what's he worth to the LA Kings?

You always have to preface these type of things, so here goes - Ryan Smyth is a class act and was the perfect player at the perfect time when the Kings acquired him a few summers ago.

That said, according to a TSN report earlier today, Smyth has notified the Kings he would like to play for the Edmonton Oilers next season if possible.

It appears to be more than just a rumor.  So, let's look at things...

He's 35 years old and has played in 1,069 NHL regular season games - including 82 this past season (the first time he's played a full season since 2003-04).

His 47 points were fourth best on the Kings, while his 23 goals were third most on the team.

Perhaps most important, he plays left wing - a position the Kings are extremely thin at throughout the entire organization.

Even so, a trade to Edmonton is always possible.  Anything's possible in the NHL!

If you were GM Dean Lombardi, what would you be looking for in return?

Poll closes Thursday night.

Smyth started his career in Edmonton, playing over 750 games there before being traded to the Islanders in a deadline deal in 2007.  His first career game with the Oilers was actually vs. the Kings at the old Forum - something he spoke about in a MayorsManor interview here.

I'm off to Las Vegas in the morning for NHL Awards week. Be sure to follow all the action via twitter and facebook updates at the links below.

The Mayor