Let’s take a quick trip around the North American rinks and see what’s going on with some of the Kings prospects…
NCAA / College Hockey
– Derek Forbort (D, 2010 first round pick), fresh off winning the bronze medal with Team USA at the World Junior Championships in Buffalo on Wednesday, returns to the line-up tonight for the North Dakota Fighting Sioux. They’re game with Robert Morris University will be televised nationally on FCS (DirecTV channel 617) at 5:30pm PST (replayed tomorrow morning on the NHL Network). Saturday night’s game will be on channel 623.
– Kevin Gravel (D, 2010 fifth round) is having a tough freshman year at St Cloud State, as his team is near the bottom of their conference (WCHA). However, next month they’ll get a rematch with Forbort and the Sioux on home ice, after dropping a pair at UND this past November. In 18 games played he has two assists and is a minus-6.
– Garrett Rowe, a 5’8″ left wing taken in the seventh round of 2008, is Gravel’s teammate at SCSU. He’s currently second in team points with 15 (3g, 12a).
Western Hockey League (WHL)
– Schenn, Schenn, Schenn – that’s all people want to talk about these days. The Kings 2009 first round pick is still expected to be traded by his junior team (Brandon Wheat Kings) before the WHL trade deadline hits on Monday. For updated information and scenarios involving Brayden Schenn trade rumors click here.
– Jordan Weal (C, 2010 third round) – the big question entering the season was could he put up big numbers without Jordan Eberle by his side. Guess what? He’s in the top-five again, with 51 points (19g, 32a) through 39 games. He’ll play in an outdoor game next month, more on that in the weeks to come. His Regina Pats are 10th in the Eastern Conference with 32 points, just four back with games in hand. It looks like they’ll be sellers this weekend instead of buyers though – meaning Weal could be dealt. Stay tuned.
– Linden Vey (RW, 2009 fourth round) is not often mentioned among the most buzz-worthy Kings’ prospects. Yet, he’s putting together a fine season. Currently second in the WHL scoring race with 60 points (25g, 35a) – he’s played four fewer games than leader Brendan Ranford (yes, Bill’s son). His Medicine Hat Tigers are solidly in the playoffs, sitting third in the Eastern Conference and number eight in the CHL Top Ten (think BCS of junior hockey if you’re not familiar). Emerson Etem, the Ducks first round pick last year, is also on the team.
Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Tyler Toffoli (LW, 2010 second round) – I’ve said it before, but I still can’t believe he didn’t make the Canadian World Junior team this year. He’s leading the OHL in scoring (34g, 35a = 69 points) and was just named the league’s Player of the Month for December after scoring 22 points in 10 games. His Ottawa 67s team is on the rise in the standings too – something that probably make former 67 Jim Fox pretty happy.
[Jan 8, 2011 UPDATE: Toffoli had another goal and an assist on Friday night, pushing his scoring streak up to a league-best 22 games.]
Maxim Kitsyn – the Russian is coming! It was just announced today that he has officially joined the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors. After a spectacular Super Series in November and gold medal performance this week at the WJC, expect big things from LA’s probable sixth round steal. Kitsyn – it’s Russian for Gold (as seen here).
[Jan 8, 2011 UPDATE: Kitsyn had a goal and an assist in his OHL debut Friday night. He was also voted the #1 star of the game. Not a bad start.]
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
– Nic Deslauriers (D, 2009 third round) has returned from his early season leg injury that prevented him from playing for Canada at the WJC. His Gatineau Olympiques are in fourth place overall, right behind the Montreal Juniors. He has 23 points (7g, 16a) in 22 games played. He has been one of the Kings better looking blueline prospects in recent summer camps.
– JF Berube (G, 2009 fourth round) is 19-4-2-3 for the Montreal Juniors this season. Despite his impressive W-L record, his personal stats are in the middle of the pack among all goalies in the Q. The Juniors are ranked #5 in the CHL Top Ten and they’ll play Deslauriers’ team on Sunday.
Manchester Monarchs of the AHL
– Update to follow next week.
Ontario Reign of the ECHL
– They aren’t doing so hot – the Reign have the fewest wins in the league and are in last place. But, they do have three upcoming games to note – Saturday is Bud Holloway bobblehead night. Wednesday they’ll play the Alaska Aces – who are coached by Brent Thompson. How many long time Kings fans remember that guy? And for next month’s Affiliate Night the Reign will wear purple and gold inspired jerseys. Luc Robitaille bobbleheads will also be given out and he’ll be there for the puck drop.