While the Kings get ready for their opening round showdown with the San Jose Sharks later this week, their junior prospects are already two games into the second round of the CHL playoffs.
Below is a brief overview of how each of LA’s top prospects have fared so far, plus a look ahead to the Manchester Monarchs (AHL) post-season plans…
Western Hockey League (WHL)
Brayden Schenn – The team that was tops amongst all WHL clubs this season enters tonight down 0-2 to the Kootenay Ice, who will now host games three and four. Schenn produced ten points in six first round games, posting five goals and five assists. Kootenay’s ability to limit him to just one point in the first two games of this series has been a major story line so far. Can the Ice possibly sweep the Saskatoon Blades right out of the playoffs? It sure would make for an interesting conversation about Schenn’s immediate future.
Linden Vey – He leads all WHL players with nine goals and 18 points in the playoffs. Exactly what you’d expect from the 2010-11 WHL Scoring Champion. Vey was also just named the WHL Player of the Week, rightfully so. His Medicine Hat Tigers crushed the Red Deer Rebels in the first two games of this series by scores of 9-1 and 5-0. Vey had a pair of goals in each game. The series moves back to Medicine Hat for games three (today) and four (tomorrow).
[update, Tuesday 4/12/11: Vey has been announved as the CHL Player of the Week too, so not just the WHL – but, now all of Canadian junior hockey]
Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Tyler Toffoli – As reported last week, Toffoli’s Ottawa 67’s were eliminated from the OHL playoffs in the first round. He then signed a tryout contract with the Manchester Monarchs and made his pro debut in their final regular season game on Sunday – where he scored a goal. Toffoli was the 2010-11 OHL Scoring Champion and could bring some additional offense to the Monarchs, as they begin their playoff run later this week (more on that below).
Maxim Kitsyn – Was a big part of Team Russia winning the Super Series in November and then a gold medal at the recent World Junior Championships. And he’s coming up big again for the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors in the OHL playoffs. After scoring a pedestrian nine goals in 32 regular season games, he’s already netted four goals in six post-season games. His team swept their first round series and is currently up 2-0 in the second round.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
Nicolas Deslauriers – Along with Schenn, he’s the only other Kings prospect down 0-2 after his team lost the first two games in Drummondville. The series now moves ‘home’ to Gatineau tonight and tomorrow night. Deslauriers continues to put up fine offensive numbers for a defenseman, with two goals and five assists in seven post-season games.
JF Berube – ‘Hollywood’ has looked strong in net. He’s 5-1 in six playoff games this year, including two shutouts in the first round. His Montreal Junior team is tied 1-1 with the Lewiston Maineiacs (Jonathan Bernier’s old team). Berube and crew will be the road team for the next pair of games, beginning tonight.
American Hockey League (AHL)
Manchester Monarchs – They finished the year as the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference and will take on the Binghamton Senators in the first round. Manchester will host the first two games of the series, beginning Thursday night. Like the Kings, the Monarchs feature a very solid goaltending tandem in Jeff Zatkoff and Martin Jones. Their offense has been led by four forwards with 23 or more goals, including leading goal scorer Bud Holloway (28) and rookie Brandon Kozun (23). Defenseman Viatcheslav Voynov led all players with 36 assists and added 15 goals. When their junior seasons ended, the Monarchs added Tyler Toffoli (discussed above) and Jordan Weal (seven games played without a goal yet). Look for both to be offensive contributors in the series vs. Binghamton.
More news and notes in a few days on the Kings prospects. Until then, follow along on twitter and/or facebook, I’ll post regular updates.
[game 3 updates…
– Schenn and Saskatoon lost, trail 0-3
– Vey and Medicine Hat won, lead 3-0
– Kitsyn and Mississauga won, lead 3-0
– Deslauriers and Gatineau won, trail 1-2
– Berube and Montreal lost, trail 1-2
…all junior teams will play game four on Wednesday night]