Prospects, prospects, prospects.
They’re something the Los Angeles Kings have a plethora of now, after decades of trading away young players and draft picks for aging veterans.
For the last few years, GM Dean Lombardi has been stockpiling prospects with the hope they would someday fill holes in his roster – either by becoming NHL players (see Kyle Clifford, Jonathan Bernier, etc.) or by using them as assets to acquire key pieces (see Brayden Schenn, Colten Teubert, etc.).
Each are coming off impressive seasons and eager to make a jump to the next level. After Tuesday’s scrimmage, Kings Coach Terry Murray shared what he had observed from both players during the just completed Development Camp…
On Toffoli – “Big difference from last year. I’m seeing a player who has dedicated himself to getting in better shape. We see a guy who has a high-end skill level. He’s a big goal scorer, he won the scoring title in the Ontario Hockey League. Now, he’s playing the pace of the game for the 60 minutes and on both sides of the puck. He’s really working hard to do the right things without it, so he can get it back on a stick again and attack. I just like (his) commitment and dedication over the last year. Again, he’s starting to emerge. He’s starting to become a guy that’s going to be, hopefully, what you want him to be (with) the scoring and being able to play at the pro level, at the high pace.”
On Kozun – “I think there’s a big change in Brandon Kozun from last year at this time (too). You saw a little bit in these scrimmages last year (where) he was a speedster, running around hitting some speed bumps, falling down, getting up and doing it all over again. Now there’s more structure and purpose to where he’s going to go and how he’s going to get there. There’s more controlled speed. He still competes very hard. He takes some hits, but he dishes them out, as we saw here in the (second) scrimmage. That’s a year of pro under his belt and it’s heading in the right direction for him.”
More from Coach Murray later today, where he’ll evaluate the performance of some of the defense and goaltending prospects in camp.
In the meantime, if you missed what Kozun or Toffoli had to say just prior to camp, links to their exclusive MayorsManor pre-camp interviews are below. Also listed are post-scrimmage comments from Kozun, Linden Vey and Joel Lowry.
Pre-camp interview with Tyler Toffoli – 2011 OHL Scoring Champion
Pre-camp interview wtih Brandon Kozun – says he’s ready for the NHL
Pre-camp interview with Jordan Weal – talking WHL, Manchester, Kings, etc.
Pre-camp comments from Kevin Gravel – talking USA hockey, Forbort, Kings, etc.
Pre-camp interview w/ Kings 2011 draft pick Michael Mersch – talking Shore, Forbort, etc.