Boy how times have changed.
Gone are the days when the Los Angeles Kings were simply looking for warm bodies to round out their roster.
Since April 2006, GM Dean Lombardi and his staff have worked tirelessly to stock the farm system, while simultaneously finding the proper mix of veteran leadership and talented youth at the NHL level.
While the playoffs may still be more than six months away, today’s roster cuts continue to show just how deep their main roster is.
Prized prospects are no longer forced to learn on the job, while playing in a league of men. They’re being sent back to their respective junior and AHL clubs to further their development.
Earlier in the week, the Kings 65-man training cup roster was trimmed by 11, as eight invitees and three prospects left LA. Coach Terry Murray talked in-depth about the big names from that group – Jordan Weal, Michael Schumacher and Christopher Gibson – in an interview here.
Today, camp came to an end for nine more players. Here’s the list:
Andy Andreoff – 6-foot-1 center, drafted in 2011, third round – played 66 games for Oshawa (OHL) last season, scoring 33 goals and was impressive at the Kings’ July Development Camp – his most recent MayorsManor interview is linked here
Ray Kaunisto — 6-foot-3 left wing, signed as a free agent in 2010, following his college career at Northern Michigan – played 57 games for Manchester last season – one of the best (and most respected) chirpers among the prospects – recently gave an epic interview on MayorsManor, where he provided his ‘bucket list’ – check it out here
Brandon Kozun — 5-foot-8 forward, drafted in 2009, sixth round – has proclaimed he’s ‘ready for the NHL’ – played 73 games for Manchester last season (23 goals, 25 assists) – frequent guest on MayorsManor, including his partial follow-up to Kaunisto’s bucket list, linked here
Tyler Toffoli — 6-foot-1 right wing, drafted in 2010, second round - scored 57 goals in 68 games for Ottawa last season, winning the OHL scoring title – along with Kozun, was expected to be the star of camp this year – was originally coached by legendary bench boss Brian Kilrea (the first man to ever score a goal for the LA Kings) – Toffoli has been a regular guest on MayorsManor, including this exclusive look at his time with Team Canada this summer
Linden Vey — 6-foot right wing, drafted in 2009, fourth round - scored 46 goals in 69 games for Medicine Hat last season and won the WHL scoring title – appeared on MayorsManor several times last season and provided a few funny comments during Dev Camp, linked here
Nicolas Deslauriers — 6-foot-1, 200 lbs, drafted in 2009, third round – in three years from now, he just might be the best of the ‘next’ defensemen coming up through LA’s system – I’ve been singing his praises ever since first seeing him on the ice – his skating his smooth, his vision is great and he put it all together last year, posting more points in the QMJHL playoffs than any other defenseman (while playing for the Gatineau Olympiques) – he also had 43 points (13 goals, 30 assists) in 48 regular season games – he showed up at Dev Camp in July with added muscle too – he’s been on MayorsManor many times over the last two seasons, here are some thoughts he shared heading into the playoffs
David Kolomatis – 5-foot-11 dman, headed back to Manchester for another season
Patrick Mullen – another 5-foot-11 dman who played in Manchester last season
Martin Jones – if you don’t know this name yet, you will soon enough - he’s poised to be the next uber prospect pushed through the Kings pipeline – like Jake Muzzin on the blueline, Jones was signed as a free agent – a big kid, 6-4 and 191 lbs, he went to Manchester last year as a rookie and went to the AHL All-Star Game! – overall, in 39 games with the Monarchs, he posted a 2.25 GAA and .924 save percentage – his continued development, perhaps, will give the Kings a degree of comfort if they need to move Jonathan Bernier at some point in the future – here you can read some of the Kings coaches praising the play of Jones – and here Jones answered a few questions for us prior to the AHL playoffs
All of the above players were sent to Manchester (AHL), except Toffoli – who was returned to his junior club, the Ottawa 67′s.
With these cuts, it also looks like Zatkoff will be the third goalie going to Europe with the Kings (discussed earlier today on MayorsManor.com).
The Kings will play the Ducks tonight at Staples Center, practice tomorrow in LA and then head out on the road for a pair of exhibition games in Kansas City (vs the Penguins) and Colorado.
To see the MayorsManor rankings of the Kings top ten prospects, click here.