Two Kings prospects set to battle on TV tonight

When two players are part of the same draft class it’s common for them to be linked or compared to throughout their careers. In fact, it’s something Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan spoke about this week when he arrived in Sweden, while talking about the Kings Anze Kopitar (both were selected at the 2005 NHL Draft). The same could be said for two of LA’s picks from the 2010 NHL Draft – Derek Forbort and Kevin Gravel. Both defensemen stand about 6-foot-5 and have participated in the USA Hockey program.  Now, they’re competitors in the WCHA – Forbort is at North Dakota and Gravel at St. Cloud State.

Which brings us to the 2011 draft class. Forward Nick Shore (Denver University) was taken by the Kings in the third round and Michael Mersch (University of Wisconsin) was taken a round later. They’ve gotten to know each other a little bit at the Kings annual summer Development Camps. However, they’re more familiar playing against each other, which they’ll do again in a two-game series starting tonight.

Both players, now juniors at their respective schools, come into the weekend as major offensive contributors for their teams. Mersch has scored eight goals in 10 games, tied for the Badgers team lead. And Shore’s 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) is tops among the Pioneers current squad.

Over the five times they met up last season, Denver went 3-2. Wisconsin’s spread their two wins out, taking one contest at home and on the road. During one of the games at UW, Mersch had a three point night (1 goal, 2 assists) – which statistically speaking, was his second-best game of the season. On the other hand, Shore had a goal in each of the Pioneers three wins.

Shore’s been good for about a point-per-game this season. However, he was held off the score-sheet in Denver’s last game, a 6-4 loss to second-ranked New Hampshire last weekend.

Among college hockey players nationally, Shore enters play tonight ranked seventh in points-per-game (1.42). Interestingly, he’s tied with Nic Dowd of St. Cloud State – another Kings prospect (2009 draft class). Meanwhile, Mersh is ranked third among all NCAA players in goals-per-game.

Earlier today, Mersch had this to say to MayorsManor – “Really looking forward to this weekend. As a team, we’re looking to turn the ship around.”

Specific to his development and how he feels about his individual skills at the moment, Mersh added – “We have some pros skating with our team in Madison and it’s allowed me to learn a few things to further my game.  So, I have to give credit to them and my coaches for helping me lately.”

If all that’s not enough, Irvine native, Nic Kerdiles (Anaheim Ducks second round pick last June), will be making his debut tonight for Wisconsin.

Catch all the action on the NBC Sports Network tonight at 7:30pn PST.

Recent Articles

Stars Dallas NHL hockey

Puck Probability: Odds for Kings at Stars, November 22

With the Kings set to complete their three-game season series with the Stars in Dallas on Saturday night, we have our first return guest here on the Puck Probability series. Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News was so much fan last time around, he’s back to help us close out the set between these [...]

Seguin Stars

Things You May Not Know: Kings-Stars Finale Edition

This is it. In just about a three-week span, the Kings and Stars will have completed their three-game season series. Dallas, fresh off their Friday trade with the Sharks – where they sent defenseman Brenden Dillon to San Jose in exchange for defenseman Jason Demers and a third-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft – [...]

Canes Kings Nov 2014

In the Room: Kings and Hurricanes talk LA’s 3-2 win

Following the Kings 3-2 win vs. the visiting Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night, here is what was being said in both locker rooms: Kings coach Darryl Sutter on the overall game: “We controlled the game in the offensive zone, so we did what we wanted. We tried to get to the net, but [Cam] Ward’s [...]

Major News Items

Zykov NHL LA Kings

LA Kings 2014-15 Prospect Rankings: The Coveted Top 5

With the Honorable Mentions and Nos. 6-10 prospects previously revealed in other articles, we’re now prepared to share the final five players making up the latest edition of our L.A. Kings Top 10 Prospect Rankings. The … [Read More...]

More Prospect News