Lombardi on what’s going on with the Kings’ top prospects

Towards the end of today’s chat with Kings GM Dean Lombardi we were able to go deep on the team’s top prospects…

– On how important it is to get a first round draft pick back this year (Columbus had the option of taking LA’s first round pick in 2012 or 2013 as part of the Jeff Carter trade. The Blue Jackets opted to take this year’s pick after the Kings won the Stanley Cup last season):

“If you look at it, we were fortunate last year, actually. We were going to pay it last year or this year, and (Columbus) didn’t take it because it fell to 30. But actually, the kid we got has really done well. So we actually probably lucked out there, to get this kid (Tanner) Pearson in the 30th pick. He’s got a good chance.”

– On being concerned about Pearson’s injury:

“Yeah, but it’s not structural, so they say that’s the biggest thing. But you can’t predict that. And he’s still a young lad. He’s got to get in shape and everything. But that whole line down there, like we really sucked the lifeblood out of them this year between losing players on waivers and trades. Now we’ve got another wave coming in. But the one thing that was good about it was because we lost a lot of guys – we don’t like losing them – but the benefit of it was (Tyler) Toffoli, (Linden) Vey and Pearson became the top line, and teams all keyed on them. So they learned to play in a tough environment, where if we had all the players there we probably would have had, they fall to the three hole, where generally you break them in, but they’re not getting the focus. But they’re arguably our best players, but they’re still very young. They moved right to the top, and if you went down there, you’d see they’re going right after them. And that’s a good sign, because teams know that these are three good players. And they handled it. Linden Vey’s come a long way. And so that was the good point of having three 20-year-olds on the same line – that they’re drawing the toughest checkers and everything else, and they’re going after them and they’re holding up.”

– On if Vey has come a long way because he’s moved back to center:

“No, clearly becoming a pro. It’s the same thing as Tyler. His first thing after the draft, he couldn’t do one push-up or pull-up and he was proud of it. It’s like, ‘Why do I have to do this for?’ So it’s a tribute to the development guys – what you see is maturity as a man as much as a player. And what happened is they’re pushing each other. It’s because Tyler has figured it out, and then Linden – you’ve got two kids there, one is the leading scorer in (the OHL), and the other was the leading scorer in the west. So you’ve got a little bit of this going, ‘You’re not going to beat me.’ Now Tyler decides to start working. ‘I’ll stay with him.’ And it’s kind of what you like to have. And Pearson kind of figured out the work because he went through a draft, so he actually started figuring out, ‘I’ve got to get back to work.’ If you look at their bodies, they’re a long way from being men. But the point is they get it. And then Toffoli comes in here now and sees how hard Jarret Stoll and these guys work. Now you’ve got it going. That goes back to what started this whole thing. That’s culture. Again, that takes time, and you can lose that in a hurry if you start shuffling guys in and out and stuff.”

To see the Kings’ 2013 mid-season prospect rankings, click here.  It features updates on the top 10 prospects in the entire organizaion.

We also have lots more from today’s Lombardi chat posted on the homepage and check out the links below…

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Comments

  1. Good stuff today Mayor!

  2. If Toffoli passes the 9 game mark (which he’s likely to do very quickly here) does that mean he’s earned a roster spot in the NHL or can and will things probably change once the season is officially over?

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