Just like last year, the Kings will once again have a group of prospects in town for the remainder of the playoffs. More commonly known as the Black Aces, the unit started to take shape over the weekend with goaltenders Martin Jones and JF Berube. Now, MayorsManor has learned that approximately 11 players will be participate, including the following guys:
– Andy Andreoff (C/LW) – third round pick, 2011. Just finished his first year as a pro, scoring 13 goals and 26 points in 69 games with Manchester. Often filled in on the ‘top line’ when Tanner Pearson or Tyler Toffoli were out of the line-up. One of the few true power forwards in the Kings’ system, he also led the Monarchs with 111 penalty minutes. Listen to Andreoff on the MayorsManor show here.
– Andrew Bodnarchuk (D) – signed to a one-year free-agent contract in July 2012, originally drafted by the Boston Bruins in 2006. The 5-11, 190-pound blueliner was named “Best Defenseman” by the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in 2010. Contributed 5 goals and 20 points over 69 games for Manchester this season. Many players have commented about the leadership he brought to the team this year, especially after Thomas Hickey was claimed by the New York Islanders.
– Andrew Campbell (D) – third round pick, 2008. At 6-foot-4 he has the size LA loves. However, he still needs to pack on some more muscle. He’s a steady, stay-at-home defenseman who the Kings thought highly enough of this season to call up twice. Although he’s yet to make his NHL debut, that’s still a compliment to his ongoing development. Campbell, one of many former Soo Greyhounds in the Kings system, talked about his status in an interview here.
– Nick Deslauriers (D) – third round pick, 2009. As we wrote about earlier this year, if you could somehow merge Matt Greene’s mean streak with the grace of Alec Martinez, you’d probably end up with Nick Deslauriers. He’ll dazzle you with skill, then knock your head off if you deserve it. After a somewhat inconsistent regular season, Deslauriers really turned it up down the stretch and in the playoffs. His 23 points were second on the team among defensemen. To hear Deslauriers on the MayorsManor show, click here.
– Brandon Kozun (RW) – sixth round pick, 2009. His 26 goals and 56 points in Manchester this year were both second-best on the team. They also marked career highs as a pro and gave him three straight years of at least 20 goals in the AHL. He has good hands, speed/quickness and an undying determination to succeed. Listen to Kozun on the MayorsManor show here.
– Colin Miller (D) – fifth round pick, 2012. Captain of the Soo Greyhounds. Finished this season with 20 goals. More to come.
– Alex Roach (D) – free-agent signing, summer 2011. The of only two junior players known to be invited, Roach is a 6-foot-4 blueliner who was signed to a three-year Entry Level contract after impressing LA brass following his invitation to Kings Development Camp. He then had a breakout campaign with the Calgary Hitmen this season, his third year in the WHL, setting personal bests in goals (15), assists (34), points (49) and plus-minus (plus-42). Those numbers were also tops among Calgary defensemen as well. The 20-year old went on to contribute six points in 17 playoff games this season before Calgary was finally eliminated in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals by the Edmonton Oil Kings.
– Tanner Pearson (LW) – first round pick, 2012. He could just be the crown jewel on this list and might be in LA permanently as early as next season. Along with their center, Linden Vey, Pearson was the yin to Tyler Toffoli’s yang in Manchester. Although the duo were drafted two years apart, he and Toffoli are actually the same age (separated by only four months). There’s not a lot of flash to his game, but there’s plenty of substance. He’s a smart player who puts the puck in the right places. Listen to Pearson on the MayorsManor show here.
– Linden Vey (C) – fourth round pick, 2009. The player who probably showed the most growth in Manchester from the prior season. Once he was given two elite players as wingers, Vey really shined. His 45 assists and 67 points were both tops among Monarchs players. He’s projected as a second line play-making center in the NHL.
[UPDATE: Add Robert Czarnik (C), Brian O’Neill (RW) and Jordan Weal (C) to the list]
To see full scouting reports and detailed rankings on the Kings top prospects, click the links below.
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