Using a slight twist on our popular Word Association articles, where we have NHL players talk about their opponents, here we asked some of the Kings prospects who play college hockey to evaluate their peers.
Involved in the conversations were:
Jonny Brodzinski – forward, St. Cloud State University – fifth round pick in 2013
Nic Dowd – center, St. Cloud State University – seventh round pick in 2009
Derek Forbort – defenseman, University of North Dakota – first round pick in 2010
Kevin Gravel – defenseman, St. Cloud State University – fifth round pick in 2010
Joel Lowry – forward, Cornell University – fifth round pick in 2011
Nick Shore – center, Denver University – third round pick in 2011
For most of the players it’s an easy task, as all but Lowry played in the (now defunct) WCHA. So, teams like North Dakota, St. Cloud State and Denver were division rivals and played each other multiple times per year. Fortunately, Lowry’s Cornell team did square off with Shore in Denver this year though – so he’ll have a little bit to add as well.
- Forbort on Gravel: “They’ve always been a tough team. North Dakota and St. Cloud, we don’t really like each other too much. Gravel’s a great guy, I like coming out here and working with him. We push each other to get better- we’re both big, defensive d-men.”
(little trivia note, Forbort and Gravel have roomed together almost exclusively at DevCamp since 2010, this year Forbort was paired with Scott Sabourin)
- Gravel on Dowd: “I think he had a really good summer last year, when he spent the whole summer in St. Cloud. He really put his mind and everything into getting better in the weight room and all that. And it definitely showed. He had a great start to last season [2012-13], he scored in every game for the first eight games or something like that – something that was really good for our hockey team. He works so hard and wants to win so much. Every night you’re going to be able to rely on him to go out there and give his all. When you have a guy like that on your team it’s going to go a long way for what you can do as a program.”
- Dowd on ‘helping’ Brodzinski get drafted by the Kings: “Everyone wants a background on a player. It’s not all about the hockey player, a lot of it is about the person as well. You can be a great hockey player but if you’re not good person off the ice and you don’t have a great work ethic, then the NHL is somewhere that you’re not going to reach… Obviously I talked to a couple guys about him, it was an easy sell on my part – he’s my teammate, was my line mate and is a good friend of mine. So, I had nothing bad to say about him.”
- Dowd on if Forbort’s size is tough to play against: “I don’t know, we did some wresting in LA. He’s a big boy, but I think I can hold my weight against him.”
- Brodzinski on Forbort: “Obviously playing against North Dakota, it’s one of our big rivalries. I love playing at their rink, I think they have a great rink and a fun rink to play in. He’s a great player too. Playing against him and playing against the Sioux was a great time this year.”
- Brodzinski on Shore: “We had a couple series against them [Denver University]. He had a couple goals against us, a couple assists. It seemed like he was in the right spot at the right time every time we played against him.”
- Brodzinski on Mersch: ”Another guy that’s a really good player and really talented. He sees the ice really well. He had a couple goals against us in the Final Five – or he had a couple points. A tough player to play against.”
- Lowry on Shore and any possible chirping about the games this year: ”We lost both games to Nick Shore this season, so I’m not really saying much (he laughed)…He’s really good with the puck. He’s calm and he’s smart and he makes a lot of good plays out there. That’s probably the thing I remember most about him.”
Looking ahead, Forbort and Shore have left their college days behind. Both players recently signed pro contracts with the Kings and are expected to play for the Manchester Monarchs in the AHL next season.
Also worth noting, although Michael Mersch (left wing, University of Wisconsin) wasn’t part of this article, he has been on MayorsManor before and shared thoughts on several of his college rivals / fellow Kings prospects – see the link below. We’ve also provided links to some of the other DevCamp articles that have posted over the last 10 days.
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