Let the good times roll. We’re moving right along through the LA Kings Top 10 Prospects. Last week, we posted an Honorable Mentions article, as well as a look at the five players sitting No. 6 through 10 on our list. Yesterday, we detailed the pair of players holding down spots No. 4 and 5 in this article. And we’re back again, ready to shine a light on No. 3.
As a reminder, these bi-annual rankings provide some of the most popular content we produce each year because of the amount of effort that goes into gathering and preparing the evaluations. We’re confident nobody outside the Kings organization talks to more coaches, scouts, and general managers about the team’s top prospects on a regular basis than MayorsManor. The final slotting of players is influenced by hundreds of hours of game action and debating the prospects with a myriad of well-respected hockey people, including our key sources inside the team.
MAYOR’S MANOR 2017 MID-SEASON PROSPECT RANKINGS
3. JONNY BRODZINKSI: Forward, Ontario Reign (5th round pick, St. Cloud State)
Close followers of our prospect rankings likely understand, for a player to keep his spot at the table he must continue to grow, year in and year out. Few in the Kings pipeline, if any, have grown as much over the past 12 months as Brodzinski. A 5th round pick in 2013, the stocky forward is now in line to compete for a job at wing next season, most likely alongside Jeff Carter or Anze Kopitar. His first year as a pro started out slow – something several in the Kings organization predicted – as he was largely relegated to fourth line duties in AHL Ontario, if he was even in the game at all. Proving that hockey can be a game of inches, his stats definitely took a hit early on, when he seemed to hit every post between Ontario and San Antonio during his first three weeks in the AHL. However, as the Reign began their late-season playoff push, Brodzinski was a trusted player under Reign coach Mike Stothers and looked poised for a tremendous post-season… only to go down with an injury before ever getting the opportunity to shine.
By contrast, year two has seen Brodzinski shoot out of the gate, leading the Reign in goals with 17 through 39 contests. Recently, he scored eight goals in a six game span, including a hat trick. For good measure, his 14 helpers give him 31 points in Ontario’s 39 games. He was also named to the AHL All Star team. In only his second AHL season, the Minnesota native has shown that is knack for scoring goals and helping create offense was not something limited to just his college career at St. Cloud State; his game clearly translates to the pro level. In not should go unnoticed that Brodzinski has yet to miss a game this season, a credit to his physical development. Further, he has continued to display his otherworldly speed, creative play making ability and shear tenacity; all factors that led LA to taking a chance on him in the first place.
At his current growth rate, Brodzinski will likely be suiting up at Staples Center before he ever reaches the top of our list. It doesn’t take much for him to flick his wrists and get a hard, quick shot on net with supreme accuracy – an ability that you don’t teach, you either have it or you don’t. If any Kings scorer goes down in the coming weeks, we’ve been told Brodzinski has earned his way into the conversation regarding who might fill that hole. Already the best shooting prospect the Kings currently have at their top minor league affiliate, look for this highly touted forward to push his way into LA’s top-six mix, either through a late season call-up or early in the 2017-18 season.
For the final article from this multi-part series, we’ll pull the curtain back on the duo listed No. 1 and 2 on our mid-season rankings of the Kings top prospects. By now you’ve probably figured out their names, the only real question remaining is the slotting. Has Adrian Kempe held on to the top spot or has a certain former college hockey defenseman jumped over him? Be on the lookout in the days ahead.
As always, we would also like to pass along many thanks to the plethora of hockey sources who contribute to this series – from scouts, coaches, and players, to our own staff of contributors, like Andy Tonge and Cody Warner.
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