LA Kings 2018 Mid-Season Top 10 Prospect Rankings: What Happened to No. 5?


We’re about to make a little history here at MayorsManor, hope everyone is ready.

If you’re unfamiliar with our rankings overall, for nearly a decade this content has become a vital source of player information, as nobody outside the Kings organization talks to more coaches, scouts, and General Managers about LA’s top prospects on a regular basis than the team at MayorsManor. Endless hours go into evaluating players in the Kings pipeline and preparing our write-ups. Additionally, the final slotting of players is influenced by hundreds of hours of game action and debating the team’s prospects with a myriad of well-respected hockey people, including our key sources inside the team’s front office.

For those playing catching up, this article is the latest in a multi-part series. For your reference, below are links back to other detailed scouting reports we’ve recently published:

Honorable Mentions – including Justin Auger, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Mikey Eyssimont, Cole Hults, Alex Lintuniemi, Kurtis MacDermid, and Michael Mersch

10. Mikey Anderson

9. Matt Luff

8. Oscar Fantenberg

7. Austin Wagner

6. Cal Petersen

MAYOR’S MANOR 2018 MID-SEASON PROSPECT RANKINGS CONTINUED

In setting up the scouting reports below, let’s attempt to add some context around something we’ve never done before – had two players tie for a position. Now, sure, we could have just as easily labeled one No. 4 and the other No. 5. Instead, using the most simplistic explanation possible, here’s why one guy received 4a and the other ended up at 4b… A center will usually be rated higher than a winger, if (and this is a key assumption) they’re projected to be playing on the same line. However, a top-6 forward will almost always be rated higher than a bottom-6 forward. In this case, one player is projected to be a top-6 player, therefore he is rated slightly ahead of the other player, who is projected to be a third-line center in the NHL.

And, yes, if you throw a defenseman into this conversation it does get a little bit messy because the guidelines aren’t as clean. Generally speaking, a top-pairing defenseman trumps all players, except a 1C in certain situations. More on this when we get to the top there players ranked (coming in subsequent articles).

For now, the two forwards listed below are virtually locked in a race, running parallel to each other. As they pass each corner, one noses out ahead of the other; only to see them switch positions rounding the next turn. Thus, it’s a dead heat when looking at the big picture.

4b: MICHAEL AMADIO: Forward, Los Angeles Kings (3rd round pick in in 2014, OHL)

Offensively speaking, this second-year pro is having an outstanding season. He was good for more than a point-per-game over his final two years in the OHL. Then, as an AHL rookie last season, he recorded 41 points (16G, 25A) in 58 games – about what you would expect, as he took a step up in competition. This year, though, he’s elevated his output. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario native had already notched 35 points in 32 games with the Reign, and was riding a 17-game point streak at the time of his NHL call-up in mid-January.

When called-up, Amadio was leading in assists, points and plus/minus; as well as ranking second in goals scored for the Reign. [ed. note: Still waiting on Luff to take over the goal scoring lead to really make the above prediction look amazing.] More recently, he’s been playing a bottom-6 role with Los Angeles, scoring a few timely goals, including last weekend in Buffalo.

Overall, he’s most effective at center, so don’t read too much into it when he’s used at wing. Credit coach Stan Butler of the North Bay Battalion for instilling such a strong defensive makeup into Amadio’s overall approach. In 2016, OHL General Managers named also Amadio the league’s Most Sportsmanlike Player of the Year, a lofty award when you’re coming off a 98-point season.

Despite scoring 50 goals that season, he isn’t a 50-goal scorer. Amadio plays a two-way game. Yet, as he becomes more comfortable with his defensive responsibilities as a pro, he lets his offensive side start to shine through. He has ability, no doubt. His biggest challenge will be to do it consistently. He’s come a long way in his first two seasons, with plenty of room still to grow. For example, he needs to get stronger, which will help his skating. He can make plays, as he often showed playing with Matt Moulson down in Ontario (the two had great chemistry, and Moulson helped him with the transition into becoming a pro player). Amadio still needs to work on his face offs and it remains to be seen where he will ultimately end up.

If Adrian Kempe is the 3C in Los Angeles, that moves Amadio down do a 4C. If Kempe is on the wing, Amadio could slot in at the 3C – until Austin Wagner comes along to push for that job (see earlier report here). Finally, Amadio is a nice guy. He would benefit from being a bit pushier, not in a rude way though. He just doesn’t benefit as much from being so happy to be there; he need to push harder to make his own spot on the team.

4a. JONNY BRODZINSKI: Forward, Los Angeles Kings (5th round pick in in 2013, OHL)

Look, we wrote a detailed scouting report on Brodzinski last year – where he was listed No. 3, having a breakout season statistically, and was coming off of an appearance in the AHL All Star Game — and not much has changed with his skill set. The Minnesota native still has a knack for scoring goals and helping create offense. His speed and tenacity are part of what’s brought him to the dance. However, his name will need to appear on the Kings scoresheet more consistently to keep his spot long-term.

The phrase heard over and over when talking to various members of the Los Angeles management and development groups is, ‘To reach his full potential, and play regularly in the NHl, Jonny Brodzinski needs to be a top-6 forward.’

True, he’s a pure winger, a pure scorer. However, his four goals in 39 NHL games isn’t exactly what supporters had in mind. Even so, that is a very small sample size and we’ll need at least 50 more games before developing even the slightest bit of concern. There is a chicken-or-egg thing here at play, as well. It wasn’t lost on us when one member of the Kings executive circle recently described, in detail, a play where Brodzinski opened up for a one-timer and the pass was off his front foot – “With Kopitar, it would be right in his wheel house.” Yes, with Anze Kopitar it would. That’s the issue. Everybody agrees he needs to be in the top-6. Yet, to get there, he needs to earn his minutes and prove he belongs. That’s quite the conundrum.

Overall, coach John Stevens likes him and is satisfied with what Brodzinski has shown during his second call-up this season, and his staff has quite a bit of faith in what the 24-year-old forward is doing. The team thinks he’s good along the wall; does the things he’s supposed to do. Some have even noted he makes little patient plays along the wall, ‘similar to what Tyler Toffoli does.’ Brodzinski doesn’t cheat to get offensive opportunities. He’s also pretty reliable. However, again, as a pure scorer, he might go unnoticed if he’s not getting the puck in the right spot.

He would be classified as an average skater. His first 3-4 strides are quick and powerful, but needs to get stronger down low. His offensive contributions will always be his strength, just like they were when he was at St. Could State. The puck naturally comes off his stick like a goal scorer (once again, you’ll often hear Toffoli’s name when scouts are explaining this part of Brodzinski’s game) and he finds ways to beat goalies. Several NHL goalies he’s faced say he has a different release than most forwards.

The bottom line is, Brodzinski has to find his way onto Kopitar’s line if he’s going to stick with the Kings (assuming Toffoli stays with Jeff Carter). Amadio won’t be a top-6 forward, so this comes down to positional fit on the roster. There is a spot in the top-6 to be had, Brodzinski needs to cease the moment and make it his.

One little trivia note to wrap this up, as noted in an article I wrote for LAKings.com back in 2015, Jonny has a younger brother, Easton, who now plays at St. Cloud State (where he was just named Rookie Player of the Week in the NCHC). Easton was also an invitee to Kings Development Camp last summer. We’ll let you know when word comes down if he’ll be invited back this July.

What’s next in the 2018 Prospect Rankings? The top three, of course.

Like always, many thanks to the numerous hockey sources who contribute to this series – especially Andy Tonge, our longtime correspondent, and Cody Warner, who has been covering the Ontario Reign for us since the AHL arrived in California. Their ongoing input regarding prospects continues to be invaluable throughout this process. Do yourself a favor and give them both a follow on Twitter right now.

If you missed any of the previous articles in this series, click here to catch up.

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