LA Kings 2019 Midseason Prospect Rankings: Player No. 4

Mired in a year of transition and with many questions still remaining about what the LA Kings roster may look like over the next two years, it’s been quite some time since the team’s prospects were primed to snag a bevy of jobs at the NHL level. With that in mind, fans will likely be hearing more and more about the players listed in our Prospect Rankings throughout 2019.

Before we get to another player in the Top 5, it may be helpful to recap for anybody stopping by for the first time. If you’re unfamiliar with our rankings, for nearly a decade this content has become a vital source of player information. 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.

This article is the latest in a multi-part series and for your reference, below are links back to other detailed scouting reports we’ve recently published:

Opening Statements – updates on Mike Amadio, Matt Luff, Austin Wagner, and Sean Walker

Honorable Mentions – profiles on more than a dozen players, including: Mikey Eyssimont, Nikolai Prokhorkin, Bulat Shafigullin, Johan Sodergran, and Matthew Villalta

10. The College Trio – Sheldon Rempal, Daniel Brickley, and Matt Roy

9. Markus Phillips

8. Akil Thomas

7. Jonny Brodzinski

6. Kale Clague

5. Mikey Anderson

MAYOR’S MANOR 2019 MIDSEASON PROSPECT RANKINGS CONTINUED

JARET ANDERSON-DOLAN: Center, WHL Spokane Chiefs (2nd round pick in 2017)

Thus far, ‘eventful’ may be the best word to describe Anderson-Dolan’s season. Since last summer, the 19-year-old forward has played for his junior team in the WHL, saw action with the Kings (both at the Rookie Showcase event in Las Vegas, along with five NHL regular season games), and wore a letter for Team Canada while participating in the recent World Junior Championship. Oh, and he also broke his wrist at the beginning of the season and missed about two months of action.

Perhaps the best news for GM Rob Blake is the fact Anderson-Dolan (or JAD, as most have taken to calling him in Los Angeles) is just about NHL ready. A versatile forward with a well-rounded game, the youngster shines brightest in the intangibles department. Anybody you talk to about JAD – scouts, coaches, or teammates – it all revolves around compete and drive; his leadership attributes.

“He’s not satisfied with just being drafted and being a good player. He’s going to do whatever he can to be in the NHL for a long time,” said one Kings executive, during our annual collection of opinions for these rankings.

In some ways, drafting Anderson-Dolan stirred memories of Wayne Simmonds – at least in the way it all came together. Mike Futa, now Assistant General Manager in LA, was acutely aware of the latter’s development when he played for Owen Sound in the OHL. With JAD, the Kings had hired his WHL coach, Don Nachbaur, in the weeks leading up to the 2017 NHL Draft. So, once again, there was extensive information available to the team; far beyond the usual stats and answers to pre-draft questions. Blake, Futa, and the entire staff had detailed stories and examples of what makes JAD so special.

“We couldn’t get [Nachbaur] to shut up about Anderson-Dolan,” Mark Yannetti, Director of Amateur Scouting, told us at the time. “The funny thing is everyone on the staff saw him because we held one of our meetings in Spokane. That was a matter of circumstance instead of planning, but it helps when everyone on the staff had the same view of him. He was comprehensively scouted and you can say we had inside information because of our relationship with the coach. That’s kind of how the pick came to fruition.”

As we’ve noted in previous reports, no other Kings prospect saw their stock rise as much as JAD in a six month period stretching from March of last year until players started arriving back in Los Angeles in September. Going into training camp, few expected him to be in LA on opening night. Be that as it may, he deserved it and really took advantage of his brief time with the big club.

While some pushed for him to remain on the Kings roster this season, it was well-known privately that was highly unlikely. For starters, management had concerns about the direction of the NHL club early on and needed to sort out various roster roles. Perhaps weighing more heavily, they didn’t want to deprive JAD the experience of being part of Canada’s WJC leadership group. In the big picture, finding the next wave of leaders for the Kings is of paramount importance. If you go back and read what management told us here, little has changed in the nearly three years since – and that must be addressed before the Kings become true Stanley Cup contenders once again.

Along with Mikey Anderson (as we wrote about here last week), Anderson-Dolan is expected to wear a letter for the Kings in the future.

Look for JAD to be somebody who brings energy to the team when it’s needed. Those types of players are becoming few and far between now, yet they find a way to elevate their team’s play. Most of it is done through work ethic; something the 5-foot-11 forward has in spades.

If Kyle Clifford was a ‘culture’ pick, Anderson-Dolan was a high-functioning culture pick. Like Clifford, he brings skills outside of just his off-ice talent. He has elite intangibles that are hard to find among NHL prospects these days. If his trajectory continues, he has the potential to be a top-six forward.

For now, he’s just trying to be the best junior player he can be heading into the playoffs in April. Following an early exit from the WJC, Anderson-Dolan returned to Spokane and suited up for just his third WHL game of the season due to the aforementioned wrist injury. Since then, he’s produced 7 goals in 18 games, including 5 in his 10 most recently played games. He’s used in a lot of key situations, and not always on the top two lines. He also takes a lot of faceoffs and eats up minutes effectively on penalty kill. The coaches there have shown a lot of trust in him and that’s something he’s taken to heart.

“Anderson-Dolan is always going to work hard and he’s always going to take things seriously. He acts like a pro already. He’s serious and buttoned up,” one of our Kings sources remarked.

A few people have tried to compare JAD to an early Mike Richards, though a more apt comparison may be Mike Ricci. When this notion was floated by several inside the Kings organization recently, they universally agreed; Anderson-Dolan has the ability to make a Ricci-type impact.

It isn’t uncommon for junior players to lack structure in their game, but this is actually an area where JAD has shown tremendous growth over the past year – perhaps, in part, something that can be credited to his time with former Kings coach John Stevens and various people connected to the team’s development staff. For example, Jarret Stoll is said to be helping JAD with basic fundamentals, puck protection, and being strong on the puck.

Although it’s still undetermined if he ultimately ends up as a centerman or winger in the NHL, Anderson-Dolan needs to work on his wall play – getting the puck out, chip plays, finessing the puck to the middle, etc. – if he’s going to be used primarily as a left/right wing. His size could also play a factor at some point. Sure, people love to talk about how the game is changing. Still, the Kings have typically been a ‘big down the middle’ team. Anderson is speedy, but doesn’t have high-end speed. How it all shakes out in the end is open for discussion. However, barring something unforeseen happening, we have Anderson-Dolan penciled in on the Kings third line to start training camp in September, most likely as a center.

RELATED CONTENT:

Anderson-Dolan and Eyssimont, Communication Over Chemistry

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Comments

  1. Penciled in as 3C…I’m curious where you think that puts Amadio? Is he a 4C at best? It will be a transition to say the least if the Kings are working with Kopi, Kempe, JAD and Amadio as middle next season (considering Carter is no longer). The Kings will be going for a top 5 pick once again next season.