LA Kings Prospect Report – notes on Forbort, Gravel

The Kings top pick from last summer’s draft, defenseman Derek Forbort, has been invited to this summer’s Team USA evaluation camp.

The sessions, held each August by Canada, the U.S. and other countries are the first step to assembling rosters for next winter’s World Junior Championship – which will be played in Western Canada, starting the day after Christmas.

At the 2011 WJC, Brayden Schenn and Canada were denied gold by Team Russia (which featured Kings prospect Maxim Kitsyn). Meanwhile, Forbort and Team USA picked up a bronze medal.

Set to attend this year’s camp with Forbort are several names that may also be familiar to MayorsManor readers, including – Kevin Gravel (also a Kings prospect), 2010 NHL first rounders Nick Bjugstad (Florida), Charlie Coyle (San Jose) and Emerson Etem (Anaheim), plus Matt Nieto (Long Beach native, currently at Boston University and 2011 NHL Draft eligible).

Gravel was a freshman this year at St. Cloud state.  He played in 36 games, scoring six points (one goal, five assists).  Forbort, also a freshman, reached the NCAA Frozen Four with North Dakota.  However, they lost in the semi-finals to Michigan (yes, Jack Johnson was happy…Matt Greene was not).  During the regular season Forbort played in 38 games, picking up 15 assists (no goals).

The camp will be held in Lake Placid, N.Y. and overseen by coach Dean Blais, who returns to Team USA after guiding the 2010 squad to WJC gold. Former King, turned Stanley Cup winning coach, Dan Bylsma of the Pittsburgh Penguins will also serve as part of the camp’s coaching staff.

Which NHL team will have the most prospects? That’s the Chicago Blackhawks, with three. The Kings are tied with three other teams, each having two prospects at the camp.

To read more about last summer’s camp, click here – see what Bjugstad and Coyle shared on MayorsManor (including their thoughts on Forbort’s performance).

Meanwhile, Forbort and Gravel, both Kings prospects – and two huge defensmen – squared off several times this season…something we chronicled here.

Kyle Clifford and JF Berube filed reports from Team Canada’s camp last summer too – those interviews can be found here (KC) and here (JFB).  See what they had to say about fellow Kings prospects like Schenn, Tyler Toffoli, Nic Deslauriers and many more.

Finally, if you missed the previous interview with Nieto, who just may get selected in the first round later this month, check it out here.

The Mayor
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John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.