Over the last few seasons, the LA Kings have been rated as having one of the top prospect pools among NHL teams. However, many of those players with high-end potential are starting to age out of junior hockey.
Besides their annual summer evaluation camp, for the last eight years, Canada has tuned up for that event with a warm-up against a team of Russian players each November.
Dubbed the Subway Super Series, it’s six games total, with the team of Russian all-stars playing twice against each of the three major junior leagues – the QMJHL, OHL and WHL.
Last year, the Kings were represented in every game – wtih Maxim Kitsyn (Russia), Nic Deslauriers (QMJHL), JF Berube (QMJHL), Tyler Toffoli (OHL), Jordan Weal (WHL) and Linden Vey (WHL) participating. Each of those players also appeared on MayorsManor during the tournament, offering their perspective on the games (links below).
With all six of the Kings’ draft picks this past June being ineligible – three of the picks are playing college hockey, Andy Andreoff is too old, Michael Schumacher is from Sweden and Christopher Gibson will likely play for Finland at the World Juniors – only two of LA’s prospects were available for the Super Series this year and both were selected.
Toffoli will only play in one game though – an event hosted by his Ottawa 67’s team on Thursday, November 10. With the 67’s also playing three straight games that Friday through Sunday, perhaps that’s why he wasn’t selected to play in the second Russia vs. OHL game on Monday the 14th.
Many have questioned his omission from last year’s Canadian team at the WJC and he is expected to be a featured player this time around.
Weal will play on his home ice as well, when the two-game series vs. the WHL opens in Regina on Thursday, November 16. He’ll also be in the line-up for the second game the following night in Moose Jaw.
Several first round selections from last June’s NHL Draft will be participating in the series, as will many players expected to be high picks at the 2012 NHL Draft.
Last year, Russia won the series with a 4-2 record. It was their first victory in the eight-year history of the event.
The event kicks off November 7th with Russia vs. the QMJHL.