Two Kings prospects set to battle on TV tonight

When two players are part of the same draft class it’s common for them to be linked or compared to throughout their careers. In fact, it’s something Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan spoke about this week when he arrived in Sweden, while talking about the Kings Anze Kopitar (both were selected at the 2005 NHL Draft). The same could be said for two of LA’s picks from the 2010 NHL Draft – Derek Forbort and Kevin Gravel. Both defensemen stand about 6-foot-5 and have participated in the USA Hockey program.  Now, they’re competitors in the WCHA – Forbort is at North Dakota and Gravel at St. Cloud State.

Which brings us to the 2011 draft class. Forward Nick Shore (Denver University) was taken by the Kings in the third round and Michael Mersch (University of Wisconsin) was taken a round later. They’ve gotten to know each other a little bit at the Kings annual summer Development Camps. However, they’re more familiar playing against each other, which they’ll do again in a two-game series starting tonight.

Both players, now juniors at their respective schools, come into the weekend as major offensive contributors for their teams. Mersch has scored eight goals in 10 games, tied for the Badgers team lead. And Shore’s 17 points (6 goals, 11 assists) is tops among the Pioneers current squad.

Over the five times they met up last season, Denver went 3-2. Wisconsin’s spread their two wins out, taking one contest at home and on the road. During one of the games at UW, Mersch had a three point night (1 goal, 2 assists) – which statistically speaking, was his second-best game of the season. On the other hand, Shore had a goal in each of the Pioneers three wins.

Shore’s been good for about a point-per-game this season. However, he was held off the score-sheet in Denver’s last game, a 6-4 loss to second-ranked New Hampshire last weekend.

Among college hockey players nationally, Shore enters play tonight ranked seventh in points-per-game (1.42). Interestingly, he’s tied with Nic Dowd of St. Cloud State – another Kings prospect (2009 draft class). Meanwhile, Mersh is ranked third among all NCAA players in goals-per-game.

Earlier today, Mersch had this to say to MayorsManor – “Really looking forward to this weekend. As a team, we’re looking to turn the ship around.”

Specific to his development and how he feels about his individual skills at the moment, Mersh added – “We have some pros skating with our team in Madison and it’s allowed me to learn a few things to further my game.  So, I have to give credit to them and my coaches for helping me lately.”

If all that’s not enough, Irvine native, Nic Kerdiles (Anaheim Ducks second round pick last June), will be making his debut tonight for Wisconsin.

Catch all the action on the NBC Sports Network tonight at 7:30pn PST.

Recent Articles

TSN REPLAY: Hoven Breaks Down the LA Kings, Mike Futa Situation

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on TSN Radio, where he joined host Kevin Olszewski to discuss several NHL related topics – including what went down this week between the Kings and Mike Futa.
Today’s radio segment can be heard using the player below or download any previous appearances for free on the MayorsManor […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Players No. 7 and 8

It’s time for another pair of prospect reports! After revealing the first two players inside the Top 10 last week, we’re back with another pair of future Kings – and both are defensemen.
For anybody new to our rankings, know that you’ve come to the right place. Many view this as the definitive guide to the […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Players No. 9 and 10

We hear that all of our loyal readers are bored these days. They’ve caught up on all their Netflix shows and are ready to get after some hockey related reading. So, here we are. Like your favorite pair of jeans or a cozy blanket. We’re back with the latest round of prospect reports.
In all seriousness, […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Goalie Depth Chart

Before we get started here, some context… While normally our Midseason Prospect Rankings come out shortly after the World Junior Championships, we held off in anticipation of any deals the Kings may make prior to the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

About John Hoven

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.