It isn’t often you can watch four LA Kings prospects play on TV, but tonight is one of the rare exceptions. Better yet, you’ll be able to see two of the Kings top 10 prospects – one on defense and one at forward.
CBS Sports Network (DirecTV 221, Dish 152) is the place to be tonight at 6pm PST, as they will air North Dakota at St. Cloud State.
UND started the year slowly, but is 14-2-1 in their last 17 games. They also feature Paul LaDue on defense, a true freshman who was selected by the Kings at the 2012 NHL Draft. He arrived at school with a reputation for being a good offensive guy, but our sources there say he’s been nothing short of great defensively with an outstanding hockey sense.
LaDue scored two goals last Saturday, but just look at some of his other stats. In the 15 games played since Dec. 7, he’s been plus-17. That’s the best plus-minus of any defenseman in the nation during that span. Sure, he had a plus-6 game against Miami on Feb. 15, which helps, but in that stretch he’s only been a minus once and even twice. The other 12 games he’s been a plus-player.
With his current pkus-11 rating for the season, LaDue is tied for the NCHC lead among rookies.
You want to talk about good defensemen some more?
How about Kevin Gravel, who patrols the blueline for St. Cloud0, a top-five ranked school all season. He has only one minor penalty this season. Known as a stay-at-home defenseman, he was drafted in 2010,the same year the Kings selected Derek Forbort in the first round. I profiled him for LAKings.com recently and if you missed it, click here. Good quotes from Kings staff and you’ll get a better picture of just how good this kid is. He’s been compared to Rob Scuderi. Not bad.
Gravel also has two other Kings prospects as teammates. Forward Jonny Brodzinski was selected by LA in the fifth round last year. He’s a sniper. I did an interview with him here.
Finally, there’s Nic Dowd – who, along with Gravel, serves as the team’s co-captain. He just cracked the Kings top 10 mid-season prospect rankings earlier this week (link).
This game is for first place in the conference and is already sold out. It should be a thrilling game, with playoff implications on the line, as the college hockey regular seasons ends next week.
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