At the 2010 NHL Draft, held in Los Angeles for the first time, there was a buzz in the air about midway through the first round. GM Dean Lombardi was about to do what he does best at the league’s annual event, swap some assets with one of his cohorts. Dealin’ Dean ultimately traded his first round pick (19th overall) and Philadelphia’s second-round pick (59th overall) for the No. 15 selection. Who was he interested in? Would it be the Russian, Vladimir Tarasenko? One of the big centers, Nick Bjugstad or Charlie Coyle? How about one of the local kids, Beau Bennett or Emerson Etem?
None of the above. He went with 6-foot-4 defenseman Derek Forbort, who was still in high school at the time and playing in the U.S. National Training and Development Program. For the next three years, the Minnesota native would hone his craft at the University of North Dakota before turning pro and signing a three-year entry level contract with the Kings in April 2013.
MayorsManor can now confirm that tomorrow morning it will be announced he has been called up to the NHL.
Here are 10 tidbits you may not know about Forbort:
– He is the only remaining player from the 2010 first round draft group to have not yet made his NHL debut. The combined total number of NHL regular season games played by the other 29 selections is 3,650 (led by Tyler Seguin at 336). In an interesting note, Colorado’s Joey Hishon (taken 17th overall) has also yet to play a NHL regular season game, yet he suited up for three playoffs games last season.
– Assistant GM Rob Blake on what Forbort was told when they sent him to Manchester to start this season: “Last year, you had to learn and figure out the pro level. We’ll give you [that as a] work-in period. Now, you have to become the leader down there. You have to become the best player down there. Once you do that, that’s when your opportunity will come in the NHL.”
– After watching from the press box while the Kings won their second Stanley Cup, Forbort played in a pre-season game last October and was still pretty excited about it several weeks later. “There is a buzz in that arena that makes you excited to play,” he said. “Sure, it was a pre-season game, but it was a lot of fun to compete out there in front of those fans. It was awesome to put that Kings jersey on for the first time. It makes you feel more a part of the organization. Getting the chance to go out and compete with those guys and show them what you got. It makes you want it more, makes you want to get to that next level and be there permanently.”
– Forbort has steadily worked his way up the bi-annual rankings of the Kings’ Top 10 Prospects. He was No. 8 in our 2011-12 preseason rankings and had moved all the way up to No. 4 in the most recent edition, the highest position of any defenseman in the organization.
– He was roommates with Nick Shore this season in Manchester. However, no word yet if Forbort pulled any pranks after his roomie was called up to the NHL recently. You may recall, Jake Muzzin stole some of Jordan Nolan’s clothes when his roommate left Manchester and Alec Martinez was stuck with a pretty bit utility bill in Manchester a few years ago after he was called up (story here).
– More with Shore: Forbort’s home debut with UND came against the University of Denver, where Shore was a freshman at the time. Forbort previewed things for us here.
– Contrary to what his NHL.com draft profile said, he told MayorsManor his pump up song wasn’t Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson. It was (and maybe still is) Raise Your Glass by Pink.
– “I’ve always been kind of a big shot blocker, ever since my days in bantam hockey,” Forbort in 2011.
– He won a bronze medal at the 2011 World Jr. Championship, playing for Team USA, soon after sitting out for an extended period with Mono.
– On why he chose to chirp Scott Sabourin at Development Camp instead of fellow prospect Nic Dowd, who he played against the year prior: “I think I gave [Dowd] a cross check pretty hard when we played [St. Cloud State] this year, so he’s kind of shut up since then.”
The official announcement of his NHL call-up is expected to come tomorrow.
Back in January, we hinted this may be coming soon. Check out the interview here on NHL Radio.
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