Dev Camp: Chatting Up Turcotte, Kaliyev, Other Kings Prospects

Below are some quick highlights from conversations with various LA Kings prospects at Day 1 of the team’s annual Development Camp”

Alex Turcotte
Selected No. 5 (RD1) of 2019 NHL Draft – scouting notes here
Expected to play next season at the University of Wisconsin

On Tony Granato and the college recruiting process – “He made me feel really comfortable off the ice. He was just a really good guy to me, same with the other coaches. He made sure that I knew I could go there and just play my game; just do what I do and be myself. I think that’s really important to do to help yourself develop.”

On Kaliyev – “We played together at the All American Prospects game earlier this year. It worked out pretty well, we read off of each other very well. He’s a natural goal scorer. He has one of the best shots in the Draft. And he was one of the best goal scorers in the Draft. I’m more of a play-maker, so I think it worked out well. He’s a great player. … I was really happy. He was slated to go in the first round, lucky enough for us, he dropped to the second. It was definitely a steal, for sure. There are going to be some teams that regret not taking him.”

On looking ahead – “[The Draft process] was pretty stressful, honestly. I’m sure everybody else who went through it would say the same thing. [MM: What was stressful? Thinking the injury or mono may have caused you to slide down?] Honestly, no. Maybe earlier in the year. I thought I did the best I could on the ice and proved myself. I think that’s what’s most important. I had good interviews, so I felt pretty confident. … I think it was normal [to feel that way], you just don’t know where you’re going to go. Maybe some stress, but you’re more anxious and really excited. It’s just a bunch of emotions. You don’t know what’s going to happened and it changes your life. It’s a pretty big day.”

NOTE: Turcotte also said he’s a Detroit Tigers fan (Hello, Alec Martinez, are you listening?). And we joked a bit about his BFF Trevor Zegras being selected by the Anaheim Ducks.

Tobias Bjornfot
Selected No. 22 (RD1) of 2019 NHL Draft – scouting notes here
Expected to play in Sweden next season

“This is a world class organization and I’m glad to be here. It was fun to be out on the ice today, especially after not being on the ice very much so far this summer. I’m looking forward to the big scrimmage on Thursday night. The White Team wants to win the game!”

Arther Kaliyev
Selected No. 33 (RD2) of 2019 NHL Draft – scouting notes here
Expected to play in OHL next season

“It’s been a really tough few days. After Vancouver, I found out I’d be here the next day, so I had to fly home and get my gear, then come here. It was a great, tough first day, but it’s been so far. … I was really excited to be selected by the Kings on Saturday. It was one of my dreams to play for LA. It’s a great city, they have great fans, and the staff here is unreal. I was really excited to go to a team like LA. … I talked to the Kings a lot. They were one of the top teams I felt would take me. And then it happened. … Since I started playing hockey, I’ve been shooting pucks at home and that’s been my style from the start. … My walk up song at the Draft was ‘Old Town Road’ or something. I didn’t know what to pick, so I just went some random one. … I only remember being in the U.S., I moved when I was 8 months old.”

Kaliyev on next month’s Team USA WJC camp and Turcotte – “I think it’s going to be awesome. I think everybody in the camp was drafted by an NHL team. It’s going to be very interesting. I’m really honored to be invited to play for the U.S. too. … I think I’ve watched the WJC every year. It’s really fun to watch. … I’ve known Alex for a long time. We played against each other a lot in minor hockey. Then, I played on a line with him at the U.S. Prospects game.”

Samuel Fagemo
Selected No. 50 (RD2) at 2019 NHL Draft, after Kings traded up to get him
Will return to Sweden to defend 2018-19 championship won with Frolunda

“It’s a great feeling to be part of this organization. They have great facitilities, great coaches and staff. I am real happy and thankful they believe in me and drafted me this year. I’m super excited to get things started with the Kings here. It’s really fun.”

“This is my first time ever in Los Angeles. It’s a nice city, nice weather. I live the beach and the palm trees and stuff like that. I’m happy to be here and I’m really excited.”

“I look forward to developing here, especially the small details – like wall play. I want to get more skills and get to know the club, the staff, and the city. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

“I watch the Kings a lot back home in Sweden. They have some good Swedish players here, like Adrian Kempe and then Oscar Fantenberg [before he was traded]. They also have several Swedish prospects in Johan Sodegran, Tobias Bjornfot now, plus Jacob Moverare from Frolunda. There are a lot of Swedes coming up, so it’s a lot of fun to be coming up with this club right now. Andre Lee is from Sweden too. He’s a big guy, very strong. He’s a good player. Bjornfoot is a great guy. It’s fun to be part of the same organization with him. He was the captain of the Swedish U-18 team. He’s a great leader and a humble guy; just a great teammate. We could be teammates together at the next World Junior in Czech Republic. The first camp is next month is in July. So, I’m here right now, then I’ll go back to Sweden to train for a few weeks, then it’s back to [Plymouth,MI[ to play hockey with Team Sweden, and faceoff against the U.S. and Canada.”

Andre Lee
Selected in Round 7 of 2019 NHL Draft
He’s headed to University of Massachusetts next season

“It was amazing [when my name was called at the Draft]. It was an emotional time for my whole family. It was pretty crazy. … I’m looking forward to getting to know everyone this week and to do my best in practice, work hard every day. Then, I’ll take it from there. … I spoke with Ted Belisle [LA Kings scout] before the Draft, we had a long conversation. I also spoke with Craig Johnson. Ted and I just talked about life, how I felt about the Draft, how I felt my hockey season was going. It was a nice conversation. I spoke with several teams, but I felt like I had a connection with Ted. I was just waiting and waiting, and then it finally happened. … After this, I’m off to Boston for summer school. … This week, I’ll put the work in every day. I never hang back. I want to show people why I’m here and why I was drafted.“

Rasums Kupari
2018-19 Season Highlight – winning OHL Championship with Guelph Storm
Ranked No. 2 on LA Kings Top 10 Prospects list

“My goals this week are to practice hard and challenge myself against these players. It’s not an easy week here. We’re going hard all the time. I just want to show how good I am. … I don’t feel pressure, but of course there is pressure to play well and not make mistakes. I don’t think about that too much. I just try to focus on my game. … I’ll spend the summer in Finland and then I’m moving here to play hockey next season. … I watched some of the Draft. It seems like it was a good Draft for the Kings. It’s been nice to meet some of them here. … I was hoping the Kings would get the first or second pick, to have a chance at Kaapo Kakko. He has a wonderful career coming. … Winning the WJC gold medal was a big thing for me and our country, and that team. It was a tough start, we didn’t play that well in the group stage. Then, we had a huge win against Canada in the quarterfinal. That was a big boost. … Mikey Anderson is a pretty good defenseman. It wasn’t easy facing him; it was a good battle in the final game.”

Johan Sodegran
See scouting report here from LA Kings Top 10 Prospects list

“Last year, I had a lot of fun here, so I knew I was coming over for Development Camp again this year. I’m happy to be here. … It’s nice to see so many Swedes in the locker room right now, compared to last year – I might have been the only one. Now there’s a couple more and I really like it. They’re all good players and really nice away from the rink too, so I’m glad they’re here. … I was watching the Draft when Fagemo was taken by the Kings. I was real happy for him, also Tobias. I was really into watching it because I was so thrilled being part of the Draft last year.”

“I had some conversations with the Kings development staff during the season, guys like Mike O’Connell. It was nice to talk with them and they gave me some great advice.”

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