With the 2019-20 NHL regular season just days away, MayorsManor has already set some expectations for the Kings to get a top-five pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. As some growing pains are expected with the big club this upcoming season, we will continue to be your source for all things prospect related and in our weekly report you can find updates on the development/performance of the organization’s prospects playing around the world.
Keep in mind, this weekly tracker will only cover prospects not playing professional hockey in North America. In essence, we will discuss signed and unsigned players in the pipeline, excluding those in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL.
Alexander Dergachyov: Forward, SKA St. Petersburg, KHL (3rd round pick in 2015)
Regular season: 0 goals, 2 assists, plus-3, 0 PIM in 7 games played
Nikolai Prokhorkin finally made it to North America, yet his now former teammate Dergachyov continues to play in Russia. The good news is, Dergachyov is on one of the top teams in the KHL. As usual, though, we’re concerned with the amount of ice time a developing player may get overseas. Last season, he averaged 13 minutes while only playing in half of the contests. He has played in seven of 12 games thus far this season and averaged 14 minutes per night.
Two assists so far, one of which is the below shorthanded beauty, is a good start though.
SKA score shorthanded and extend their lead by two! Karpov with the goal, Alexander Dergachyov picks up the lone assist. pic.twitter.com/bGnqK1ynvx
— Aivis Kalniņš (@A_Kalnins) September 19, 2019
Samuel Fagemo: Forward, Frölunda HC, SHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 1 goals, 2 assists, plus-2, 0 PIM in 2 games played
After a fantastic showing at the WJC Summer Showcase last month, and an equally impressive stint at Kings Rookie Camp, he’s now in a prime position to push his development even further. Look for Fagemo to fine-tune his speed and sniping ability even further, and we would be shocked if he’s not accompanying fellow countryman Tobias Bjornfot at the WJC. He turned a lot of heads during the preseason, and his recent return to Sweden was by design and prearranged. He’s had a good start with SHL champion Frölunda, picking up three points in his first pair of games.
— Eric (@Kingsgifs) September 8, 2019
Jacob Moverare: Defense, Frölunda HC, SHL (4th round pick in 2016)
Regular season: 0 goals, 1 assist, plus-1, 4 PIM in 5 games played
The Kings loaned Moverare for another season to the Indians, where he and Fagemo will try to reclaim their glory in the SHL. After several years in Sweden, we expect he’ll improve both his numbers and trust from coaches in the form of ice time; last year, he averaged sixth in TOI among defenders in Frölunda. Moverare is averaging second on the team on the blueline this year. An assist in his first game was a good start, but he’s been held scoreless since. Playing for a champion is good, but if the end goal is to play in the NHL, individual growth is crucial at this point in time.
Kim Nousiainen: Defense, KalPa, Liiga (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1, 2 PIM in 6 games played
Los Angeles is very familiar with the smaller Finnish defenseman, as he’s been playing alongside Alexander Rutuu – son of Kings scout Christian. Most of Nousiainen’s time last year was spent in one of the lower tier leagues in Europe. This season, we expect him to be more of a mainstay in Liiga and to represent Finland at the WJC. He has two points thus far, a nice pace to start. It’s nowhere near team-leading, but that’s not the expectation on him in this early stage of his career.
Huomenna Tampereella, lauantaina kotona! 👊
Lauantaina vieraaksemme saapuu KooKoo, mutta millaisia temppuja Kim Nousiainen ja koko joukkue tarjoilevat tuolloin Olvi Areenalla? 👀
Liput 👉 https://t.co/QJ2fpUASS9
— KalPa (@KalPa_Hockey) September 24, 2019
Bulat Shafigullin: Forward, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk, KHL (3rd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 0 goals, 0 assists, plus-0, 0 PIM in 0 games played
An unfortunate wrist injury has sidelined Shafigullin for several weeks, causing him to miss out on a chunk of time in the KHL. He has nowhere to go but up. He played 31 games in Neftekhimik, but only amassed two assists and averaging less than seven minutes of ice time per game. He was eventually sent down to the MHL where he scored 32 points (14 G, 18 A) in 24 games. We don’t expect dominance at the higher level, but more ice time and points aren’t unreasonable.
NCAA + USHL
Braden Doyle: Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL (6th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 0 goals, 1 assist, plus-0, 0 PIM in 1 game played
Doyle is spending another year in the USHL before moving up to the collegiate ranks in the 2020-21 season. As one of the eight players in the league who has been drafted by an NHL team, Doyle is privy to training and facilities not available to most of the league. Consequently, he should be better prepared to compete. The development camp seems to have yielded an immediate return, as he tallied an assist in his first game of the regular season.
Dávid Hrenák: Goalie, St. Cloud State University Huskies, NCHC (5th round pick in 2018)
The netminder returns as a junior, recovering from a heartbreaking overtime championship loss to Minnesota-Duluth last season. He hasn’t played any official games as of this writing, as his first exhibition match is October 6th. While a national title can’t be expected, expect Hrenák to give them the best chance to get there. He and Jacob Ingham will be battling to get a contract to play professionally next year.
Cole Hults: Defense, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten (5th round pick in 2017)
The defenseman is set to start his junior year, with higher expectations of learning habits to be a pro. As an older player, look for him to have more of a leadership role as well. He finished last season with 28 points (6 G, 22 A) in 39 games, and hopefully he can at least keep pace with a well-rounded game.
Andre Lee: Forward, UMass-Lowell River Hawks, Hockey East (7th round pick in 2019)
The last pick of the Kings 2019 NHL Entry draft will be playing his first season in college. He turned up his season against less talented competition towards the end of the season, but now he will be able to hone his size and skills in the NCAA. That said, he has plenty of adjusting to the new league, so don’t expect him to set the world on fire.
Alex Turcotte: Forward, Wisconsin Badgers, Big Ten (1st round pick in 2019)
The Kings highest pick in the past decade isn’t expected to stay in college for long. With his intangibles and two-way play, look for him to make an immediate impact once Wisconsin’s season gets underway in a couple weeks. Moving forward, Turcotte – along with guys like Mikey Anderson and Bjorfot – is expected to be a major component of the Kings future culture change.
Aidan Dudas: Forward, Owen Sound Attack, OHL (4th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 1 goal, 5 assists, plus-2, 2 PIM in 4 games played
Named as captain of the Attack, Dudas is a young player whose leadership experience can help contribute to the culture change in the Kings organization. He’s endured a couple peaks and valleys the first handful of contests, getting six points in his first two games then getting blanked the following two.
The Owen Sound Attack are proud to name Aidan Dudas the 24th Captain in franchise history.
— Owen Sound Attack (@AttackOHL) September 20, 2019
Dudas follows his rebound to the net and taps it in after a bit of a scramble.
— Owen Sound Attack (@AttackOHL) September 26, 2019
Jacob Ingham: Goalie, Kitchener Rangers, OHL (6th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 1-1-1, 3.58 GAA, .896 SV%, 0 SO in 3 games played
An offseason trade from Mississauga to Kitchener set Ingham up to big expectations for a typically playoff-bound team. He has paced the Rangers to a .500 record so far while they are in the bottom half of scoring.
Arthur Kaliyev: Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 2 goals, 4 assists, minus-5, 4 PIM in 4 games played
Kaliyev returned to the OHL in one of the earlier rounds of cuts to further develop with the Hamilton Bulldogs. While he’s not wearing a letter, he’s doing a great job leading the charge. He’s top in team scoring with six points, and is setting up the future pups for success with plays like below:
🚨 GOOOOOALLLL! 🚨
THAT'S A FIRST OHL GOAL FOR WINTERTON! 4-2 Bulldogs! pic.twitter.com/us37Fq5Wyt
— Hamilton Bulldogs (@BulldogsOHL) September 21, 2019
Lukáš Pařík: Goalie, Spokane Chiefs, WHL (3rd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 1-1-0, 3.09 GAA, .895 SV%, 0 Shutouts in 2 games played
Pařík has migrated from the Czech Republic to play as a rookie in North America. His getting acquainted to the smaller ice is the first key step in developing him to become an NHL regular. The quantity of shots against have averaged under 30 per game, so he at least isn’t getting shelled while trying to adjust.
Jordan Spence: Defense, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 0 goals, 1 assist, minus-3, 2 PIM in 4 games played;
The returning QMJHL Rookie of the Year is already anchoring the top pairing, showing a very high level of trust from the coaching staff for such a young and comparatively inexperienced player. It took him a few contests to secure a point – a powerplay assist.
Akil Thomas: Forward, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 0 goals, 1 assist, plus-1, 0 PIM in 2 games played
Like Dudas, Thomas has also been named as captain of his OHL team for this season.
Since making an impression at training camp, Thomas returned to the IceDogs and notched a shorthanded assist since coming back. The team is currently battling a three-game losing streak since opening the season with a pair of wins, and Thomas did not play at the most recent tilt against Saginaw. Niagara was shut out.
NOTE: Author David Hofreiter can be found on Twitter @Davidenkness if you’re interested in talking more hockey with him or asking further questions about these players.