As the parent club continues to press on and struggle, it’s a mixed bag with the current group of LA Kings prospects – some are continuing to outperform expectations, while others are facing a little adversity. To the latter point, keep in mind some road bumps are expected. Building a road to the future is never easy and without a few potholes and speedbumps, regardless if you’re viewing things at the NHL level or all the way down to the junior leagues. This is a process, and it takes time.
Samuel Fagemo: Forward, Frölunda HC, SHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 6 goals, 5 assists, plus-4, 4 PIM in 20 games played
Fagemo was blanked in the lone Champions Hockey League game, but his net crashing created enough space to allow his linemates to crank in a rebound. Frölunda lost 3-2, yet they can redeem themselves this week in the second quarterfinal match. The native of Göteborg, Sweden, also picked up an assist back in regular SHL action this week, staying out for almost the entire final three minutes to help bring his team back in. Most notably, but as expected, Fagemo was named to Sweden’s preliminary WJC roster.
Sweden's preliminary WJC roster.#WJC #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/9o8rlEpGvd
— Uffe Bodin (@UffeBodin) December 4, 2019
Jacob Moverare: Defense, Frölunda HC, SHL (4th round pick in 2016)
Regular season: 5 goals, 6 assists, plus-13, 6 PIM in 23 games played
An inverse of his fellow countryman and Kings prospect in Fagemo, Moverare picked up an assist in the CHL, as his teammate capitalized on the blueliner’s breakout pass. He also stayed out for a large chunk of regulation’s end but was held pointless in the SHL.
Kim Nousiainen: Defense, KalPa, Liiga (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 2 goals, 5 assists, minus-4, 24 PIM in 28 games played
Along with Rasmus Kupari, Nousiainen was also named to Finland’s preliminary WJC roster. He capped off his week with another assist, but possibly his most remarkable feat this week was when he doubled his penalty minutes, picking up 12 minutes for an illegal check to the head. Not a typical play from the young defender.
5th assist of the season for LHD Kim Nousiainen (LAK).
He gets the primary assist by stealing the puck from LHD Mikko Kokkonen (TOR) and passing it towards the front of the net. #Liiga #GoKingsGo pic.twitter.com/pjMdIsj8sK
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) December 7, 2019
Bulat Shafigullin: Forward, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, KHL (3rd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 9 goals, 8 assists, plus-7, 10 PIM in 12 games played (MHL)
0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1, 0 PIM in 2 games played (KHL)
Shafigullin did not play again this week. His last game of record was November 14. There is no timetable on his potential return for now.
NCAA + USHL
Braden Doyle: Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL (6th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 4 goal, 10 assists, plus-9, 2 PIM in 20 games played
The Kings most recent sixth-round pick exploded this week with hats and apples. He picked up a hat trick one night, adding an assist the following night. His 14 points more than doubles the next highest Dubuque blueliner (who has six), and this week’s performance shot him up to top-5 in scoring by a defensemen. In case you’re wondering, this offensive surge has not stopped the Fighting Saints from being tops defensively either. They’ve allowed 10 fewer goals than the next best defensive team.
Hat Trick goal ✅
Nasty goal ✅
1st Hat Trick by a D in @fightingsaints history ✅
Career night for Braden Doyle ✅ #WhosNext pic.twitter.com/GxFXzwimho
— USHL (@USHL) December 7, 2019
Dávid Hrenák: Goalie, St. Cloud State University Huskies, NCHC (5th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 4-6-4, 3.05 GAA, .887 SV%, 0 SO in 14 games played
While it’s early to say things have turned around, St. Cloud picked up a pair of wins this week to get things back on track. No doubt Hrenák’s 20 and 27-save performance provided the support needed.
Cole Hults: Defense, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten (5th round pick in 2017)
Regular season: 4 goals, 10 assists, plus-11, 12 PIM in 17 games played
Hults’ scoring rate dropped this week, but he still picked up an assist over the weekend as Penn State exchanged wins with Michigan. Overall, the Wisconsin native is focusing on growing into a pro, so raw numbers are not the top priority presently.
This week's college hockey rankings (Kings prospects)…
7. Penn State (Hults) ⬇️ 1
14. UMass Lowell (Lee) ⬆️ 2
N/R Wisconsin (Turcotte)
N/R St. Cloud (Hrenak)
Badgers had been ranked 19th.
All teams now off for a few weeks, holiday break.
Full Top 20 https://t.co/mWwlFMaTjN
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) December 9, 2019
Andre Lee: Forward, UMass-Lowell River Hawks, Hockey East (7th round pick in 2019)
Regular Season: 4 goals, 8 assist, plus-7, 12 PIM in 17 games played
Los Angeles’ freshest face and most recent pick added three more assists this week as the River Hawks traded W’s with Providence this week. His totals put him in the top-five among Hockey East freshmen.
Alex Turcotte: Forward, Wisconsin Badgers, Big Ten (1st round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 6 goals, 9 assists, minus-9, 10 PIM in 16 games played
Turcotte failed to earn a point this week, extending his pointless streak to six games. He generated plenty of chances, so the trouble producing isn’t from lack of trying. In preparation for the upcoming World Junior Championships overseas, Team USA announced their evaluation camp roster – and to the surprise of nobody, Turcotte is among the group of high-end draft picks included at forward.
Alex Turcotte gets behind the defense but John Lethemon flashes the leather to deny Turcotte. #Badgers #GoKingsGo #NTDP pic.twitter.com/OsT2cdEV9J
— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) December 8, 2019
Canadian Junior Leagues
Aidan Dudas: Forward, Owen Sound Attack, OHL (4th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 11 goals, 19 assists, plus-12, 10 PIM in 23 games played
Dudas experienced a bit of a mixed bag this week; he didn’t play due to injury, but he did get an invitation to Canada’s camp for the World Junior Championship. Plenty of other talented players were passed up, so we take this as a good sign Hockey Canada thinks he has a good chance to get back into action before December’s end. For more on his injury status see here.
Jacob Ingham: Goalie, Kitchener Rangers, OHL (6th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 10-3-3, 3.05 GAA, .916 SV%, 0 SO in 16 games played
After Kitchener changed coaches and Ingham recovered from a brief injury, the 19-year-old netminder has posted four straight wins. Most recently, he made 51 saves in regulation and went 3-for-3 in the shootout in the Rangers’ 3-2 shootout win. As can be expected, he was the first star. He also continued to promote giving blood (by wearing #68 – 6ive 8lood); it’s probably safer to spread the word than for him to give the ice in his veins.
Iggy’s got ice in his veins 🥶
Stack up 5️⃣1️⃣ saves for @JacobIngham_ before the @LAKings prospect turns in a perfect shootout, backstopping the @OHLRangers to a sixth straight win. pic.twitter.com/QITPN5y3ul
— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) December 8, 2019
What a weekend. Six straight wins AND a career-high 5⃣1⃣ saves by @JacobIngham_ on Saturday night for #JakeSaves! https://t.co/tO0i8UZrSQ#6ive8lood #RTown #OHL@hkygivesblood | @CanadasLifeline | @OHLHockey pic.twitter.com/xE1Jk9VQIs
— Kitchener Rangers (@OHLRangers) December 8, 2019
Arthur Kaliyev: Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 28 goals, 27 assists, plus-4, 14 PIM in 30 games played
The Arty Party had an unusual cold snap this week, with Kaliyev picking up just a single assist in two contests. This mild slump dropped him down to third overall in league scoring. He’s still had an amazing season, being held without a point in only four of the 30 games this season (although two of his last three). As with so many other prospects on this list, he’s been named to a World Junior Championships camp this week and is expected to be part of the annual showcase for hockey’s top young talent.
With @usahockey just announcing their camp roster, all nine LA Kings prospects we've been talking about are confirmed for #WorldJunior camps with their respective countries.
Final rosters set just before Christmas, WJC opens 12/26.
Best hockey tournament on the planet. Tune in. https://t.co/pbgrj7uBdC
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) December 9, 2019
Lukáš Pařík: Goalie, Spokane Chiefs, WHL (3rd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 9-2-2, 2.59 GAA, .914 SV%, 0 Shutouts in 13 games played
Our returning third star of the month of November picked up another pair of wins this week, including a 34-save outing to launch Spokane to a 4-1 win. He also earned himself an invite to the Czech Republic’s U-20 roster, as he is expected to be one of the goalies representing his native country at the WJC.
Jordan Spence: Defense, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 2 goals, 19 assists, plus-17, 14 PIM in 26 games played
Spence picked up a goal this week and continued to anchor the top-pairing for the third best goals-against group in the QMJHL. Canada’s blueline was a little too deep this year for the recent fourth-round pick to receive an invite to their WJC team. Considering how he upped his game as a rookie last season, we expect this to give him some internal motivation and perhaps another push in his performance for the balance of the season.
Akil Thomas: Forward, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 15 goals, 29 assists, plus-2, 30 PIM in 27 games played
Thomas saw his scoring streak abruptly end earlier last week, which topped out at eight games. Then, he got back on his horse in the last game before leaving to attend Canada’s WJC camp, picking up an assist and the game winning goal in regulation’s final minute. If he ends up being traded out of Niagara in the next few weeks, this would certainly end up as a perfect exclamation point for his time with the IceDogs.
Ugly Christmas sweaters on the ice, but sweet success on the scoreboard 👍🐶 @LAKings prospect @AkilThomas2 scores the power play winner inside the final minute as the @OHLIceDogs nipped Sarnia 6-5. pic.twitter.com/Gy4JXUZDEj
— Ontario Hockey League (@OHLHockey) December 8, 2019
“I usually do the floss dance before every last puck.” @AkilThomas2 😆
👀 Team @OHLHockey warmup through the eyes of the @LAKings prospect and @OHLIceDogs captain wearing our helmet-cam at @cibc #CANvsRUS 🎥 pic.twitter.com/Tm96hPhMEy
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) December 4, 2019
Team 🇨🇦 initial lines at World Junior selection camp
Byfield * – Cozens – Foote
McMichael – Thomas – Mercer
Holloway – Groulx – Newhook
Krebs – Zary – Lavoie
Lafreniere ** – Dellandrea – Foudy
* Quinton absent due to travel issue
** Maintenance day for Alexis
— Mark Masters (@markhmasters) December 9, 2019
Keep in mind, this weekly tracker only covers prospects not playing professional hockey in North America. In essence, the report serves to provide updates on all players in the pipeline — signed or unsigned — excluding those in the NHL, AHL, and ECHL.
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.