LA Kings Weekly Prospect Tracker, Plus Three Stars of December 2019

A little less than half of the nine LA Kings prospects picked up medals at the just concluded World Junior Championship in Europe. While this annual tournament typically favors 19 year-old players, several of the top 2020 NHL Draft hopefuls participated – and excelled. We’ll be featuring a select group from that bunch in some articles, as we ramp up our Draft Preview series.

Spoiler alert: Canada won gold, Russia won silver, and Sweden beat Finland for the bronze. Additionally, there were some casualties of competition, two of which were Los Angeles property. Rasmus Kupari went out early and is currently in Los Angeles awaiting MRI results. Goaltender Lukas Parik missed some action late in the tournament, yet appears to be ready to return to action soon.

We normally would have selected our Three Stars for December after considering play through the end of the month. However, with the WJC in full swing, it only seemed right to extend the “December” deadline through the end of the gold medal game on January 5.

DECEMBER’S TOP PERFORMERS

NO. 3 STAR

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

1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1, 2 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)

Thomas played a depth role to help Canada win gold. Despite only notching two points in the tournament, they couldn’t have been timelier. He assisted on Canada’s first goal during pool play, which sparked a comeback against Team USA. More importantly, he scored the clutch game-winning goal to beat Russia with minutes to spare in regulation.

Further, even though he missed nearly the entire month of OHL action while off with Team Canada, he remains among the top three in scoring for Niagara – coming off his strong play over the first few months of the season.

https://twitter.com/TSN_Sports/status/1213921487922630656

https://twitter.com/TSN_Sports/status/1210275318344359938

On a side note, Thomas will likely remain in the news this week, as the OHL Trade Deadline is on Friday and he’s expected to moved by Niagara. Either way, this should be his last year in the OHL. Look for him to spend next season with the AHL Ontario Reign (more on that in the coming weeks, as part of the annual LA Kings Prospect Rankings).

NO. 2 STAR

Jacob Ingham: Goalie, Kitchener Rangers, OHL (6th round pick in 2018)

Regular season: 18-4-3, 2.52 GAA, .929 SV%, 2 SO in 25 games played

Despite not getting the invitation to represent Canada in the WJC, Ingham’s contributions to Kitchener’s turnaround simply cannot be overlooked. Facing an average of 34 shots per game since December 1, the native of Barrie, Ontario has posted a record of 11-1 and allowed a stingy 20 goals in that span (for a GAA of 1.67).

Ingham’s stonewalling of the competition has pushed Kitchener to just one win away from regaining the division lead, after they were questionable to make the playoffs following a mediocre start. He also received recognition by the OHL as the goaltender of the month.

https://twitter.com/PRO_Goaltending/status/1213451549210480646

Of course, who doesn’t like contributing on the offense side of things a little bit? Ingham sure did, giving a stretch pass to Kings development camp invite Jonathan Yantsis for the game-winning goal recently. Said apple brought Ingham’s assist count to two on the season.

https://twitter.com/OHLHockey/status/1213512513217847296

NO. 1 STAR

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

CHL: 7 goals, 3 assists, plus-9, 4 PIM in 8 games played

WJC: 8 goals, 5 assists, plus-3, 6 PIM in 7 games played

Sweden extended their WJC preliminary round winning streak to 52 games, a span of 13 years. However, they once again missed out on playing in the final game of the tournament, settling for bronze. Fagemo was one of the key bright spots to their roster at forward, earning two points in all but one game, that of which he still got an assist. He finished the WJC with the tournament high in goals (8), points (13), and shots (41), and was voted to the All-Tournament Team by the media. He played in all situations, including the tournament’s best penalty kill.

Although not voted as the tournament MVP, he certainly pulled his weight – and only a goal in overtime scored by Russia prevented Sweden from facing Canada for Gold.

https://twitter.com/CanadaWorldJ/status/1213925746156212225

NOTES

– Along with Thomas, Aidan Dudas won Gold with Canada at the WJC. Fagemo and Tobias Björnfot won Bronze for Sweden. In total, four medals were earned by Kings prospects.

– Braden Doyle picked up a goal and an assist since the last update, solidifying his position as no. 2 overall in scoring among defensemen in USHL scoring.

– Cole Hults added a couple assists to his statsheet last weekend to help Penn State sweep the weekend against Niagara.

– Andre Lee’s holiday vacation came back from holiday break to pick up a goal and assist against Merrimack.

– Los Angeles loaned Markus Phillips back to Guelph. With the OHL deadline set for January 9 (overage players) and January 10 (all other players), the Storm found themselves a late Christmas present. It is expected he will be moved.

– And a few final notes on the WJC:

NUMBERS

Braden Doyle: Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL (6th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 6 goals, 15 assists, plus-11, 4 PIM in 27 games played

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
WJC: 0 goals, 2 assists, plus-0, 2 PIM in 7 games played

Dávid Hrenák: Goalie, St. Cloud State University Huskies, NCHC (5th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 5-6-4, 3.00 GAA, .890 SV%, 0 SO in 17 games played

Cole Hults: Defense, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten (5th round pick in 2017)
Regular season: 4 goals, 14 assists, plus-15, 16 PIM in 21 games played

Arthur Kaliyev: Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 31 goals, 31 assists, plus-2, 20 PIM in 33 games played
WJC: 4 goals, 2 assists, plus-4, 4 PIM in 5 games played

Andre Lee: Forward, UMass-Lowell River Hawks, Hockey East (7th round pick in 2019)
Regular Season: 5 goals, 9 assists, plus-7, 12 PIM in 18 games played

Jacob Moverare: Defense, Frölunda HC, SHL (4th round pick in 2016)
Regular season: 5 goals, 7 assists, plus-14, 8 PIM in 29 games played (SHL)
0 goals, 5 assists, minus-1, 4 PIM in 10 games played (CHL)

Kim Nousiainen: Defense, KalPa, Liiga (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 2 goals, 5 assists, minus-5, 24 PIM in 30 games played
WJC: 1 goal, 3 assists, plus-2, 4 PIM in 7 games played

Lukas Parik: Goalie, Spokane Chiefs, WHL (3rd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 9-2-2, 2.59 GAA, .914 SV%, 0 SO in 13 games played
WJC: 0-2-0, 6.17, .846 SV%, 0 SO in 2 games played

Bulat Shafigullin: Forward, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, KHL (3rd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 9 goals, 7 assists, plus-7, 10 PIM in 12 games played (MHL)
0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1, 0 PIM in 2 games played (KHL)

Jordan Spence: Defense, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 3 goals, 24 assists, plus-21, 18 PIM in 34 games played

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
WJC: 0 goals, 2 assists, minus-1, 6 PIM in 5 games played

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.

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