The wait is over, it’s time to pick up where we left off with our annual LA Kings Prospect Rankings.
As you’ll see below, this is an abbreviated version of what you’d normally get in our scouting reports. However, this is a weird time we’re living in and it seems everything is different these days. Our original intention was to produce our typical, detailed scouting reports. In fact, we did all the usual work to not only prepare a Top 10 this season, but a Top 15. The rankings themselves were actually finalized in January and have been slowly (insert your own joke here) released since that time. We’ve been overwhelmed on social media in recent weeks and we get it, you can’t wait any longer. Thus, we’re rolling out an abridged version, released over two final articles.
If you’re new to our rankings, know that you’ve come to the right place. Many view this as the definitive guide to the team’s draft picks and next wave of young players. As in past years, we’ve gone through this process in painstaking detail to ensure these reports are unmatched in quality and content. Quite simply, nobody outside the Kings organization talks to more coaches, scouts, and General Managers about LA’s top prospects on a regular basis than MayorsManor team. Endless hours go into evaluating players and preparing our write-ups – including debating info with a myriad of well-respected hockey people, along with our key sources inside the Kings organization – before the final list is completed.
Below are links to previous articles in the 2020 series, as well as pair of other all new reports.
Goalie Depth Chart for Kings Organization
Honorable Mentions – Mikey Eyssimont, Jacob Moverare, Jordan Spence, and more
2020 LA KINGS MIDSEASON PROSPECT RANKINGS
15. Kim Nousiainen
14. Cole Hults
13. Sean Durzi
12. Aidan Dudas
11. Samuel Fagemo
10. Jaret Anderson-Dolan
9. Akil Thomas
8. Kale Clague
7. Mikey Anderson
6. RASMUS KUPARI: Forward, Ontario Reign (1st round pick in 2018, Finland)
Last Season: 12 goals, 21 assists, plus-13, 65 PIM in 43 games played (Finland)
This Season: 6 goals, 2 assists, minus-8, 9 PIM in 27 games played (AHL)
– Represented Finland in 2020 WJC, but was injured in the first game
– Back-to-back gold medalist, winning in 2019 with the U-20 team and 2018 with the U-18 team
– Also won Silver with the U-18 team in 2017
– Played alongside former Kings player Jussi Jokinen in the 2018-19 season
– Scored first career professional North American goal (and point) in his debut against the San Jose Barracuda, on October 4, 2019
Strengths: Good size, deceptive speed, and a powerful stride. He’s confident and versatile, can play center or wing. Can be ornery at times; when push comes to shove, wants to win and put his stamp on things.
Needs to work on: Making plays and making players around him better. He plays too much of a 1-on-1 game for the North American style of hockey. Needs to work consistently, not necessarily harder. Will benefit from holding on to the puck to make plays, not turning it over.
Ontario Reign roster for next season rounding into form…
FWD – Kupari, Turcotte, Madden, Thomas, Dudas, Fagemo, Eyssimont, etc
DEF – Clague/Björnfot, Durzi, Hults, Phillips, Strand, possibly Nousiainen and/or Moverare
GOAL: Villalta and Ingham https://t.co/q8T4qgHhFQ
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) April 11, 2020
Outlook for 2020-21 season and beyond: He can be viewed as a right wing version of Adrian Kempe. However, Kupari is harder and more individually skilled than Kempe. The timing of his arrival at the NHL level largely depends on two things. One, how quickly can he recover from the knee injury at the WJC? All indications are he’s fine and will be ready to go in the coming months. Second, when will the light bulb go on? The fancy stuff he does on the ice – the stuff that hurts him the most in the AHL, actually hurts him the least in Europe. He is skilled enough to adapt. Once he chooses to, he’ll be in the NHL pretty quickly.
Get to Know the Player: Notes and Quotes from Kupari’s NHL Draft Day [LINK]
5. TYLER MADDEN: Forward, Northeastern Huskies (3rd round pick in 2018, USHL)
Last Season: 12 goals, 16 assists, plus-5, 8 PIM in 36 games played (NCAA)
This Season: 19 goals, 18 assists, plus-4, 34 PIM in 27 games played (NCAA)
– Son of former NHL player John Madden
– Last played February 14, 2020, before sustaining a season-ending injury
– After going scoreless in his first three games this season, he went on to score in 22 of the 24 remaining contests; including 15 points (7G, 8 A) in the final 10 games before his injury
– Fifth overall in points-per-game in the NCAA this season (1.37)
– Won silver for Team USA at the 2019 WJC, alongside fellow Kings prospect Mikey Anderson
Scouting notes on new Kings prospect Tyler Madden:
Strong instincts for game; attack oriented player w/ high level of compete
Very elusive skater, quick, hits holes, makes plays in tight areas
Has all the intangibles to overcome any shortcomings with size (5'11") / strength
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) February 18, 2020
Strengths: Attack player, offense ability, and competitiveness. He brings pucks to hard areas, makes plays in hard areas, is a fantastic playmaker with hockey sense, and primary offensive ability. He just gets it, natural ability to understand the game.
Needs to work on: He’s small, and simply not strong enough at this time. It shows up every once and a while at college but will become a larger issue at the pro level. The usual suspects of strength, power, and size (they’re all married) can be overcome with time. As one scout put it, “Take all of his positives and when he is around pro players, he’ll work to fix these things.”
Outlook for 2020-21 season and beyond: Madden turned pro because he’s ready for the next challenge. His strengths are why the Kings were so intent on trading for him. They’ll need to be patient, though, as he’ll need time to fill out and gain strength. This will most likely include at least two years in the American League.
Get to Know the Player: We don’t have anything here yet. Hey, Madden, call me. [LINK TBD]
4. ARTHUR KALIYEV: Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs (2nd round pick in 2019, OHL)
Last Season: 51 goals, 51 assists, minus-13, 22 PIM in 67 games played (OHL)
This Season: 44 goals, 54 assists, minus-7, 28 PIM in 57 games played (OHL)
– Won the OHL Championship in 2018
– Played alongside fellow Kings prospect Alex Turcotte with Team USA at the WJC
– Surpassed Hamilton’s franchise record in points (248) and goals (126), despite playing 68 fewer games than the next player on the list
– Second in the OHL in shots on goal (288)
– With the season ending early, he finished fifth overall in league scoring
– 10th overall in primary points (goals and primary assists)-per-game out of the 16 leagues surveyed by pick224.com
Strengths: Scores from anywhere, underrated passer, playmaking ability is really good.
Needs to work on: Skating (i.e. first three steps and lacks an explosive step) and defense. He has to play hard and compete on every shift. Think pace and quick sprints when you’re playing for Todd McLellan.
There's no easy way to pivot off the Stutts new this morning, so apologies in advance…
Some other Kings news:
Look for an Arthur Kaliyev ELC to be announced early next week. #ArtyParty
Also look for some Jordan Spence news soon too. Read up here https://t.co/Dn1oT2IAUa
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) May 30, 2020
Great article on prospect rules: https://t.co/nKnzZ4Fwup
In general, Kaliyev ineligible for AHL next season. It's either OHL or NHL. Most likely will get a few games in Oct, then head back to OHL for one more yr. Don't count him out though. Another big summer, he could surprise. https://t.co/lc50OjBf0Z
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) April 19, 2020
One additional note on Kaliyev — and this has less to do w/him, more to do with the full picture.
It's easy to say things like "Play the kids" and "He's too good for the OHL"… without context.
If you're insistent that he's in NHL next season, give me the Kings 14 forwards… https://t.co/fG9IOFuUJd
— John Hoven | The Mayor (@mayorNHL) April 19, 2020
Outlook for 2020-21 season and beyond: Get in early because the Arty Party is about to become the hottest thing going in LA. We’ve documented this numerous times – and discussed it at length on Kings of the Podcast – Kaliyev can’t play in the AHL next season. Due to age rules, he will be in the NHL or OHL next year. There is a scenario where he could play nine games with the Kings over the first 20 games or so (and by not playing the 10th game he doesn’t burn the first year of his contract), then he goes to Team USA camp in early December, followed by playing in the WJC… which would put off any real decision about NHL vs. OHL until January. That’s well down the road, though. For now, he has a huge summer ahead and needs to impress in training camp. Then we can continue this discussion.
Get to Know the Player: Nelson Emerson on Kaliyev [LINK]
Only one more article to go. Who will land in the coveted No. 1 spot?
You’ll find out in less than 24 hours.
Kings Goalies Stauber and Petersen Reunited at 2020 AHL All Star Classic
WJC Post-Mortem: Emerson Talks Fagemo, Bjornfot, and Other European Prospects
Note to webmasters/reporters: When recapping news or interviews from this site please remember to include a link to www.MayorsManor.com
Matt Johnson says
I especially enjoy your insight and analysis on the prospects. I was going to respond to Kaliyev theory you purported and was wondering your thoughts on if Blake could include any of these prospects or current players being traded during the draft? Either to move up or to reduce the crowd at Ontario. I think they have better younger players than Luff, Amadio, and Lizotte or even Kempe.
John Hoven says
No trades are on the horizon. However, speaking generally, yes – I believe the Kings will eventually move a forward to add depth on defense. They’re still lacking a high-end guy on the blueline… and the Draft isn’t deep there this year. When will a trade like that happen? Most likely next summer at the earliest.
With all this intriguing talent coming in to Ontario, it should be noted that the org has an overflow of centers (perhaps not a bad problem to have), and a preponderance
It would seem apparent that some of these guys, to get their icetime, will need to play on the wing,
and perhaps even the off-wing side.
After watching a lot of highlights of these players, the two guys who seem most likely to
be moved to the wing,IMO, would be Tyler Madden and (current #9 prospect) Akil Thomas.
I say that because BOTH players, IMHO, have underrated shots, and more finishing ability than
many fans may realize. Madden scores from both sides comfortably, and has one of those little, unspectacular-looking shots (in terms of power), but it is quick and accurate, and timed with an instinctiveness that cannot be taught. He looks like a natural scorer to me. Also, Madden’s lack of weight/mass may limit his ability to play at Center, where open-ice physical confrontations (“strength against strength”) are more common than on the wing, where a quick player like Madden can use the boards to his advantage, as a number of good, small NHL players are able to do (cases-in-point, Alex Iafallo, Blake Lizotte).
He scores a lot from the left side, so Madden might even play at LW, or at least be tried there.
Akil Thomas, although he is known as a puck-carrier-playmaker-type, also possesses
both a fast-release wrister AND snap shot that can be lethal from either circle or in-between. IMO, playing on the wing (right side, most likely) would give Akil plenty of opportunities to use those shooting capabilities. He would need adjust to more of a winger’s shooting mentality, ofcourse. But he did play some wing earlier in his junior career, so he does have some familiarity with that position, I believe.
Also, as we saw with his “golden goal” at the WJC, Akil can stickhandle and shoot with great effectiveness from in-tight as well.
I don’t see us moving Turcotte to wing, and Aidan Dudas seems to me to be more of a “pure center” type,
so those 2 seem less-likely to make the move to wing, IMO.
Also, JAD is being groomed to play center, so it seems less likely he would be moved to wing (although I’d like to see him tried at LW, perhaps with Turcotte, just to experiment and see what happens.
Other than Eyysimont, there are no regular LWs for the top 2, or even top 3 lines.
So some position-changes seem inevitable to me, just from looking at the depth chart.
The next AHL season could be a real barn-burner for Ontario, if some of the new guys can adjust to new positions, and the team can employ all this talent effectively with the position adjustments that will be necessary.
John Hoven says
Agree that some of the centers will be moved to wing. This was covered in a few of the write-ups. Kupari and Thomas are two of the more likely candidates at this point. The more immediate decision is on Turcotte/Vilardi. This topic was also covered in-depth on the latest KOTP.
Seems fair to say that with all the young players to develop at Ontario whenever next season arrives, the best litmus test for the new HC and his staff will be how Kupari develops….has a giant toolbox just waiting to be unpacked.