With our Round 1 prediction article now posted, it’s time to dive into the really deep water.
And as one NHL executive mentioned to me this morning, if you can correctly predict who will still be available in the middle of the second round, you can have my job. One after another, scouts and people in management roles across the league are saying they’ve never seen a Draft as wide open as this. Seasoned pros who can usually peg within about five spots where players will be selected throughout the second round are saying they can see Player X go anywhere from 35-55. Day 2 of the Draft is shaping up be chaotic, to say the least.
Even so, we feel we’ve done enough homework to provide some solid candidates from which the Kings will most likely be selecting with their second round pick.
WHAT THE KINGS HAVE TO WORK WITH IN ROUNDS 2-7
Round 2 – No. 49 (from STL via BUF and VGK for Martinez)
Round 3 – No. 72
Round 3 – No. 89 (from TOR for Clifford and Campbell)
Round 4 – No. 109 (from CGY for Forbort)
Round 5 – No. 136
Round 6 – No. 168
Round 7 – N/A
Now, it’s important to note, there is no better than a 50% chance the Kings stay at No. 49. Their only ‘extra’ selection in this year’s Draft comes in the third round, as they’ve already dealt away two of the additional picks they started out with — a fourth round pick for Brendan Lemieux and a second round pick as a part of a package for Viktor Arvidsson. That likely won’t stop Mark Yannetti, Kings Director of Amateur Scouting, from trying to move up closer to the top of the second round. Much like Friday’s first round, though, LA’s potential trading partners could be limited. If they move out of 49, LA would likely need to get up to about 38 or higher to get enough value for the tax they’d have to pay another team.
The Kings traded their 2021 seventh round pick to Carolina last year to move up and select Ben Meehan at the 2020 NHL Draft. We’re told there are no plans to make a deal this year that would have the Kings acquire a replacement seventh round pick.
LA KINGS ROUND 2 PREDICTIONS
In last year’s Draft Predictions article, we were able to provide a small handful of names for a pair of picks the Kings were scheduled to make in the second round:
At 35, we believe there are two defensemen the Kings are targeting and we think it comes from this list: Schneider (likely gone at 35, but they love him), Eemil Viro, Ryan O’Rourke, Eamon Powell, and Helge Grans. meanwhile, Brock Faber, Shakir Mukhamadullin, and Topi Niemela are the names to keep an eye on at No. 51.
Unfortunately, it’s far more complicated this time around.
Fear not, though. We have a collection of the most likely names LA will be honing in on during Saturday’s second round:
(players are listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking)
Tristan Broz: Center, 6-foot, 178 lbs., right shot (Fargo, USHL) – There’s a good chance he’s gone before 49, but he’s in the mix. Broz is a highly intelligent and skilled winger, who was Fargo’s top scorer and helped lead them to the USHL Clark Cup Final. He’s able to play with speed and make plays in complex situations. He’s also a very intelligent player and he’s rock solid on the penalty kill. Broz wore a letter on a veteran Fargo team in 2021, while showing off a nice mix of shooting ability, size, and soft hands. Next up, he’s headed to the University of Minnesota, where he’ll join KOTP favorite Brock Faber. He’s also joining Faber at the upcoming USA World Junior evaluation camp.
Daniil Chayka: Defenseman, 6-foot-3, 187 lbs., left shot (CSKA Moscow, KHL) – Originally born in Russia, he moved to North America for the 2017-18 AAA hockey season. He was then drafted by OHL Guelph in 2018, and played two seasons for the Storm (former junior hockey home to Brown and Doughty), amassing 48 points (16 G, 32 A) in 112 games. He headed back home to play in the KHL due to the pandemic and ended up as teammates with former Kings prospect Andrei Loktionov on CSKA. He also won the OHL Championship in Guelph with current Kings prospect Sean Durzi. Chayka is big, yet mobile. From the Draft Analyst, “He’s maturing to the point where his quick feet, long reach, and strong upper body are used in concert to eliminate puck carriers before they enter the zone.” Chayka would most likely be a third round option for LA, but we wouldn’t be surprised if they selected him at 49. Former teammates quickly praised him when we were doing our research on him, noting that he’s very team-oriented, never complains, and is willing do whatever it takes to win.
Nikita Chibrikov: Right Wing, 5-foot-10, 170 lbs., left shot (St. Petersburg SKA, KHL) – Scouts say he’s very smart, a good skater, and a really versatile offensive player. He’s already been playing against men in the KHL too. If they pass on him at 49, and he’s still there at pick 72, there is an extremely high likelihood he will be selected by LA at that point. On SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL, Chibrikov played with former Kings players/draft picks Linden Vey, Oscar Fantenberg, Vlad Tkachyov (who LA recently signed out of Russia). He was the fourth leading scorer in the U-18s with 13 points (4 G, 9 A). And he was the leading scorer in the U-18s from this Draft class. The only three who scored more than him were phenoms Michkov, Bedard, and Wright. Chibrikov scored 9 points (3 G, 6 A) in 11 MHL games (essentially, Russian juniors). By comparison, Shafigullin scored 22 points in 16 MHL games as a 21-year-old. Chibrikov is only 18.
Samuel Helenius: Center, 6-foot-6, 217 lbs., left shot (JYP, Finland) – If he falls out of the late first round, LA will most likely push hard to trade up and grab him early in the second round. It’s doubtful he makes it to 49. Helenius has been invited to Finland’s World Junior evaluation camp this summer. From the Draft Analyst, “A towering center with NHL bloodlines who plays a tough 200-foot game, Helenius can intimidate with his size and his punishing physicality. Helenius is a throwback who probably would have excelled in either the run-and-gun 1980’s or the Dead Puck Era that followed soon after.” He’s the son of former NHLer Sami Helenius and has played alongside Kings prospect Kasper Simontaival with Team Finland.
Scott Morrow: Defenseman, 6-foot-2, 195 lbs., right shot (Fargo, USHL)- A highly talented, offensive-minded defenseman. He opted to stay at Shattuck this year, and then played for Fargo in the USHL playoffs, making a smooth transition. He’s a highly aggressive player with the puck on his stick. Scouts tell us he rates among the top guys in this Draft class in that area. Morrow’s game without the puck needs some work, which isn’t all that uncommon at his age. His skating is impressive, though. He was originally committed to college hockey powerhouse North Dakota, but switched to U-Mass, the 2021 NCAA champions. Talent isn’t the issue here, it’s more about his lack of experience against top level talent at this point – especially, defensively speaking. He’s more likely a third round consideration when all is said and done. One thing is for sure, Team USA likes him, as he’s been invited to their WJC summer evaluation camp. Morrow recorded 48 points in 30 games this season, putting him third overall in scoring at the high school level. Impressive for a D-man; though, as noted above, it’s a much weaker level of competition.
Simon Robertsson: Right Wing, 6-foot, 190 lbs., left shot (Skelleftea, Sweden) – Yet another in a long line of Swedish defenseman in recent years. At the moment, Olausson is with Team Sweden at their WJC summer evaluation camp. He’s also one of several European players Kings scout Christian Ruuttu would have likely seen in heavy rotation over the past 18 months. Robertsson is a reliable two-way winger who has the ability to score, and he cleans up after the mistakes of others. Robertsson tied for fourth on Team Sweden in U-18 scoring with 4 points (3 G, 1 A). He also played alongside former Kings prospect Oscar Moller on Skelleftea.
Logan Stankhoven: Center, 5-foot-8, 170 lbs., right shot (Kamloops, WHL) – Don’t be surprised if the Ducks draft him before LA gets to him on their board. All we hear about this kid is how hard he works and competes. Coaches and teammates love him. Won a gold medal while wearing a letter for Canada at the recent U-18 WJC.
Samu Tuomaala: Right Wing, 5-foot-10, 179 lbs., right shot (Karpat, Finland) – He was invited to attend Finland’s WJC evaluation camp this summer, along with several of the Kings prospects. Scouts tell us he’s a smallish player with skating ability and carries a really heavy shot for his size. He’s slightly one-dimensional at this point, and that’s partly what’s holding him back. We’ll say he’s sort of a tweener; he could get some consideration at 49, but we see him more likely as a third round pick if LA was to take him. Tuomaala led Finland’s 2021 U-18 team in scoring with 11 points (5 G, 6 A). He’s part of the same Karpat system where Rasmus Kupari was developed. He was selected by the Sudbury Wolves (Byfield’s junior team) in the 2020 CHL Import Draft. He was also teammates with Kings prospect Kaspar Simontaival on Finland’s 2019-20 U-18 team.
LA KINGS ROUND 3 CANDIDATES
With two selections in Round 3 as they enter Saturday’s festivities, LA has several different options for how to approach things. They could package some picks and trade up or opt to just take a trio of players over the second and third rounds. Below are 15 names the Kings are likely giving heavy consideration to spread over their pair of RD3 picks:
(players are listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking)
Sean Behrens: Defenseman, 5-foot-10, 177 lbs., left shot (USA U-18, NTDP) – One of many players in this article who played for Reign coach John Wroblewski when he was with the U.S. program. Behrens was often paired with Luke Hughes last season. Looking ahead, he’s committed to Denver University. Currently, he’s with Team USA at their WFC summer evaluation camp.
Shai Buium: Defenseman, 6-foot-3, 209 lbs., left shot (Sioux City, USHL) – He’s from San Diego and eventually moved to Los Angeles to play for the Jr. Kings. Be prepared to hear that over and over. He’s headed to the University of Denver when summer is over. Buium is said to have a strong hockey IQ and makes a good first pass.
Josh Doan: Right Wing, 6-foot-1, 183 lbs., right shot (Chicago, USHL) – He’s a second-year draft eligible, as he was making his transition to the USHL a year ago (and it’s not uncommon to have a better second season). He’s a big center / wing with a very good skill set and shoots the puck well. Scouts tell us his skating has really taken a step forward, as he is just starting to grow into his body and gain strength. Has solid depth to his game and was an effective guy defensively and on the penalty kill. He’s one of those high-character players. as you would expect with a dad like Arizona Coyotes legend Shane Doan. We hear another team is likely to grab him in the second round, so the Kings many never even get to him. Doan is a bit of a late bloomer and he’s heading to D-1 Arizona State next season.
Jayden Grubbe: Center, 6-foot-2, 200 lbs., right shot (Red Deer, WHL) – More likely in consideration with the late third round pick, provided they don’t use it to trade up somewhere else.
Brett Harrison: Center, 6-foot-2, 188 lbs., left shot (Oshawa, OHL) – Will likely receive strong consideration for one of the two RD3 picks.
Aleksei Heimosalmi: Defenseman, 5-foot-11, 168 lbs., right shot (Assat, Finland) – Led all defensemen on Team Finland at the U-18 WJC with 8 points (2 G, 6 A) in 7 games. Further, no other defenseman from any other country recorded more points in the tournament.
Brent Johnson: Defenseman, 5-foot-11, 161 lbs., right shot (Sioux City, USHL) – An offensive-minded defenseman. Scouts say he plays a skating based game, with an ability to elude and separate in order to advance pucks. “He’s a competitive kid, highly talented offensively, particularly on the power play where he has the skill level and creativity needed in order to produce there,” one scout noted to us. Johnson has good O-zone instincts, jumping into the rush and attacking. Defensively, he competes, but his game without the puck is going to need work. He’s headed to a great development situation at North Dakota next season. The question is, will another team call his name before the Kings can get to him on their list?
Mathew Knies: Left Wing, 6-foot-3, 210 lbs., left shot (Tri-City, USHL) – Attending Team USA WJC evaluation camp this summer. He’s a wide-body, power winger with a very good skill set, pro level release and shot. Scouts rave about him being highly competitive in the offensive end of the ice. He had a bit of a strange year; very poor first half (COVID / sick), but was a top player in the league during the second half. His skating is strong and powerful. Knies plays in high traffic areas. He doesn’t make a lot of plays, but is still a solid 200 ft player. He carries dual citizenship for the USA and Slovakia. Committed to University of Minnesota, where he would be teammates with Kings prospect Brock Faber
Ayrton Martino: Left Wing, 5-foot-11, 160 lbs., left shot (Omaha, USHL) – Committed to Clarkson University next year. The college home of Willie Mitchell (who was a fantastic guest recently on Kings Of The Podcast, hope you heard that episode) and longtime Kings fan favorite Dave Taylor. He played in the OJHL, then USHL to keep his NCAA eligibility active. He led the team in scoring even though he played 14 fewer games than the second leading scorer.
Jack Peart: Defenseman, 5-foot-11, 186 lbs., left shot (Fargo, USHL) – Not likely he’s still there in the third round, but if he is, LA should be interested. Peart won Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey Award as the state’s outstanding hockey player, then moved on to the USHL and became Fargo’s top defenseman. He’s on Team USA’s radar for the upcoming World Junior Championship, as he’s been invited to their summer evaluation camp.
Guillaume Richard: Defenseman, 6-foot-2, 170 lbs., left shot (Tri-City, USHL) – A puck-mover, tall and skinny. Very physically underdeveloped and somewhat weak at the moment; should improve as he adds mass. His skating is very good. Richard has the ability to use his quickness to escape and make plays. Scouts note he’s a smart player that uses skating and his stick to defend, as opposed to physicality. He’ll be headed to Providence next season. Will take time, but might be more offensive as he gains strength. Richard is Canada-born; was drafted twice in the QMJHL Entry draft, but opted to play in the USHL to maintain NCAA eligibility. He tied for +/- lead in U-18 WJC with a plus-14. Didn’t register a single point, yet won gold with Team Canada.
Samu Salminen: Center, 6-foot-2, 182 lbs., left shot (Jokerit Jr., Finland) – Per the Draft Analyst, “Salminen is a sturdy pivot whose goal scoring ability appears more translatable than anything else, which makes him closer in upside to the higher-rated Aatu Raty than initially anticipated.”
William Stromgren: Left Wing, 6-foot-3, 175 lbs., left shot (Rogle Jr., Sweden) – He could go anywhere from 35-65 according to some of the people we spoke with in the days leading up the Draft. Assuming he falls to the third round, LA would be expected to take a look. Curiously, Team Sweden didn’t seem to want to bring him to the World Championships or U18s. He was the last guy taken. His size will provide him an opportunity to prove his doubters wrong in the years to come.
Stanislav Svozil: Defenseman, 6-foot-1, 182 lbs., left shot (Brno, CzRep) – Don’t sleep on this player. He was the Czech Extraliga Rookie Of The Year in the 2019-20 season and one of the very few players who participated in both the 2021 U-20 and U-18 WJC this past year.
Ryan Winterton: Center, 6-foot-2, 175 lbs., right shot (Hamilton, OHL)
Olen Zellweger: Defenseman, 5-foot-9, 175 lbs., left shot (Everett, WHL) – He’s “one helluva player,” as an NHL scout put it to us recently. Although we don’t expect the Kings to draft many small defenseman in the first three rounds, Zellweger would be an ultra rare exception. In a fun trivia note, he took Brandt Clarke’s spot on Canada’s top defensive unit. Clark, of course, was just drafted in the first round by LA on Friday night. While his size will be seen as an issue by some, he makes up for it with his skating and compete. He tied for the overall lead in U-18 WJC scoring among defensemen with 8 points, en route to earning a gold medal.
LA KINGS ROUND 4 CANDIDATES
(players are listed in alphabetical order, not by ranking)
Ethan Cardwell: Right Wing, 5-foot-11, 193 lbs., left shot (Barrie, OHL) – Good player, he might go before LA gets to him on their list. This is his D+1 season. He played in Sweden while the OHL was shutdown in 2021, where he suited up for Surahammars IF in the HockeyEttan league
Ethan Del Mastro: Defenseman, 6-foot-4, 210 lbs., left shot (Mississauga, OHL)
Dylan Duke: Left Wing, 5-foot-10, 175 lbs., left shot (USA U-18, NTDP) – Was coached by John Wroblewski during the 2019-20 season. At the recent U-18 WJC, he was a Top 3 player on Team USA. He’s also been invited to their WJC summer evaluation camp this summer. Scouts describe him as an undersized, skilled winger with high compete and hockey sense. They note his skating is average, especially for his size, but he makes up for it with determination and intangibles. Despite being on the weaker side physically, he has a huge history of scoring and is headed to a loaded Michigan team. There seems to be a wide variance on him from team to team regarding where he’ll be selected.
Aidan Hreschuk: Defenseman, 5-foot-11, 188 lbs., left shot (USA U-18 NTDP) – Another California kid — from Long Beach — and another player who was coached by John Wroblewski at the U.S. National Training and Development Program. Scouts tell us he plays a very efficient game, has strong skating and a skill set worth exploring. He skated top-4 minutes with the NTDP and played in all situations. Everything about his game is very good, yet he lacks having that one thing he does that is elite. He’s a solid player and is headed to Boston College after first attending Team USA’s World Junior summer evaluation camp. We have a full scouting report up on him here.
Ryder Korczak: Center, 5-foot-11, 174 lbs., right shot (Moose Jaw, WHL) – His brother went through the draft two years ago as a big, punishing defenseman. Ryder is more of a skill-based forward. He can impact the game in all three zones.
Anton Olsson: Defenseman, 6-foot, 198 lbs., left shot (Malmo, Sweden)
Justin Robidas: Center, 5-foot-8, 173 lbs., right shot (Val-d’or, QMJHL)
Conner Roulette: Left Wing, 5-foot-11, 180 lbs., left shot (Seattle, WHL) – Winger with a skill-based game, played a different role at the Worlds than he does in the WHL, Scouts say he comes with a very good skill set, release and quick hands, along with a stick that allows him to have success in tough areas. He competes hard in the tougher areas of ice and brings plenty of energy every night. At this time, his skating is said to be average. This past season, he had over a point-per-game scoring pace in an abbreviated WHL season and won gold at the 2021 U-18 with Canada.
Cameron Whynot: Defenseman, 6-foot-1, 180 lbs., left shot (Halifax, QMJHL)
LA KINGS PREDICTIONS: GOALTENDERS
Hearing the Kings were calling anybody and everybody trying to find a team to hook up with when Wallstedt fell much lower than everybody expected. In the end, they couldn't find a dance partner before Minnesota took him.
— The Mayor | John Hoven (@mayorNHL) July 24, 2021
When Jasper Wallstedt fell down the board on Friday night, LA tried to jump up and get him. In the end, Minnesota snatched him first. Now, LA will revert back to their original plan which is to possibly add a young netminder on Saturday, preferably between Rounds 4 and 5. As we understand things, if there is an early run on goalies, they could potentially use their second RD3 pick to grab one of the first three players listed below. We’re told it’s just as likely they don’t come away with a goalie this year because there is such a small handful they’re interested in and they all might be gone too early. NOTE: In this section, players are listed in ranked order, not alphabetically.
Patrik Hamrla: 6-foot-3, 194 lbs. (Karlovy Vary, CzRep) — This is one of the key netminders to look out for when LA is on the clock.
Some great highlights on Czech goalie Patrik Hamrla, the 3rd ranked European goalie on the NHL Central Scouting List. Patrik is heading to @oceanicrimouski for 2021-22. #2021NHLDraft https://t.co/ZmwDVmwwS2
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) July 21, 2021
Benjamin Gaudreau: 6-foot-2, 175 lbs. (Sarnia, OHL)
Tristian Lennox: 6-foot-4, 190 lbs. (Saginaw, OHL)
Aleksei Kolosov: 6-foot-1, 185 lbs. (Minsk, Russia)
Thomas Milic: 6-foot, 170 lbs. (Seattle, WHL)
Other possible considerations for RD 5 or later, if the Kings haven’t taken a goalie yet:
Aku Koskenvuo (Finland) and Carl Lindbom (Sweden)
If you missed our Round 1 Predictions article, it’s linked below for easy reference.
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