Welcome back, Kings fans, to another season of prospect coverage here on Mayor’s Manor. As summer begins to wrap up, Kings prospects everywhere are right around the corner from the start of their 2022-2023 seasons. This first tracker of the season will introduce and reintroduce you to each of the Kings prospects playing for the Ontario Reign.
ONTARIO REIGN (AHL)
Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Center (41st overall in 2017)
Storyline to follow: The third leading scorer on the Reign with 47 points, JAD will look to capitalize on his strong AHL play and finally break through with the Kings. As reported earlier, there are only a few forward spots up for grabs and JAD would have to go on waivers if sent down.
Lias Andersson, Center (7th overall in 2017, acquired via trade with NYR)
Storyline to follow: The 23-year-old Swede spent a good chunk of the season injured and never found a secure spot with a crowded Kings forward group, playing only 20 games with them. Andersson is one of a few that brings a highly physical and highly skilled combination of hockey to the Kings prospect pool and his dominance in the AHL saw that he was re-signed for another year. Andersson would have to go on waivers if sent down to the Reign.
Martin Chromiak, Left Wing (128th overall in 2020)
Storyline to follow: A pure offensive talent, the Slovakian lit up the OHL with 44 goals and 42 assists last season. This season, he will join the Reign as a full-time player for his first season of professional hockey in North America. However, this will be the third season of professional hockey for the 20-year-old, as he spent two seasons with HK Dukla Trencin of the Slovak Extraliga.
Aiden Dudas, Center (113th overall in 2018)
Storyline to follow: Dudas is a player that flies under the radar on most teams but has been a valuable player on every squad he has played for, including a gold medal-winning Canadian World Junior team. A smart penalty killer and an underrated shooter who has provided scoring from the Reign’s bottom six. The most valuable asset he brings to the team is his ability to put the Reign on the powerplay with the penalties he draws. He may not wear a letter this season, but he will be a leader and role player on the team regardless.
Samuel Fagemo, Left/Right Wing (50th overall in 2019)
Storyline to follow: Lack of spots with the Kings means Fagemo will likely remain in the AHL to start the season. Martin Frk’s departure from the Reign gives the 22-year-old the chance to become the go-to scorer and leader for the young Ontario Reign squad.
Samuel Helenius, Center (59th overall in 2021)
Storyline to follow: The massive Finn transitioned to North America last season, appearing in 12 games for the Reign after spending the majority of the season as the third-line center for JYP(Ligga). He will likely play in the Reign’s bottom-six alongside the equally large Andre Lee.
Rasmus Kupari, Center (20th overall in 2018)
Storyline to follow: Last season, the Kings felt that of their forward prospects, Kupari (57 games played) alongside Arthur Kaliyev (80 games played) were the two most ready to stick around in the NHL. However, Kupari may have to start his season in the AHL due to the waiver situation with JAD, Andersson, and Vilardi. If he doesn’t make the Kings out of camp, he will likely play as the Reign’s number-one center, a role he already has experience in.
Andre Lee, LW/C (188th overall in 2019)
Storyline to follow: Before turning pro and playing 11 games with the Reign, Lee was a key offensive contributor for a good UMass-Lowell River Hawks team, co-leading the way with 28 points. With quick feet for a big guy, Lee has the potential to provide some of the scoring from the Reign’s bottom-six.
Tyler Madden, Center (68th overall in 2018, acquired via trade with VAN)
Storyline to follow: Last season, Madden provided decent but streaky secondary scoring for the Reign with 31 points in 48 games after having lost nearly a full season of development to a concussion sustained from an illegal blindside hit in the 2020-2021 season. With several departures in the Reign’s top-six, look for him to play a more prominent role this season.
Akil Thomas, Center (51st overall in 2018)
Storyline to follow: Thomas had a forgettable season after scoring only half the points he had in the same amount of games he had in his rookie season with the Reign. With double shoulder surgery the likely culprit, he may be due for a massive rebound this season after being fully healed. Look for him to be a part of the Reign’s leadership group this season.
Alex Turcotte, Center (5th overall in 2019)
Storyline to follow: Turcotte’s health is the biggest concern involved with his season. Unfortunately, multiple injuries have derailed his last couple of seasons and may delay his start to this season. When not injured, the puck can usually be found hemmed up in the other team’s end of the rink when Turcotte is on the ice, which is not a stat that shows up on the score sheet.
Taylor Ward, Right Wing (FA signing in 2022)
Storyline to follow: Ward’s signing late last season as a college free agent out of the Univ. of Nebraska-Omaha barely had time to fly under the radar before he quickly became an impact player for the Reign, scoring 10 points in 16 games. Already impressing at this year’s prospect tournament in San Jose, Ward could be due for a big season as a feature in the Reign’s top-six that sees him climb the Kings prospect rankings.
Helge Grans, RH Defenseman (35th overall in 2020)
Storyline to follow: After a rocky draft plus-one season with the Malmö Redhawks, Grans impressed Kings management and fans in his first season on North American ice with the Reign. The 6’3 blueliner has an excellent breakout pass that often springs offensive rushes and has a shot that has to be considered by opposing goaltenders. With only Jordan Spence in front of him, he will quarterback the second powerplay unit and slot in as the Reign’s number three/four defenseman to start the season.
Jacob Moverare, LH Defenseman (112th overall in 2016)
Storyline to follow: Named the Reign’s most valuable defenseman in 2021, the Swede continued to provide sound defense for the Reign and made his debut with the Kings, not looking out of place in any of the 19 games he filled in for. Moverare carries a lot of value as a defense-first blueliner who makes smart plays at both ends of the ice, something other teams may find tantalizing as he would have to be placed on waivers if he is not a part of the Kings opening roster. If not the Kings seventh defenseman, he would certainly be a part of the Reign’s top-four if not claimed on waivers.
Kim Nousiainen, LH Defenseman (119th overall in 2019)
Storyline to follow: The Finn made his debut for the Reign after wrapping up an injury-riddled season with KalPa. He comes to the Reign with an impressive resume. Not only serving as KalPa’s main powerplay quarterback for the last three seasons, but he was also the youngest player on Finland’s 2021 silver medal-winning World Championship team. He may not start in the Reign’s top-four, but he gives the Reign a dangerous weapon to use to the left of either Spence or Grans on the powerplay.
Jordan Spence, RH Defenseman (95th overall in 2019)
Storyline to follow: After starting the season as a scratch, the first-year pro absolutely ran away with the opportunity given to him once Sean Durzi was called up. He led all rookie defensemen in the AHL with 42 points in 46 games and was named an AHL First Team All-Star. His play earned him a spot on Kings, scoring two goals and six assists in 24 games as well as appearing in three games in the playoff series against Edmonton. Success and accolades have followed the 21-year-old every step of his career and starting the season as the Reign’s number-one defenseman will give the second year-pro the opportunity to add to his impressive resume, including more NHL playing time.
Matt Villalta, Goalie (72nd overall in 2017)
Storyline to follow: Villalta made big strides last season, improving his numbers and winning 28 games as the Reign’s starting goalie. However, the netminder also had a far better team in front of him and allowed the occasional weak goal. Consistency will be an area he will be looking to improve this season.
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