Earlier this season, we reported that Kings prospect Alex Laferriere would be turning pro following the completion of his season at Harvard. On Sunday, that plan was confirmed, as the 21-year-old forward agreed to a three-year entry level contract with Los Angeles.
Look for an official announcement soon — LA Kings prospect Alex Laferriere has agreed to an NHL Entry Level Contract. He's turning pro and leaving Harvard, as we reported several months ago. https://t.co/84r348JGTi
— The Mayor | Team MM (@mayorNHL) March 27, 2023
Now begins the fun part of explaining what’s about to happen next… and why.
From what we understand, Laferriere will be signing an Amateur Tryout contract (ATO) and report to AHL Ontario this week. The Reign have eight regular season games remaining on their schedule, including the next three at home – beginning Wednesday. Laferriere is expected to play in about five of them. Then, he will report to the Kings for their final two games of the regular season, Mon. Apr. 10 vs. Vancouver and Thurs. Apr. 13 at Anaheim. He most likely won’t play in either game. However, by activating his NHL contract for the 2022-23 season, it will ‘burn a year’ off the deal. Meaning, he will have two full seasons left on his contract starting with the 2023-24 campaign.
Update — Hearing Laferriere is expected to join the Ontario Reign for practice on Thursday. So, his debut will be no earlier than Friday.
Reign are home Friday night vs Coachella Valley and Sunday afternoon vs. Colorado.
Some may be confused at this point, trying to connect the dots back to Brandt Clarke, and asking how Laferriere will use up a full year of his contract without playing the often-referred to 10 NHL games. The simple answer is, it’s an age thing. Younger players can have their contract ‘slide’ if they don’t play the 10 games. In the case of Clarke, he signed his ELC as an 18-year-old in 2021. His three-year deal won’t actually begin until next season because it was allowed to slide (be placed on hold or moved to the next season) due to his age and lack of NHL games played. The situation with Laferriere is completely different. As an older player, he can no longer have his deal slide. Thus, the first season of his contract will be the 2022-23 NHL campaign, even if he doesn’t play a single game.
If that’s all too confusing, just know this — the New Jersey native is leaving Harvard, he’ll join the Reign for a few weeks, then will be assigned to the Kings roster and serve as a Black Ace throughout LA’s post-season run.
For those unfamiliar, Laferriere officially joins the Kings pipeline with plenty of hype. Originally selected by the club in the third round (83rd overall) in 2020, he arrived at Harvard after leading the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL with 50 points (26G, 24A) in 49 games during the 2020-21 season. The fact he was there that year was largely due to the ECAC shutting down that season due to the pandemic. Once at college, Laferriere continued to tear up scoresheets, recording 31 points (14G, 17A) in 35 games and being named ECAC Hockey Rookie of the Year. He improved on that this year with 43 points — including 21 goals — in 34 games. He was also one of Harvard’s nominees for the Hobey Baker Award (recognizing the top college hockey player for the year).
Former Los Angeles scout Tony Gasparini had quite a bit of praise for Laferriere a few months back on Kings Of The Podcast. Hear those comments using the audio player below, beginning around the 52-minute mark:
Circling back to the third round pick used to select Laferriere, it originally belonged to the Toronto Maple Leafs. LA acquired that selection as part of a package (that also included Trevor Moore) in exchange for Kyle Clifford and Jack Campbell.
More College Hockey News
We also reported the Kings plan to sign newly acquired goaltender Erik Portillo once his college season ends at Michigan. One way or another, that conclusion is coming very soon. The Wolverines took down Penn State in overtime on Sunday to advance to the Frozen Four. They’ll now face Quinnipiac on Thurs. April 6. Should they win that game, they’ll advance to the national championship two days later against either Minnesota or Boston.
Originally selected by Buffalo in 2019, the 22-year-old netminder has gone 25-10-2 this season and is just two wins away from going out on top. Look for him to sign a two-year ELC with the Kings in a few weeks and eventually join LA as another Black Ace. He’s expected to play for AHL Ontario next season, his first real year as a pro.
All of this comes fresh on the heels of Kings GM Rob Blake swinging a deal with the Florida Panthers to add a big, left shot defenseman to the organization. More on that below.
Kings Add Big, Left Shot Defenseman via Late Trade with Florida
Details on LA Kings Acquiring Rights to Goalie Erik Portillo
LA Kings Select Alex Laferriere No. 83 – What You Need to Know
Lead photo via Dylan Goodman and Harvard University
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Really stoked to see Blake lock up Laffy. He’s continued to skyrocket up the prospect charts and has a nice combo of scoring touch and snarl.
Joseph Fester says
The future is coming into focus. Feeling good about it!