Draft – plus
No rest for the weary.
After taking care of business in cementing themselves as the NHL‘s premiere club this season, it’s back to just that – business.
Of course, the celebrations continue, Jarret Stoll hosting the Cup in Hermosa Beach today, Dustin Brown in Manhattan Beach.
It’ll certainly be a shortened summer for the Kings. The release of next season’s schedule, which arrived Thursday, is usually a positive glimpse in what is usually a very, very long offseason. This time, it surprises Kings fans before most could even shake off the season that was, coming just 10 days after Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
About that shortened summer, it’ll be less than three months until the Kings are scheduled for another game, their annual split-squad preseason double-header with the Phoenix Coyotes slated for September 24.
Feeling a Draft
Improving the craft: The Kings, who don’t have the most glorious history in churning out talent from their draft selections, actually produced quite the crop to stabilize this year’s Stanley Cup winning roster.
To be exact, there were 12 players on the Kings’ active roster throughout the postseason that were hand-selected by this front office. This is good in itself, but factoring in the transactions Dean Lombardi has pulled the trigger on in the previous six years, it makes it even more impressive.
The Kings had seven selections in this year’s draft, with just one in the first round. The Kings traded their sixth selection (7th Round, Selection 183) to the Dallas Stars. Six new players were added to the organization, here’s how it shaped up:
First Round, 30th Overall
Barrie Colts – Ontario Hockey League
Experience: GOJHL (3) OHL (2)
Pearson is coming off an absolute monster season with the Barrie Colts, leading the club with 91 points in 60 games played, coming in the form of 37 goals and 54 assists. His season was cut short in March with a broken leg. Pearson represented Team Canada in the World Juniors in 2012, chiming in with six points in six games, en route to the Bronze medal.
Fourth Round, 121st Overall
CSKA – Russia
Experience: CSKA (2) CSKA-2 (2)
Fifth Round, 151st Overall
Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Ontario Hockey League
Experience: NOJHL (1) OHL (1)
Sixth Round, 171st Overall
Gatineu Olympiques – Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Experience: CZREP (3) QMJHL (1)
Sixth Round, 181st Overall
Lincoln Stars – United States Hockey League
Experience: NAHL (1)
Seventh Round, 211th Overall
Windsor Spitfires – Ontario Hockey League
Experience: USHL (1) OHL (2)
Simply a Start
It’s only being cordial to introduce the new names and faces that now belong to the Kings franchise, because quite frankly, it’s a good chance this will be the highest moment in the careers of some, if not most of the aforementioned players.
Matt Reitz brings you an honest, personable outlook of the NHL Draft in his most recent write-up with The Hockey Writers. Really, that’s the only needed analysis of the Kings’ selections at the moment.
Hanging around town
Another Round?: As far as roster movement outside of the Draft, the Kings entered the summer with four unrestricted free agents on their hands. Dean Lombardi has slipped Jarret Stoll and Colin Fraser the safety card, locking up both players with contract extensions.
This leaves Dustin Penner and Scott Parse as the only two roster players without a contract heading into next season.
If you consider it possible, Jarret Stoll was a big topic after the Kings’ Stanley Cup victory, clearly the club’s most valuable asset to be hitting the unrestricted free agent market. Stoll, who may be one of the more versatile forwards in the league, reassured the validity of his expansive skill-set during the postseason.
Stoll impressed off of the scoresheet this season, struggling offensively while tying his NHL career-low in points with 21(6 G, 15 A). His play away from being first-hand in goal production is what truly impressed.
Mainly used as a third-line center, Stoll continued his reputation for being a nuisance in the faceoff circle, he was a staple on the penalty kill for high-zone coverage, and an attractive option on the powerplay for high presence along the blue-line.
Presence, for five-tool players like Jarret Stoll, has a bigger underlying impact on a team than point production. Stoll has been resigned for three more years, at $3.25 million per year.
This, a comfortable contract. This, a tradeable contract. Will Stoll actually be in L.A. for three years? That’s a topic for another time.
As for Colin Fraser, he was quite the shocking surprise. Fraser, who came to the Kings in the Ryan Smyth trade, wasn’t even considered a sure bet to make the roster this season, dealt to L.A. while dealing with an ankle injury. However, once Fraser recovered, he became a staple on the Kings’ fourth line, and was a major factor in their heavy presence throughout the playoffs.
Fraser is now inked up for two more years, slated to make $825,000 each year. Call it a steal.