FROM ANDREOFF TO ZYKOV: Your Guide to LA Kings Prospects

Very rarely do I write a post on this site that involves intelligent thoughts, let alone one that has intelligent thoughts about the Kings. Today I will do both, maybe, at least I hope so. When The Royal Half asked his blogger minions to write about training camp, I knew I had to write a little tidbit about our new rookie babies. I’ve never been one for meeting players, or going to practices, but I love watching prospects. Call me a hockey hipster if you will, but I enjoy seeing a player grow up with my team, and being one of the first to see their potential. I’m also probably the most qualified blogger on this site to write this, because I’ve been to TWO rookie events this summer. That’s called dedication, people. I’ve broken down the rookies into two groups: the now, and the future. I will then pick my favorite prospect, and why I like him the best (no guarantee that’s hockey related).

*(No, Brandon Kozun isn’t on the list. I didn’t forget, I’ve just never seen him live. He wasn’t at camp, or the game in Anaheim, sorry guys. Please don’t send me like 700 email/tweets about it either.)

 

THE NOW (OR AT LEAST CLOSE)

 

TYLER TOFFOLI

2010 NHL Draft Portraits

What a stud.

By now, you should all know about Tyler Toffoli, if you don’t then go play in traffic you ruffian. Toffoli is the shit, and his wrist shot is easily the second best on the team. I’ve already grown attached to him, and I will riot like a Lakers fan if he’s traded. I would have genuinely burnt something to the ground if Lombardi traded him for old ass Jerome Iginla last year. I will be shocked if he doesn’t take the second line left wing position this season (Sorry, Matt Frattin). Toffoli is the best talent to come through the Kings pipeline in a while, and this is your chance to hop on the bandwagon now. My only concern is the dreaded “Sophomore Slump” that plagued Clifford, Nolan, King, and more before him. In my opinion, Toffoli is simply too good, and too NHL ready to send him down. He’s making the team, buy your jerseys now people!

 

TANNER PEARSON

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“The Los Angeles Kings are proud to select, from the Whoville Who’s, Tanner Pearson”

Look at that face! Who doesn’t love this kid? Well, apparently everyone because the Kings managed to snap him up at 30th last year, in his second year of draft eligibility. I have  to say that after seeing him at rookie camp earlier this summer, I’m shocked he wasn’t picked up earlier. He has an unbelievable shot, like “holy shit, where did that come from?” kind of shot. I think he missed the net, maybe once all day. So he’s basically the anti-Jarret Stoll, which makes me very happy. If anyone other than Toffoli makes the team, it’s probably going to be Tanner. He looks to be one of most NHL ready out of everyone, don’t be shocked to see him up with the big club a few times this season. He’ll be a regular in a season or two, and I couldn’t be happier about it. He’s one of my favorite prospects, mainly because he makes fun faces like this…

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“Oh, Heeeeyyyy”

I also think his little bromance with Tyler Toffoli is really cute.

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You can never have too much man love on one team.

As far as I’m concerned, these are the only two guys that have a shot to be regulars next season on the team. Everyone else is either a year out, or just a random call-up. If there are injuries, trades, or alien abductions, the next few guys are the ones you may see brought up.

 

THE FUTURE

 

ANDY ANDREOFF

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Expect to see this a lot in the future.

Do you hear that sound? It’s the sound of Kyle Clifford shaking in his skates, because Andreoff has shot to the top of the prospects list this summer. After a pretty awesome showing in the rookie games, don’t be surprised to hear Andy’s name thrown out there a lot now. He’s big, tough, and has a pretty sweet shot. He’s everything Dean Lombardi thinks about while doodling in his notebook during class. If you haven’t heard of him yet, educate yourself. This is your chance to impress your friends, and gain some hockey hipster street cred. I bet he gets called up, and I can guarantee he’ll get in a fight if he does. He’ll be a fan favorite, and don’t be shocked when you throw away your KFC buckets next season. (Seriously though, that thing smells dude. Let it go.)

LINDEN VEY

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Linden is by far the most stylish of the Kings prospects.

Linden Vey is the new Brayden Schenn ™.  There’s been a lot of hype around Vey for a while now, and while I feel he’s going to make the team at some point, I think he’s a least a season away. He’s not a big guy, which isn’t the worst thing on earth, but it’s not a plus on this team (just ask poor Lokti). I think he’ll get a shot, maybe for a little bit this year, but odds are his chance comes next season. I think he has all the tools to make it to the big club, but this season is his time to shine in Manchester. He’ll be “the guy,” and we’ll see how he handles it. I hope he does make it, because man is he rocking the shit out of that handbag!

JORDAN WEAL

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LOOK AT HIS LITTLE FACE!

I hate to be “that person,” but Weal can indeed “wheel”. I’ll show myself out later, but first a few more words. At the rookie game in Anaheim, Jordan could basically skate circles around almost everyone. He still needs some work, but he’s a hell of a lot faster than 90% of the current roster. He’s a bit of a wild card this year for call ups, but I wouldn’t be shocked. He’s a good option if it looks like the Kings need a shot of energy inserted into the line-up. I hope we see more of him, as I was incredibly impressed with him. Given that I had barely heard of him, and I had zero expectations, the fact that he caught my eye enough to make this post says a lot. He seems like he could be a game changer kind of guy, I hope he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

DEREK FORBORT

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I really want someone to explain the jersey/hat choices here.

My first comment about Forbort, is that he’s HUGE. He’s still a little awkward looking out there, but he seems to be pretty confident with the puck. Given our current defenseman situation, I’m confident saying he’s not making the team for a few years. I think he cracks the NHL though, whether it’s with the Kings or not. He’s a really good skater for how giant he is, and seriously he’s giant. If you get a chance to see him play, you’ll pick him out right away. Also, he’s American, and you can never have too many Americans on your team (right, Brian Burke?).

VALENTIN ZYKOV

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Yes, he’s a Russian drafted by the Kings, but it’s not what you think…

I know, I know, another Russian we’ll never see again right? Well, maybe not this time. As we know, the Kings basically shun European players who aren’t either: A. Anze Kopitar, or B. Too good to be ignored *cough* Voynov *cough*. Zykov is a little different though, as in he’s a “Dean Lombardi” player. No, he’s not Russian Trevor Lewis, but he has a lot more grit than I thought. During the rookie game in Anaheim, he sure wasn’t shy about filling in all the cliches like a pro.

1. Went to the dirty areas.

2. Dug the puck out of the corners.

3. Took the body.

So basically what I’m saying is, he’s making the team at some point, because of intangibles.

JF BERUBE

2009 NHL Draft Portraits

What a wonderfully awkward photo, this is going in the archive until he’s the backup.

I decided to pick the one goalie I believe will be our future backup. He seems to be getting ready to make the jump up, and age wise, he’s probably going to replace Scrivens at some point soon. He seems to have great vision, and he squares up well. He’s good, not much else to say here. He’ll be up sooner or later. He’ll get his feet wet in Manchester this year, don’t be surprised by how awesome he is.

MY FAVORITE

MICHAEL MERSCH

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“HEY GURLLLL”

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“HEEEEYYYYY”

He’s probably not making the team, like ever, but he’s sassy and I like it. He also made really funny faces during the whole prospect camp, and it was entertaining. He caught me checking out his booty. Sorry about it. I’ll be happy if he every gets looked at for the team, as he would be my hockey hipster gold medal.

One Girl One Puck is The Royal Half’s resident creeper. Her amazing posts, “Know Your Opponent“, have become a fan “favorite”. If any hockey player did anything stupid at any point of their life, and if someone was kind enough to take a picture, there’s a 100% chance she will put it in a post. She has been a Kings fan for over 15 years, even through the years when Jere Karalahti played “defense”.One Girl One Puck is also the co-founder of the hugely popular Tumblr page "Drew Doughty in Blue Jays Hats." It's exactly what you think it is. If you enjoy pointless posts about hockey players butts, she’s your girl!You can follow One Girl, One Puck on Twitter @OneGirlOnePuck.