My favorite 25 Kings under 25

I was asked to contribute my own list to the Top 25 Under 25 feature now running over at Jewels from the Crown. Every time they post a new name (25, 24, 23…), I have to go check my own list to see what I said about so-and-so. To make that task easier on me — and it’s all about me — I decided I should post the list…you know, so I could find it next time.

I should also mention that there’s something hilarious and self-aggrandizing about anyone (especially bloggers — me, for instance) ranking prospects they/we have seen skate somewhere between a handful of shifts and never. Obviously, there are a few players on this list we’ve seen a ton (Drew Doughty, Slava Voynov, Kyle Clifford, Jake Muzzin). There’s a few we’ve seen a decent amount (Tyler Toffoli), some we might have personally seen skate an hour or two at Toyota Sports Center at various camps (Maxim Kitsyn, etc.), and some for whom entire opinions are based on a highlight reel.

(The “pk.r” column gives the player’s draft pick (overall) and round, separated by a period; enter “.1″ in the search window to see all the first rounders, etc.)


...using my own irrational and indefensible algorithm.

Q rankJftC rankplayerTeam (league)dr (by)pk.rbornHT/WTPOS
1Drew DoughtyKings (NHL)2008 (LAK)2.112/8/8972 / 212@RD
2Slava VoynovKings (NHL)2008 (LAK)32.21/15/9071 / 199@RD
3Tyler ToffoliKings (NHL)2010 (LAK)47.24/24/9273 / 194@RW
4Jake MuzzinKings (NHL)2007 (PIT)141.52/21/8975 / 217@LD
5Kyle CliffordKings (NHL)2009 (LAK)35.21/13/9174 / 208@LW
6Tanner PearsonMonarchs (AHL)2012 (LAK)30.18/10/9272 / 205@LW
7Andy AndreoffMonarchs (AHL)2011 (LAK)80.35/17/9173 / 217@C
818Nikolai ProkhorkinCSKA Moscow (KHL)2012 (LAK)121.49/17/9375 / 190@LW
923Michael MerschWisconsin (NCAA)2011 (LAK)110.410/2/9273 / 215@LW
1022Hudson FaschingMinnesota (NCAA)2013 (LAK)118.47/28/9575 / 189@RW
11Derek ForbortMonarchs (AHL)2010 (LAK)15.13/4/9276 / 218@LD
12Valentin ZykovBaie Comeau (QMJHL)2013 (LAK)37.25/15/9572 / 208@LW
13Oscar MollerSkelleftea AIK (SEL)2007 (LAK)52.21/22/8970 / 183@RW
14Linden VeyMonarchs (AHL)2009 (LAK)96.47/17/9172 / 200@C
15Maxim KitsynMonarchs (AHL)2010 (LAK)158.612/24/9174 / 194@LW
16Jonny BrodzinskiSt. Cloud St. (NCAA)2013 (LAK)148.56/19/9372 / 202@C
1719Nick ShoreMonarchs (AHL)2011 (LAK)82.39/26/9272 / 195@C
1821Tomas HykaGatineau (CHL)2012 (LAK)171.63/23/9371 / 166@RW
19Nick DeslauriersMonarchs (AHL)2009 (LAK)84.32/22/9173 / 230@LD
2120Kevin GravelSt. Cloud St. (NCAA)2010 (LAK)148.53/6/9276 / 200@RD
21Kurtis MacDermidOwen Sound (OHL)undr3/25/9476 / 205@RD
22Justin AugerGuelph (OHL)2013 (LAK)103.45/14/9478 / 216@RW
23Alex RoachCalgary (CHL)undr4/4/9376 / 228@LD
24Martin JonesMonarchs (AHL)undr1/10/9076 / 189@G
25Patrik BartosakRed Deer (WHL)2013 (LAK)146.53/29/9372 / 181@G
Having found it, and tabled it, I’m feeling the urge to justify my selections, if I can even remember what my reasoning was. Which I can’t, really, so I’ll just make up new reasons, if that’s all right.

  • DD — Well, duh.
  • VV — In five years, he might even surpass DD. WHAT??!!
  • TT — Because he has the quickest and sneakiest release I have ever seen up close with my own eyes. And, obviously, because all the best players have repeating initials (DD, VV, TT, etc.?).
  • Muzzin (ZZ?) is 6’3″, gets his shot through like no-one since Kyle Quincey, is mean, hits, has speed, and seems like an excellent candidate to be able to play into his 30s.
  • Kyle Clifford — the Kings have a trove of these guys (Clifford, Andreoff, Pearson, Nolan, King), but Clifford is the most Ian Laperriere of the bunch. Yes, Ian Laperriere is now an adjective.
  • Tanner Pearson — might be better than Clifford. Might not. Close to NHL-ready.
  • Andy Andreoff — (AA?) don’t know why I put him behind Pearson. Could easily flip them. He’s a year older than  Tanner, and a little bigger.
  • Nikolay/Nikolai Prokhorkin — Alex Frolov, except he hits.
  • Michael Mersch — (MM?) he will be great with Carter and Richards in…2015? Something like that. More likely, in my opinion, to have a long NHL career than Prokhorkin, Zykov or Kitsyn (the other offensive LWs on the list). He has that Doug Weight look, for what that’s worth.
  • Hudson Fasching — He’s 6’3″ and still growing. He’s the youngest Kings prospect (just turned 18 last month). 4-5 years to grow into an NHL player.
  • Derek Forbort — I’m very excited to see him play in Manchester this year.
  • Zykov — offensive upside and personality, irresistible.
  • Oscar Moller — JftC left him off their list because apparently he has “made it clear” he won’t be returning to the Kings. I must have missed that memo. Oscar is still very young and still awesome.

The rest:

  • Vey and Hyka — smaller forwards, one older, one younger. There is a limit to the number of little forwards the Kings will ever put on one roster. My list favors Zykov, Moller, Vey and Hyka. They get my vote over Jordan Weal and Brandon Kozun, which is why the last two aren’t on my list.
  • Gravel, MacDermid and Roach — three 6’4″ defensemen. Matt Greene won’t last forever.
  • Kitsyn and Auger — big wingers. With the Kings’ perennial left-wing need, Kitsyn has extra value. Plus, I loved his post-draft interviews. Auger is 6’6″, okay?
  • Deslauriers — great skater, mean. How many little defensemen do the Kings need? He’s probably on his way out, but I like him anyway. Still trying to figure out if he’s smarter than Jack Johnson.
  • Two goalies at the bottom of the list, because, well, hopefully goalie won’t be an issue for the Kings for several years. CHL goalie of the year edges out Berube in my whimsical and meaningless opinion.

And, in case you’re wondering, I would have put Andrei Loktionov between Toffoli and Muzzin; Jonathan Bernier (if he would have counted, since he just turned 25 a few days ago) just above Loktionov; and Thomas Hickey in the middle somewhere…around #15.

I almost certainly would have included Michael Schumacher, too. I will be curious to see if letting him go doesn’t turn out to be a mistake.


  10 comments for “My favorite 25 Kings under 25

  1. shiny
    August 26, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Quite appreciate the snarky honesty. I’ve only seen a few of these guys play in person (TT, DD, VV, JM) so I can’t comment. I love Zykov for his personality. And he apparently has a gritty style of play, isn’t afraid to get into the corners or crash the net according to the brief reports of scouting reports that I’ve read. I think he makes the roster in 4 years (an arbitrary number I pulled out of the air – and I rationalize that by another year in juniors and 3 on the farm). And his big personality makes up for his small-ish stature (only 5’11 and only 18 with time to grow). Have I mentioned how much I love his personality?

    As far as goalies: I don’t see Berube making the team, although if Jones can’t apparently (haven’t seen him play in person, only highlights; also, I’m going off tertiary sources) get his crap together, he may never make the NHL. With Quick locked down for 10 years, I’m not overly concerned about that position. Not gonna lie, though, I think Ben Scrivens is probably a suitable backup for the Kings. Plus, he’s super smart. So I hope he sticks around for a while

    • August 26, 2013 at 7:36 PM

      While the Kings have Quick under contract for a good long while, that’s not to say how long he’ll be able to play at his current elite level. Like I’ve said before, his acrobatic style will tend not to age well, just because no one gets more limber with age, and reflexes tend to go as well. I read somewhere last season that Quick was learning from Bernier to become a more positional goalie, but, well, JB won’t be around anymore.

      • shiny
        August 26, 2013 at 9:23 PM

        You make a fair point about that. However, I believe he can continue his elite play for at least 5+ more years. He’s only 27 (or is he 28 now?) and I feel like he’s capable of continuing great play. He has learned to calm his acrobatic style down a little and conserve energy, but he’ll probably always rely on his athleticism and compete to win.

        • August 26, 2013 at 10:41 PM

          I’d say that’s reasonable: I’ve been thinking 5 years is a good, cautious estimate. And you’re right — he can extend himself at an elite level if experience continues to translate into learning how to make the most of what he has.

          • shiny
            August 26, 2013 at 11:54 PM

            I just wonder if he’ll ever be comfortable with sitting still, being calm and letting the puck come to him as is the tradition with most goalies these days. He truly has a unique style of being very aggressive and coming out to challenge shooters, try to take away angles, etc. It’s part of what makes him elite but eventually his quick reflexes will not be so quick. Marty Brodeur is a good example (though he’s 41 now), despite them having different playing styles. Guess we’ll find out. What an interesting decade this is going to be…

            • Bob Knob
              August 28, 2013 at 11:44 PM

              I think the new pad size changes are going to hurt most other goalies (and in turn help us). I don’t think it will affect him that much since I’m fairly certain his old pads fit the new rules anyways, and the try-to-move-as-little-as-possible goalies could sit so deep because their pads were so big. JQ gets out to cut off angle and uses his athleticism/quickness to handle the puck moving around the ice to diff shooting positions.

              I dunno, we’ll see.

              He did a fine job of stopping pucks with his current style so I don’t see why he should switch just because most other goalies play that way. ?

              • shiny
                August 29, 2013 at 6:52 AM

                Well I meant in like 5-6 years down the road when he’s a few steps slower and he’s a little less flexible and he isn’t necessarily as athletic. I mean, this guy can full on do the splits and cover the posts because he’s well, awesome, and he’s so flexible. What happens in a few years when he can’t necessarily do that? Will he be comfortable being a positional goalie or will his style always be so athletic? I’m not sure and I think it’ll be an interesting ride.

  2. August 26, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    I was curious about your Top 25, Quisp, so I’m glad you posted this.

    I have no objection to using Ian Laperriere as an adjective. It’s a worthy condition to which to aspire.

    I’ll be interested to see how Kitsyn actually does in Manchester, now that he has been signed, and I hope he makes it to the big club. I have a friend who is a relatively casual Kings fan, and he still refers to Kitsyn as the “I score ze goals” guy.

    • August 28, 2013 at 1:34 PM

      I added a little more content to the bottom of the post. :)

  3. Bob Knob
    August 28, 2013 at 11:39 PM

    Toews pitchforks it to Seabrook and squibs it along to Keith, Keith slings oneDRIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!! OHHHHHHHHHH and it’s La-Perr-I-Ere’d by Clifford and out to center ice. What a rocket of a shot that was Edzo. Clifford looked rattled by that one and is slow to the bench. Both teams making a firewagon change now.

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