More than 300 former collegiate hockey players played in an NHL regular-season game this past season. Former NCAA student-athletes now account for more than 30 percent of players on NHL rosters. The Kings have been active through the years signing college free agents and drafting college hockey alumni.
This past March in particular, Los Angeles signed St. Cloud State standout Mikey Eyssimont, who had been drafted by the Kings in 2016. Free agent right winger Sheldon Rempal signed with the Kings after finishing the season with Clarkson University. Highly-touted Minnesota State Mankato defenseman Daniel Brickley signed with LA as well.
Kings fans hope these three college hockey stars can have the NHL success like these former or current Kings players who were drafted out of college.
Dave Taylor – Clarkson University Golden Knights
Dave Taylor spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, playing a franchise-record 1,111 games. He played on one of the most prolific scoring lines in NHL history, dubbed the Triple Crown Line. Taylor racked up 1,069 points (431 goals and 638 assists), making him the lowest-drafted player to reach a 1,000 points.
What might be more impressive is the playing career Taylor had at Clarkson University. This NCAA All American is Clarkson University’s all-time leading scorer. From 1973 to 1977, Taylor played in 122 games, amassing 251 points (98 goals and 153 assists) for the Clarkson Golden Knights. Even with such an amazing college career, many teams still passed over Taylor, and he was drafted in the 15th round as the 210th pick. The Kings, I am sure, thought that Taylor would never play a game in the league, being a late draft pick. They sure found a gem.
Rob Blake – Bowling Green State University Falcons
Current Kings general manager Rob Blake is a Kings legend, spending most of his playing career with the franchise. Blake is a Stanley Cup champion, an Olympic gold medalist, and a Norris Trophy winner who was also inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2014. Hailing from Simcoe, Ontario, Blake decided to go the college hockey route opposed to playing Major Junior in Canada.
This decision sure paid off, as Blake was drafted after his freshman year at Bowling Green State University in 1988. Along with Dave Taylor, Blake was a steal being drafted late in the 1988 draft (fourth round). It will be interesting to see if Blake and the Kings draft any college hockey alumni like himself in this year’s draft.
Jonathan Quick – University of Massachusetts at Amherst Minutemen
There is no argument when it comes to who the best goalie in Kings’ history is. Jonathan Quick has the stats to prove it, with two Stanley Cup victories and two Jennings Trophy wins.
The Kings drafted Quick 72nd overall in 2005 out of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Playing only two seasons for the Minutemen, Quick posted a spectacular 2.16 GAA in 37 games during his sophomore year. With Quick now 32, the Kings hope they have some great years left in this former college hockey netminder.
Alec Martinez – Miami University RedHawks
Veteran Kings defenseman Alec Martinez has played in a total of 496 regular-season games, all in a Kings uniform. In 2014, Martinez joined a unique group of players who scored Stanley Cup-winning goals, bringing the Stanley Cup to LA for the second time.
He played his college hockey at Miami University. Martinez and the Redhawks made the NCAA tournament twice in the three years he attended. He was named a Second Team All-American in 2008. Martinez was drafted by the Kings in 2007, also in the fourth round. Martinez has been a solid defenseman for this franchise for many years. Now approaching 31 years old, the Kings hope Alec Martinez can be relied upon for many years to come.