The Los Angeles Kings have shown this season that the rebuild is finally coming to a close. The team is competing for a playoff spot in the Pacific Division, and they have one of the top prospect pools in the league. Given the Kings’ play so far this season, it’s looking like they won’t be in a position to get a top draft pick as they have for the last few years. Along with the fact that they have quality prospects at every position, the team will likely approach the draft differently than they have the past few years.
Kings Have Balanced and Well-Stocked Prospect Pool
Below is an overview of some of the top prospects the Kings have at each position. This is only a sample of the plethora of young talent the team has that they will look to add to at the 2022 NHL Draft.
|Arthur Kaliyev||Quinton Byfield||Brandt Clarke||Lukas Parik|
|Kasper Simontaival||Alex Turcotte||Helge Grans||Matthew Villalta|
|Samuel Fagemo||Gabriel Vilardi||Jordan Spence|
|Martin Chromiak||Akil Thomas||Brock Faber|
|Francesco Pinelli||Sean Durzi|
Even though the Kings look a little bare on the wing, several of the team’s many centers can move over, making for an elite group of forwards and a top team for the future.
Kings Have Several Ways to Approach the 2022 Draft
For the past couple of drafts, the Kings have focused on a few areas of their prospect pool, taking mainly wingers and defensemen. This year, however, the team has a bit more freedom. They have depth pretty much everywhere, and they are ready to take the next steps towards becoming a Stanley Cup contender. That said, there are still some areas where LA is in more need than others.
In taking a look at the prospect pool as a whole, the Kings could use another top defenseman. They have quite a few defensemen in the pipeline, but the only true elite defenseman is Clarke — LA’s 2021 first-round pick.
If they drafted another defenseman with their first-round pick this year, it could solidify the team’s future top pair — a crucial feature of a championship team.
Last season, Calvin Petersen made a statement, proving he should be the goalie of the future for the Kings. However, this season, he has struggled. He has a 5-5-1 record through 11 games so far, recording an .893 save percentage and a 3.10 goals-against average. He has also put up -4.09 goals saved above expected (GSAx); this is a shocking number considering he showed 4.88 GSAx last season.
While I don’t think there is any need to panic, it couldn’t hurt for the Kings to have a top goaltending prospect in the system. At the 2021 NHL Draft, there were two high-end goalies picked in the first round. In 2022, there doesn’t look to be a goaltender of the same caliber, but this would allow LA to potentially move back or use one of their later picks on a goalie.
Best Player Available
This approach is one that the Kings have not taken in a while. Whether it was wingers or defensemen, LA has gone into recent drafts with a focus. Last year, the team had specific players they traded up to get, selecting just four times throughout the entire weekend.
For the 2022 draft, the Kings could go in with the strategy of simply taking the best available player, and if there is a steal available, investigate trading up.
Kings Could Deal Picks Before the Draft
As a team turning the page to a new chapter, we could even see the Kings deal one or multiple picks prior to the draft. For quite some time now there have been rumors that LA is pursuing a big piece in the form of a young, high-end defenseman. Most recently, the Kings were rumored to be one of the teams interested in Jakob Chychrun.
Arizona GM Bill Armstrong refused to comment when asked, but it now sounds like the Coyotes are gauging the market on Jakob Chychrun…I’ve heard the ask is massive, but that doesn’t mean opponents are running away. He’s signed for three more years at a very reasonable $4.6 million AAV and is a terrific player. This is one to watch.Elliotte Friedman on a potential Chychrun trade.
If the Arizona Coyotes were to deal Chychrun this season and the Kings are interested, it would make sense for 2022 picks to be part of the trade; the Coyotes have gone into a full rebuild, so they could use LA’s picks. If the Kings were to throw in one of their many top prospects, it could get them close to a deal.
Zackary Weiner is a high school student from New York City who covers the Los Angeles Kings here at The Hockey Writers. He is a lifelong hockey fan and player, and his previous experience includes writing articles about the NHL for various online publications. His articles cover a wide variety of topics that concern the Kings and he takes into account a range of viewpoints, making his articles a perfect read for anyone who wants to stay up to date on the team. Zackary is more than happy to get into a conversation with fellow Kings fans, so feel free to leave a comment below any of his articles like this one to let him know your opinion and what you want to see next. You can also listen to him talk about the team on Fantasy Hockey Life, The Hockey Writers Live, and Blackhawks Banter.