The Los Angeles Kings‘ season is now officially underway, giving fans plenty of hockey to watch, but if the Kings 82-games aren’t enough hockey for you, there’s always college hockey to fill the void. If you’re a Kings fan there are a few teams for you to focus on this season. While none of the team’s big-name prospects are playing in college this season, they still have a few players worth keeping an eye on. In this article, I’ll be discussing the team’s prospects playing their hockey in college this season.
Brock Faber- University of Minnesota
The player I would consider the Kings’ best prospect in college this season, Brock Faber, will be hoping to lead his number one-ranked University of Minnesota team to a championship this season. Faber put together a fantastic Freshman season in 2020-21, where he consistently moved up the lineup, becoming one of the team’s most trusted defensemen. He’s a shutdown blue-liner who excels in his own zone. He uses fantastic skating to keep opposition forwards from beating him one-on-one and is rarely caught out of position while defending.
While Faber’s game is mostly about defense, there’s still some decent offensive talent in him. He’ll never be a player who jumps up into the play consistently, but he displays solid vision and outlet passing from his own zone. His skating is once again a catalyst for his play, as it allows him to evade forechecker and move the puck up ice with ease. I think he is one of the team’s best defensive prospects, and he might be joining the organization after this season. After making the jump to pro, I’d expect him to spend one season in the American Hockey League (AHL), before making the step up into the NHL. I think his development could follow a very similar path to that of current Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson.
Andre Lee- Umass-Lowell
Heading into his Junior year at UMass-Lowell, 2019 seventh-round pick Andre Lee will be looking to become a dominant force in college this season. At 6-foot-4 and 205-pounds, as listed on Elite Prospects, and fantastic offensive ability, there’s no reason he can’t do that. He’s huge, skates well, and possesses a great shot. He led his team in points last season with 16 in 20 games and looks set to do the same again. There’s still plenty of room for growth in his game, as he needs to take big strides in his defensive game and will likely need to embrace a more physical grinder role if he wants to make the Kings roster down the line, but there’s plenty of potential. Another season where he leads UMass-Lowell in points and flirts with a point-per-game, and we could see him suit up for the Reign next season.
Alex Laferriere- Harvard University
Heading into his Freshman year at Harvard, Alex Laferriere will be hoping to make an instant impact after a fantastic season with the Des Moines Buccaneers. He’s a pure sniper, picking up more goals than assists for the Buccaneers in his last year of Juniors. His shot is a real weapon — it’s hard and accurate, with an above-average release. He isn’t the biggest player, at just 6-foot, 179-pounds, but he likes to play a more power-forward type game than you’d expect from someone with his size. He likes making plays off the rush, looking to either go wide and drive to the net with a power move or cutting to the middle of the ice to unload his shot. There isn’t much playmaking in his game, as he’s a shoot-first kind of player, who’s less focused on his passing options. He’s also a very tenacious player, aggressive on both the forecheck and backcheck.
As a freshman for Harvard, I’d expect him to start the season on the bottom six, but would not be surprised to see him force his way into more ice time. I’d also expect him to get plenty of chances on the power play, as the team will look to take advantage of his fantastic shot. He’s more of a project player for the Kings, as he’ll likely spend at least three seasons in college and then a few more in the AHL, but there’s potential there. It will be tough for him to break onto this Kings roster as a goalscoring winger, with the team having so many in their system, think Arthur Kaliyev and Samuel Fagemo. But a player with his work ethic and shooting ability should never be counted out.
Ben Meehan- Umass-Lowell
Heading into his sophomore year with UMass-Lowell, Ben Meehan will join fellow Kings prospect Lee for their second season together. Like Lee, he is a late-round pick for the Kings, who is looking to impress the organization with impressive performances in college. He is a very well-rounded defenseman, great at nothing, good at everything. He is decisive in his decision-making and is aggressive on both sides of the puck. Offensively, he possesses solid breakout passing and a good shot from the point, there’s little flash to his game, but he is very efficient in all three zones. His playstyle reminds me a bit of current Kings defensemen Alex Edler in his younger years.
Like Faber, his skating is the catalyst for most of what he does. It allows him to activate in the offensive zone frequently, with the confidence that he will have the speed to get back into position before an odd-man rush develops. It’s also pivotal in his work defensively, as he looks to funnel players wide before sealing them off along the boards quickly. He has plenty of competition in the Kings’ prospect pool, but his ability to fill several roles makes him an interesting prospect for the future.
Braden Doyle- Boston University
Another late-round selection on the blueline, applying his trade in college, sixth-round pick Braden Doyle is heading into his freshman year with Boston University. Another great skater, he is all about using this skill to jump up into the play and generate offense. He loves activating in the offensive zone, acting like a fourth forward at times. There’s a lot of work to do defensively for Doyle, but his offensive ability is unique for the Kings’ defensive prospects, especially on the left side, making him an interesting prospect. Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti has said several times the team wants to draft defensemen who move the puck up ice quickly, turning defense into offense in an instant, and Doyle does exactly that.
Related: Los Angeles Kings’ Top 10 Prospects
Doyle might spend plenty of time in the press box as a freshman at Boston University, and I expect him to be a player that takes a long time to join the Kings organization, but if he can develop the defensive side of his game, there’s a good chance he can make the team. I can also see him being like former Kings prospect Cole Hults, who put up great offensive numbers in college but was unable to make an impact with the organization. Regardless, watching his development should be fun.
David Hrenak- St. Cloud State University
Goalie David Hrenak is heading into his fifth season with St. Cloud State University, and after winning the starting job in his Freshman year, he has never let go of it. Last season ended in very disappointing fashion for Hrenak, as St. Cloud’s fantastic run to the College Hockey National Championship ended in the championship game with a 5-0 loss to Massachusetts. Hrenak has been fantastic since joining the team, never posting a losing season, nor a season with under a.900 save percentage (SV%). An elite goalie prospect is generally considered the one thing the Kings prospect pool is missing, but, after a fantastic college career ends this season, Hrenak might be the answer to this issue.
Solid Prospects in College
Faber is the only prospect the Kings have in college who I’m confident has a long-term future with the team, but there is still plenty to be excited about. I think Lee, Laferriere, and Hrenak all have a decent chance of making the team eventually, with Meehan and Doyle having a lot of development needed before I am confident in them as prospects. While the majority of the team’s prospects aren’t playing in college, there are still a few players Kings fans should take notice of.
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.