Yesterday was a big day for interviews, as I was able to sit down with both Ron Hextall and Dean Lombardi. Lombardi talked about a wide range of topics, while I asked Hextall specifically — given his role as GM of the Manchester Monarchs — about some of the AHL prospects. First, Hextall talks about four of the Monarchs’ centers, and gives his thoughts on how they played this season and how they can improve. Andrei Loktionov had nine goals and 15 assists in 29 games. Justin Azevedo had 14 goals and 13 assists in 46 games. Corey Elkins had 21 goals and 22 assists in 73 games. Marc-Andre Cliche had 11 goals and 14 assists in 66 games. Here are Hextall’s thoughts on each player…

HEXTALL: “I think Loktionov had a real good year overall. You ask a 19-year-old kid, especially a kid who’s not real big, to go to the American league and play, and I think he probably met our expectations. He’s a very skilled kid. I think that when the playoffs came, particularly in the third round there, the time and space was gone and his game fell off. It was a great lesson for him — because he’s got a very immature body — as to why you’ve got to get stronger, why you’ve got to spend three months in the weight room. He was a 19-year-old kid playing against men, and it really showed up in the end. His biggest deficiency is his lack of strength. But like I said, overall for a 19-year-old to come into the league and do what he did, obviously he spent three months on the injured list but he had a good year.

“Azevedo improved this year and, I think, right toward the end he started to take some pride in his defensive game. He’s kind of been an offensive player his whole life, so he took some pride in his defensive game and played pretty well. He can score goals. He can set up plays, but his all-around game has to become more well-rounded, and we started to see some of that at the end.

“Corey Elkins, he scored 20 goals and probably exceeded our offensive expectations. I think, on the other hand, his overall game needs a little bit of a brushing up. I think his consistency needs brushing up. He’s a big body and he’s got to use his size a little bit more. For his first year, he probably outdid our offensive expectations.

“Cliche, he had a good year, and his leadership skills kind of came to the forefront. I think, if you look at that team, you had Drew Bagnall and Marc-Andre as our two biggest leaders. So he took that to another level. We had a young team, and he really took it to heart and he really cares. He cares a lot and he plays the game the right way. He’s a good defensive player. That’s his m.o. Offensively, he’s never going to light it up, but in terms of killing penalties, getting into puck lanes, getting his stick on pucks and just taking pride in checking, he does a great job.”

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Alec martinez

#27 | 6′ 1″ | 210 lb | Age: 29

Born: July 26, 1987
Birthplace: Rochester Hills, MI, USA
Position: D
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Martinez was drafted by the LA Kings in the 2007 Draft, while playing for Miami University. He has since become a two-time Stanley Cup champion and the 17th man in Stanley Cup playoff history to score the Cup-winning goal in overtime.

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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

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Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.
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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left

Bio

Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.

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