In terms of the Kings and their prospects, Maxim Kitsyn is the last man standing, the last player in the organization still getting ready to play hockey these days. Kitsyn and the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors are hosting the Memorial Cup, the four-team tournament that crowns the kings of junior hockey. St. Michael’s lost to Owen Sound in the Ontario Hockey League Finals, but the host team automatically qualifies for the tournament, along with the OHL champions and the winners of the Western Hockey League (Kootenay Ice) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (Saint John Sea Dogs).
It’s been quite a year for Kitsyn, a 6-foot-2, 183-pound winger who was drafted by the Kings in the sixth round last year. Kitsyn started this season in the KHL, then got out of his contract midseason and moved to North America. He had nine goals and 17 assists in 32 regular-season games with St. Michael’s and has had an even bigger impact in the playoffs, with 10 goals and nine assists in 20 games. Kitsyn ranks second on the team in playoff scoring behind Devante Smith-Pelly (21 points), who was a second-round pick of the Anaheim Ducks last year. The Memorial Cup starts Friday, when St. Michael’s plays Saint John, with the final to be played May 29.