Shifty 5-foot-8 forward Brandon Kozun re-signed with the Los Angeles Kings for one year, the team announced Wednesday.
Kozun, a right wing, reached the 20-goal plateau for the third consecutive year with the Manchester Monarchs and posted a career-high 56 points (26-30=56) over 74 games in 2012-13. He was voted by Monarchs fans as the recipient of the Union Leader Fan Favorite trophy in April.
Kozun accumulated points in bunches in 2012-13, recording three separate six-game point streaks in addition to posting multi-point efforts in five of six games in late February.
A Los Angeles native, Kozun played minor hockey with the San Fernando Valley-based West Valley Wolves prior to moving to Calgary at the age of 10. The Kings’ sixth round selection (179th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Kozun, a Calgary Hitmen teammate of Martin Jones, TJ Galiardi and Karl Alzner, represented Canada at the 2010 World Junior Championships.
The 2013-14 season appears to be an important year in Kozun’s professional career. With his elite skating, willingness to shoot and strong stickhandling ability, he is more equipped to handle a skill role with an NHL club than he is to perform in a checking capability. The Kings are looking for more production from the left side, and as a right wing without any regular season NHL experience, Kozun will need to continue to forge a favorable impression at training camp despite his consistent production through three years at the AHL level if he’s to earn a roster spot on next year’s Los Angeles team. Considering his size and the Kings’ needs, that appears to be a significant challenge – though the cap-tightened team will surely be ready to consider less-expensive options.