Get caught up on the draft with Mark Yannetti - LA Kings Insider

To continue to get a firmer picture of this year’s draft, I spoke earlier today with Los Angeles Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti about the process of adding a handful of new prospects to the Kings’ crop. Los Angeles is currently scheduled to select 13th, 43rd, 74th, 104th, 134th, 187th and 194th tonight and tomorrow.

On how closely the team adheres to the draft list, and if there are alterations:
We adhere to the list. That being said, there are occasionally factors that come into play in terms of adhering to the list. Let’s say a guy is 60 and 61 and they’re both forwards and they’re both very similar players, if we have a problem with age distribution or something, we could conceivably go with the college kid that going for four years rather than a junior kid. But I would never consider that jumping, that’s a guy who is back-to-back with someone. There is no case where we’re at 52 and we’d say ‘Let’s go for the 70.’ The list is made for a reason and I’ve seen it happen before, whether it’s with other teams and it’s very, almost exclusively disastrous.

On how the team ultimately decides to draft a player:
The ultimate choice is Mike [Futa] or me. Dean is the one Mike and I talk to. But in terms of the choice, to move back, whether to trade an asset, whether to stand pat, that’s 100-percent Mike and myself and it’s 50-percent Mike and 50-percent me. If you watch our table, we’ll either flank Dean on either side or we’re right next to each other, and it’s almost a constant chatter between Mike and myself because once the first round starts today, and that’s a little different because we’ve put four or five scenarios moving up and three or four scenarios moving back. I don’t think you should ever just stay, unless we’re picking second in the draft with Doughty-Stamkos and you can’t do anything. Moving back was never an option and you can’t move up. Unless it’s a situation like that, you have to move, you have to trade, you have to try to maximize what you can do otherwise you just leave it to fate, and why’d you do all the work if you’re just going to leave it to fate?

On the team’s ability to find players who have been passed over in previous drafts:
I think it’s something that we might have been the team that was earliest on that when we came in, more so because we just didn’t know any better. When that mass purge happened the first year and I took over, our staff just scrambled to see everybody, we just saw players. There was no traditional learning. There was no lineage in terms of growing up and learning the guys and ‘this is how you scout.’ So we didn’t fall into any of the traditional traps and traditional ways of thinking because – I don’t want to say wing it – we were just trying to get it done. I’d never run a staff before. When we did it that way the first year, you had Brent, you had Tony. Then when Mike came in, all of a sudden Wayne Simmonds – he brings a knowledge with Wayne Simmonds. None of us knew that you didn’t look at older players. So in terms of the success going forward … some of the other teams have been very successful with other players – you look at the Blackhawks with Shaw. A lot of guys have been good but we just don’t look at ages at all. We just look at players. If the guys a player, he’s drafted. All the sudden, you look down and ‘Oh, he’s 19.’ I’d like to say that there’s a secret formula to make ourselves look good, a secret formula we’ve created like X equals this in Dean’s mad scientist ways. It’s just happenstance.

On how the depth of this draft compares to previous draft classes:
I go back and the draft that stands out to me is the Stamkos-Doughty draft. Going into that draft, it was deep. Going into that draft, the high-end was deep. That was – you can call it an outlier or whatever – as a staff, we knew that was a generational draft. I haven’t seen a draft like that one since. In terms of high-end, now you’re getting back into another generational draft with Connor and Jack. I think this is a good, solid draft. I’m not sure it’s quite as deep as everyone says, but the high-end is very high-end and the early second category of players are very good.

On where the tiers exist in this year’s draft:
I can be general. Obviously, if we’re picking 13 and I say there’s a tier at 10, we have to get up and teams will know we have to get up. If I say we’re at 13 there’s a tier at 15, teams will know. I think there are four distinct tiers in the first round. Obviously I’m not giving away proprietary information away when I say Eichel and McDavid is a tier. But I think there are four tiers in the first round and then I think there is a chunk of similar players after that. I think there is a massive tier of players after those first four tiers that will encompass a fair amount of picks. After that, it’s hard to tell.

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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


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.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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


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.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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


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.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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


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.