2011 fifth round draft pick Joel Lowry signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Kings, the club announced Monday.
Lowry, 23, received his degree from Cornell University after a four-year campaign in which he registered 77 points (29-48=77) and 155 penalty minutes in 111 games before his senior season ended prematurely when he underwent back surgery after just 11 games with the Big Red in 2014-15. He’s the son of former NHL veteran Dave Lowry, who currently coaches Canada’s World Junior Championships team, and the older brother of Winnipeg Jets forward Adam Lowry.
The Calgary native is known for playing a dependable, honest and hard-nosed 200-foot game that doesn’t differentiate too radically from his brother’s or father’s styles of play.
As LA Kings Insider reported in April, the Kings were on the verge of signing Lowry in the spring. The delay in getting him under contract was related to his recovery from back surgery, which could keep him off the ice in training camp.
“I don’t think he’ll be ready, he’s still a ways away. He has to get healthy first,” Director of Player Development Nelson said. “That was the big question of why it took so long to sign him, because we wanted to make sure that he was going to be OK.”
When he’s fully recovered, it’s expected that he’ll compete for playing time with the Ontario Reign.
Nelson Emerson, on Joel Lowry’s development:
He’s been to a lot of development camps, but yet he’s just signing now. That’s because he wanted to finish his season at Cornell, graduate. You have to give the kid a lot of credit for getting his degree. Now we’re moving forward. Why we’ve always liked him is it’s probably a little bit in his bloodline, being a hockey player, and he’s got all these little intangibles that go sometimes unnoticed but that we really like. It’s his play away from the puck and it’s just little things he does as a hockey player. We think his habits are real good. He does some things that you can’t teach, that’s what is pretty exciting.
Emerson, on Lowry’s style of play:
I think he’s a gamer. I don’t know if you followed his dad when his dad played, he’s got a lot of similarities to his dad where sometimes he might not look like the flashiest or the prettiest but he always seems to do the right thing. That’s what is really cool. [LAKI: Kind of like his brother, too?] That’s the difference in the family, his brother was able to play junior hockey in the western league and be real successful, sign and start his pro career earlier, whereas Joel probably took the little longer route and needs a little bit more time for seasoning. The dad and the two kids all play that same way, that’s why we like him. [LAKI: I remember watching Winnipeg’s grinding lines. They were pretty effective and tough – tough, tough guys to play against. Adam played really tough minutes it seemed like.] He really did. But Adam is big, right? Joel’s got good size too, but they’re able to play that way but still produce offensively. Those are the things that are really intriguing about Joel. The interesting part, too, is he’s never really been able to train. Now that we have our hands on him full-time, we’re going to be able to at least get him to train like a pro. So that will really help and I think it will help with his injury situation, too.