Will teams emulate the Kings' drafting strategy? - LA Kings Insider

The Los Angeles Kings have had success under Dean Lombardi in targeting eventual National Hockey League players who went undrafted in their first year of draft eligibility. Tanner Pearson is the most recent example; after passing through the draft twice, he was selected in the first round of the 2012 NHL Draft and made an impact with the Kings by posting 12 points in 24 games in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Wayne Simmonds and Jordan Nolan are other players with multiple years of NHL experience who were drafted by the Kings in the Lombardi era after their first year of draft eligibility, while defenseman Colin Miller and goaltender Patrik Bartosak are intriguing prospects drafted out of junior hockey after their 19 year-old seasons.

With the success the Kings have had in finding value in players that have passed through the draft at least once, and because the Kings have won two of the last three Stanley Cups, will other teams start to emulate this aspect of the Kings’ drafting strategy?

I asked Michael Futa, Los Angeles’ Vice President of Hockey Operations and Director of Player Personnel.

“Yeah, without question, and not that you like to say you’re a trendsetter, [but] I think guys are starting to understand normally – and I said it before – when a scout does that, they’re admitting they made a mistake or they missed somebody, right? When you have Tanner Pearson in the seventh round, and then take him at 29, you better be right because you can’t change the way the list was the year before. You’ve got to be sure about what you’re doing. So I think guys now, we started it with Simmer, taking him at the end of the second, and then it almost became around the middle of the third – that’s where the 19-year-olds started to fall that had been through. If you like a guy that much – because we’re not concerned. I think, again, I’m not saying we’re trendsetters, but now we did it in the first round. So it’s taking the ego out of it. If we think he can play, he can play. It doesn’t matter where you get him.”

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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.