feature: Budding Army - LA Kings Insider

As teased last week, I recently caught up with Derek Armstrong, the President of the CHL’s Denver Cutthroats.

In our conversation, he shared his transition from working in hockey operations – where he was named the CHL’s Coach of the Year in 2013-14 – into a role as an executive in business operations for the minor league team that will open its third year of play at the Denver Coliseum this fall.

From the story, titled Budding Army:

Working with the players is a perk of the job, and even though he’s roughly 15 years past the median age on the Cutthroats, he’s still able to relate to those he develops.

Coaching younger players reminds him of the same fire he saw in Dustin Brown and Anze Kopitar, both of whom were rookies when they played with Armstrong; Kopitar was a roommate of Armstrong’s early in his accomplished career.

“They give you a different perspective on life. Now they’ve become NHL veterans and NHL world class superstars,” Armstrong said. “From my perspective looking on the outside now, it’s amazing to see how far they come and how they’ve developed as human beings. Their hockey playing skills and the way they’ve taken over the LA Kings and gone to the championship, it’s truly amazing. I really enjoy the young aspect.”

Though Armstrong’s efforts and the story focus more on Armstrong’s recent transition into Denver’s business operations, he did share several memories on his time in Los Angeles, including when he shared a dressing room with a rookie Drew Doughty.

“You just always knew nothing really bothered him,” Armstrong said of Doughty. “He was just a kid with a free spirit, energy. He was a throwback jersey type of kid. He was an old school kid who just loves to play hockey, and he’s not scared to make mistakes. He competes like a savage on the ice. Practice – you knew he was always going to be great. You didn’t know he was going to be great this quick.”

In case you missed the earlier link, here’s another: Budding Army

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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.