Waking up with the Kings: March 22 - LA Kings Insider

The LA Kings and San Jose Sharks picked up their participation trophies with identical .625 points percentages in the season series, which concluded with a well-earned and tightly focused 4-2 Kings win bookended by a pair of strong periods to open and close out only their third win in the last 19 games. Los Angeles has fared best in rivalry games this season (perhaps this should read “Los Angeles has fared best in games against teams that were largely better earlier this decade”), going 15-8-2 against former playoff foes New York, New Jersey, Arizona, San Jose, St. Louis, Chicago, Anaheim, Vancouver and Vegas, and 11-31-6 against everyone else. I’m not sure how much extra juice is sparked in these rivalry games, but the team did produce some of their best efforts and structured performances in recent wins over the Ducks and Sharks. San Jose was missing three key actors, including zone-exiting ace Erik Karlsson, but credit Los Angeles for opening the game with an excellent pace and establishing a forecheck during long stretches that disrupted what in recent seasons had been excellent center ice management and defensive zone coverage.

Will Navarro/NHLI

The 2015 NHL Draft will serve as a haunting reminder of what can happen when assets and prospects are liberally spent, and though the impact from the Milan Lucic trade was compounded by the inclusion of Erik Cernak in the Ben Bishop trade, that’s not at all the fault of the team’s scouting staff. Had the Kings held on to their first round pick, they’d be looking at a theoretical haul of Kyle Connor, Cernak, Austin Wagner and Matt Roy, two potential high-impact players and two valuable role players who as rookies have emerged as positive stories during an otherwise calamitous season. That Roy has now played 16 games with the big club, has one goal, three points and a plus-two rating during a period in which the team has been outscored by 17 goals in even strength play is an encouraging sign. Also encouraging is that Roy has the type of temperament and approach that seems to easily mesh with a National Hockey League room, and while those intangibles might not be as important as his skating and ability to play a balanced game with pace, it helps others play comfortably and confidently alongside him and aids his integration into a more senior group. He’s a player, according to one team source, who if he didn’t make it to the NHL, would “die trying.”

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

Roy’s late emergence is interesting. Tony Gasparini was largely responsible for his scouting, Mike Donnelly for spending tremendous amounts of time with Roy and building a relationship, and Mark Yannetti for heeding the advice of his scouts and getting him onto the Kings’ list late in 2015 pre-draft discussion. After being passed over the first year he was draft-eligible, he suffered an injury that limited him to just 24 games in his 19-year-old USHL season. He was never listed on an NHL Central Scouting final list. Roy finished with nine assists at Michigan Tech his freshman year and hadn’t yet developed his conditioning regimen and approach when finally drafted after his 20-year-old season, 194th overall. At that time, the defenseman had all of 34 USHL and 36 NCAA games to his name, so Gasparini relied heavily on his AAA U-18 seasons in the Detroit suburbs with Victory Honda before catching several games during his freshman season in the remote WCHA hamlet of Houghton. Say “yah” to scouting da U.P., eh?

Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

–Lead photo via Adam Pantozzi/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

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

Bio

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

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

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

Bio

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

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

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

Bio

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.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

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

Bio

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.

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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

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

Bio

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.

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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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

Bio

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.

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