“Attack-oriented player with a high level of compete” and more notes on Madden

Several additional notes on Tyler Madden, who signed a three-year, entry-level contract:

— This is a big get and an important have for the LA Kings. I’m unaware of anyone who sensed any doubt he’d commit, but to have him signed and awaiting assignment in the fall of 2020 expands their bursting-at-the-seams prospect pool with a young, fast and skilled weapon who has experience at both center and wing.

— Something I’ve heard from both NHL and AHL pro scouts and amateur scouts is that Rob Blake has encouraged his staff to really keep up their reports on players who’ve already been drafted during the phase of the organizational “re-fresh” in which they’d be exchanging assets for draft picks and prospects. Madden was someone pinpointed as one of the top-ten drafted players in college hockey and became a focus for the Kings in their discussions with Vancouver.

— There’s a history with Madden that goes back some time. Madden only played 50 USHL games, totaling 15 goals and 34 points as a late-birthday 18-year-old in 2017-18 with Central Illinois and Tri-City. But Tony Gasparini and Teddy Belisle, the Kings’ United States-based amateur scouts, were both very high on his time in the USHL and had spent considerable amount of time watching him well before he was draft-eligible. Their viewings of him at Northeastern – again, at the direction to continue to keep thorough tabs on players who’d already been drafted – seemed to align with what Brooks Bertsch, the team’s college pro scout, had been seeing and sharing on Rinknet, their online database. Whether from them, Mark Yannetti or those from Vancouver, over the past month and a half I’d heard excellent reports of a player with such apparent skill and attack that he became an “easy guy to scout.”

— Some additional notes on that versatile skill-set: 5’11 center/wing with strong instincts for the game … very elusive skater, quick to hit holes with or without pucks … Attack-oriented player with a high level of compete … plays without conditions … really dynamic skater and offensively skilled with fast-twitch hands and feet … darts in and out of plays really well … threat on the rush … slighter in frame but but plays bigger … versatile and capable of playing in the team’s top-six.

— Good news: Even though Los Angeles’ extraordinarily deep pool is still short the type of player and individual skill provided by a first or second overall pick, they are importantly well stocked down the middle. They’re looking to position their younger players around Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty, and younger players with stakes in the battle for center hierarchy in future years will include the likes of Madden, Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Turcotte, Blake Lizotte, Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Akil Thomas, Rasmus Kupari and perhaps those like Adrian Kempe, Mikey Eyssimont and Michael Amadio. Kupari is among those most likely to shift to wing; I’d also have eyes on Akil Thomas and Jaret Anderson-Dolan there, too. But, as it was shared during a recent conversation on Madden, “it’s always easier to switch to wing than wing to center.” All whom I’ve spoken with about Madden made a point of noting he could slot either at either position.

— Corey Pronman of The Athletic ranked Madden 40th in his mid-season prospect rankings ($):

Madden is a top player in college hockey this season, as a leading shot generator and point producer. Madden makes unique plays with the puck. He is so skilled and he often leaves defenders confused 1-on-1. Madden is also a very good passer, making creative feeds and finding holes in the defensive coverage. His skating has shown some mild improvement, but he’s still not the quickest to go along with a small frame. I do like how Madden competes, though. He can PK and plays in the hard areas, even as a slighter guy.

— More on the trade the night it took place:

— That’s all for right now. More to come on Madden this spring/summer. More to come from Todd, as well.

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