Happy Monday, Insiders!
A few items to share from the last few days, as we continue to ramp up our preparation for the 2022-23 season. We’re officially Jonathan Quick (32) days away from the first game of the 2022 Rookie Faceoff and Jacob Moverare (57) days away from opening night in Los Angeles on October 11. Exciting stuff to come.
For now, however, we press on through the dog days of summer. Sharing a few pieces of content and information that peaked my own interest, beginning with two shares from earlier this morning.
The newest addition to the LA Kings Hockey Operations team, Manon Rheaume, joined the All The Kings Men podcast, released, earlier today, for a look into both her new role with the Kings organization, as well as her professional career, which saw her become the first female player to appear in an NHL preseason game.
Rheaume’s role with the Kings will involve working with many of the organization’s young prospects, regardless of position. She will be based out of Michigan, which is centrally located to work with prospects playing NCAA hockey as well as junior hockey in Ontario and in Quebec. Rheaume is well versed in both worlds, as a Quebec native with QMJHL experience, as well as a coaching background working with select youth players with programs such as Belle Tire and Little Caesar’s. Rheaume will visit and evaluate prospects throughout the season, with the hopes of giving younger players a different voice both to hear from, and to listen, in hopes of aiding in the development process.
“When the kids get drafted, it’s one thing getting drafted, but it has a long road before they get to the NHL. Along the way, you face adversity, you have the ups and downs. I think the LA Kings have four great player development guys that used to play in the NHL, that are on the ice with those players, but they also have another aspect of it, like the mental part of the game. Facing adversity, going through the ups and down and being able to follow those young prospects and then see their progress on and off the ice. When they have those down moments, being there for them and finding ways to bring them back up, and when they have those high [moments] and things going well, to make sure that they’re not too high either, because we know what it is like if you can stay level, it’s very important. I feel like the fact that I’ve coached and I played the game and I also faced tons of adversity, being the only female playing in a man’s sport, one of my biggest strengths when I played was the my mental toughness and being able to block out everything around me, to be able to just do what I have to do on the ice. That’s something that along the way, with both my sons playing at a high level, it really helped them when they were facing those ups and downs and I feel I can continue to do that with those young prospects. Having conversations with them and getting to know them and making sure they are progressing to make the NHL one day.”
An excited addition to the team, working with the prospect pool as they continue to develop before reaching the professional ranks.
Get To Know Vukie Mpofu
A good look inside a lesser-known, yet quite important, member of the LA Kings hockey operations team.
Bill Douglas of NHL.com interviewed Vukie Mpofu, Manager of Hockey Operations & Legal Affairs with the Kings.
Mpofu, who joined the Kings staff last summer, is involved in player contract negotiations, salary cap management and leaguewide collective bargaining issues, in addition to the work he does with the Kings analytics staff. He also assists with legal work for AEG, as well as employment contracts for staff with both the Kings and the Ontario Reign.
Armed with two years of playing experience in the WHL under Brent Sutter, as well as a law degree from UCLA, Mpofu brings both a unique background and set of qualifications to the Kings staff. More in the full article from Douglas, found HERE.
Sutter Moves On
A bit old now, but longtime Ontario Reign captain Brett Sutter departed the organization last week, as he signed an AHL contract with the first-year Calgary Wranglers, the new AHL affiliate of the Calgary Flames.
Sutter has been a part of the setup in AHL-Ontario since 2016, when he was acquired at the trade deadline from Minnesota. Sutter had been a mainstay ever since and served as the captain of the Reign since 2017, when he succeeded Vincent LoVerde. Sutter is – by far- the organization’s all-time leader in games played, with 379 to be exact from his acquisition through the end of last season. Sutter also departs as the all-time leader in goals, assists and points and was recently honored for his 1,000th professional game played, spanning games in both the NHL and the AHL. More on Sutter’s 1K milestone and his impact on the organization here.
Sutter joins the newly rebranded Calgary Wranglers for what will be his 16th professional season, and is in line for another 1K milestone – 1,000 games in the AHL – at some point this season. Sutter is a native of Viking, Alberta, and his move will take him closer to his family, as well as put him in the same building as his father, Calgary Head Coach Darryl Sutter. Happy trails, Sutts, one of the best people to put on a Reign jersey. More on his signing here.
Coming up tomorrow, we’ll have a look at the performance of the three LA Kings prospects during pool play at the 2022 World Juniors, which will see the trio of Helge Grans, Samuel Helenius and Kasper Simontaival all advance to the knockout round. All three players have one game remaining, with Helenius and Simontaival in action shortly, and Grans concluding the first phase of the tournament later on tonight. After this slate of games, we’ll have a full schedule for the quarterfinals, as well as a look at the performances of all three prospects during their opening games of the tournament.