Kings prospects Booth & Lawrence competing for CHL championships + Slukynsky in USHL Finals

A quick glance ahead, Insiders, with three members of the organization beginning their respective championship series over the next couple of days.

Defenseman Angus Booth, who is signed to an entry-level contract with the Kings beginning next season, is participating in the QMHJL Finals while forward Kaleb Lawrence is skating in the OHL Finals. Booth, a fourth-round selection of the Kings in 2022 NHL Draft, has reached the second QMJHL Finals of his career, his first with Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Lawrence, a seventh-round selection of the Kings in 2022, is with the London Knights and playing for an OHL championship for the first time in his major-junior career. At the USHL level, goaltender Hampton Slukynsky, a fourth-round selection by the Kings in 2023, is three wins away from a championship of his own with the Fargo Force.

Angus Booth
Booth and Baie-Comeau Drakkar will take on the Drummondville Voltigeurs in a battle of two names I am not all that confident in being able to pronounce.

The QMJHL Finals, a battle for the Gilles-Courteau Trophy, will feature the league’s two top teams from the regular season. Baie-Comeau was the regular-season champion, with a league-best 109 points, while Drummondville posted 102 points, second in the league and the highest total in the Western Conference.

For Booth, he was a midseason acquisition as a veteran on the blueline who could help a team in a contending window. Booth previously won the QMJHL in 2022, playing in a depth role with the Shawinigan Cataractes, while also participating in the 2022 Memorial Cup, finishing third overall in the CHL. Booth is in a much larger role this time around, in what will likely be the final season of his career at the junior level. Booth isn’t a player who will wow you with high-octane, offensive production. He’s a smart, steady and reliable blueliner who is among the best at his craft in the QMJHL. He had 28 points (3-25-28) from a total of 61 games this season, along with two assists from 13 games played to date in the postseason. Think a Mikey Anderson type player, who we could potentially see in AHL-Ontario next season.

The opportunity to cap his junior career with a second QMJHL championship, and another opportunity to participate in the Memorial Cup, would be about as good as it comes for a young player from Canada. Booth is likely to begin his professional career next season with his entry-level contract already signed. Final opportunity for him at this level to win the ultimate title.

Series Schedule
Game 1 – May 9 – Home, 4 PM Pacific
Game 2 – May 10 – Home, 4 PM Pacific
Game 3 – May 13 – Away, 4 PM Pacific
Game 4 – May 14 – Away, 4 PM Pacific
*Game 5 – May 16 – Home, 4 PM Pacific
*Game 6 – May 18 – Away, 4 PM Pacific
*Game 7 – May 21 – Home, 4 PM Pacific

Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images

Kaleb Lawrence
Like Booth, Lawrence was also a midseason acquisition for his current club. Lawrence has actually been traded twice since the end of the 2022-23 season, first to the Ottawa 67’s and later to the London Knights, a perennial powerhouse in the OHL, with whom he will contend for an OHL championship for the first time. London will take on the Oshawa Generals for the J. Ross Robertson Cup, with the winner of the series moving on to participate in the Memorial Cup. Like the QMJHL, the OHL Finals are a matchup between the top-seeded teams in each conference. London was the league’s regular-season champions with 104 points, while Oshawa led the Eastern Conference with 89 points.

Lawrence has had a productive postseason when he’s been on the ice. He’s got nine points (5-4-9) from eight games played during the first three rounds. He’s missed six games already due to suspension and will be suspended for Games 1 – 4 of this series as well. He had a productive time with the Knights, burying 10 goals and collecting 19 points from 28 regular-season games played, but he’ll ultimately have missed more games in the postseason due to suspension than he’d have played by the time an if necessary Game 5 comes around on May 17.

Coming off a 2021-22 season when he played just two total games due to injury, Lawrence has been much healthier over the last two seasons, playing 108 regular-season games in total. He’s never played more than three playoff games, though, and the opportunity to potentially play in a championship series, or the Memorial Cup, would be a terrific ending to his junior career, as he’s set to age-out of the OHL next season. He’s an interesting prospect for his size alone, standing at 6-7 and more than 220 pounds. He plays to his size and is interested in playing the game physically, but with a touch of skill to his game as well.

Series Schedule
Game 1 – May 9 – Home, 4 PM Pacific
Game 2 – May 11 – Home, 4 PM Pacific
Game 3 – May 13 – Away, 4 PM Pacific
Game 4 – May 15 – Away, 4 PM Pacific
*Game 5 – May 17 – Home, 4 PM Pacific
*Game 6 – May 19 – Away, Time TBD
*Game 7 – May 21 – Home, Time TBD

Hampton Slukynsky
On the homefront, Kings goaltending prospect Hampton Slukynsky is playing for a championship of his own in the USHL.

Slukynsky and the Fargo Force have advanced to the Clark Cup Finals, where they will take on the Dubuque Fighting Saints. A lot of chalk in these junior matchups, isn’t there? Like in the OHL and QMJHL, the USHL Finals will square off the top seeded teams in their respective conferences. Fargo was the overall regular-season champions with a league-best 102 points, while Dubuque had 90 points to lead the Eastern Conference.

For Slukynsky, what a season he’s had in his first go-around at the USHL level. Backstopping the top team in the USHL, Slukynsky posted a regular-season record of 28-3-0, with a .923 save percentage and a 1.86 goals-against average, as he was named to the All-USHL First Team. He’s upped that even further come the postseason, starting all eight games the Force have played, with a record of 6-2-0, a .933 save percentage and a 1.52 goals-against average. He’ll likely be between the pipes in Game 1 tomorrow evening, as he looks to secure his first Clark Cup, with a commitment to Northern Michigan University on the horizon.

Series Schedule
Game 1 – May 10 – Home, 5:05 PM Pacific
Game 2 – May 11 – Home, 4:05 PM Pacific
Game 3 – May 17 – Away, 4:05 PM Pacific
*Game 4 – May 18 – Away, 4:05 PM Pacific
*Game 5 – May 21 – Home, 4:05 PM Pacific

Not a ton of coverage options for these games in the United States on a wider, national scale. Assume the broadcasting is much wider in Canada for the CHL games. Radio feeds perhaps……but will update here with any major moments and, hopefully, a trio of series victories.

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