Recapping the 2024 NHL Draft haul with Kings Director of Scouting, Mark Yannetti

The LA Kings entered this weekend with four picks in the 2024 NHL Draft.

They selected four players, though the path to get there was certainly not a straight line.

The Kings wound up making three trades in a 24-hour span to get to where they ultimately wound up, which was picks made in the first, second, sixth and seventh rounds. The Kings also added a roster player in Tanner Jeannot, who was acquired for two selections, one this year and one next year.

We’ll get to the trade later, as Rob Blake spoke yesterday after Day 1, so we’ll look for some additional information here over the next couple days, where Jeannot will likely speak with the media for the first time with the Kings. Expecting Jeannot to be an option in the Top 9, delivering a physical element that the Kings have lacked. More to follow there.

For today, Kings Director of Scouting Mark Yannetti ran us through the four players the Kings selected today and the way the day played out in terms of trades.

In yesterday’s Day 1 recap, I phrased the trade the Kings made as a riskier one and Yannetti agreed that it was. Ultimately, the risk paid off in getting Liam Greentree with the 26th overall selection.

Greentree was a player the Kings had identified at the 21st overall pick when they had that pick. He was someone the Kings hoped would be there at 26 when they traded down and their models felt he would be. Ultimately, Greentree was the last player available in the tier the Kings had slotted to select at either 21 and 26 and he was the easy choice at number 26. Why was he the easy choice? Allow Yannetti to answer that.

Mark Yannetti on Liam Greentree
The way he puts up the points, there’s versatility to his offense and he’s a big body. He could play heavier more consistently – you can say with pretty much 95 percent of 17 year olds – but when he plays heavier, when he takes the puck to the net, whether he takes it out of the corner or drives the slot from the half wall or even off the rush, which is less so, when he takes a lane, he takes a lane. He has a high level skill and he also has a big frame so when he creates that depth with the puck, when he’s handling the puck in traffic, there’s a heaviness and a protection element that a smaller skill guy doesn’t have. So, he’s got the skill of a smaller guy and he’s got the body of a bigger guy and when he drives the net, there’s often incidental contact with the goalie, which is never a bad thing either. He’s got a wicked shot, he gets to the scoring areas, the hard areas, where his shot becomes even more dangerous, his shot is good enough to score just above the periphery, the home plate, if you think of where all the goals are scored in the NHL, he scores in the periphery as well but he isn’t just hanging out there. You throw in the fact that he’s a playmaker too, I think he had 90 points and the next closest guy on his team hit 66 and the next most is at 47. So, he’s not just producing points, he’s creating them. It’s not a slight against other guys, it’s just his supporting cast was quite a bit different than North Bay’s or London’s, so he’s creating it almost in its entirety.

Yannetti also liked that Greentree was the captain of his team at such a young age. Very few players captain their CHL teams in their draft-eligible year. Yannetti recalled just two in the entire 2024 draft who did that. It was a young team in Windsor, certainly, and an inexperienced team that had a tough year after loading up the season before. It says a lot though to see a player of that age thought of as a leader in that way.

Leadership, culture and intangibles alone aren’t usually enough to select a player, other than in rare instances like Kyle Clifford, who helped to change the culture of the entire organization. They do go in the plus column, though, especially for a player who had the skill to match the intangibles. That was the case for Greentree. Something that perhaps rose him up within his tier compared to prospects of similar skill and ability. With Greentree, wearing the “C” is something that Yannetti took note of and naturally liked.

“We always hear the word culture and I don’t think I can overstate how important culture is, so when there’s a guy named captain at any stage, that’s a big deal,” Yannetti said. “I think it’s important. I don’t think it can trump, necessarily, other areas but when you have high skill, sense and offensive production, and he’s a captain, that can move a guy versus other guys that are similar and aren’t captains. We can never have too much culture. It’s certainly something that factored into our decision, in a more secondary right way, but it certainly was part of the evaluation process.”


Heading into Day 2, the Kings had goaltender Carter George in mind. They had an intention of trading up to get him, if the situation called for it, and were ready to make a move if they felt it was necessary. Looking at last year’s draft, Yannetti pointed around the 40th pick as where a run on goaltenders started. Once a goaltender goes, it can spark a run. The Kings knew that and were prepared to potentially trade up if they felt they might need to in order to get their guy.

They were prepared to trade up as high as the 45th pick, or approximately so, to ensure that they got George, to get ahead of a potential run. They were ultimately able to stand pat and get George into the system with the 57th pick, without spending additional assets to move up. Was a little bit nervewracking, as Yannetti admitted, but ultimately the decision not to spend additional picks to move up paid off.

Mark Yannetti on Carter George
[We liked] a number of things. The first thing to watch for is he’s very technically sound, his positional element, his save execution, his depth in the net, it’s very calculated almost, he’s very cerebral in terms of he’s precise when he hits his marks. We’re talking about the big goalies, everybody wants big goalies and it’s funny, it’s more of a presentation, like you can be a big goalie and present small and you can be a 6-1, which I don’t consider small but I guess the NHL does, but he presents bigger than 6-1, just to his positioning and his angles and his depth in the net.

Those are the “easy things” to evaluate as Yannetti put it. Next, it was about things like awareness, athleticism, hockey IQ, recovery, anticipation. All things the Kings liked. They also liked his ability to win a game. And that sounds over-simplified to say, but Yannetti pointed to games in the OHL against better teams when what should have been nine goals was four. Four goals against on say 40 shots doesn’t stand out on paper, but when 27 of those 40 were Grade-A chances, it changes the narrative. He pointed to games in the U-18 World Championships that George kept Team Canada alive in to secure victories, as he was ultimately selected as the tournament’s best goaltender and placed on the All-Tournament Team. Yannetti called it the “it factor” and George has that, alongside all of his other abilities and the Kings were excited to add him into the mix.

Into the later stages of the draft, the Kings made two additional selections – defenseman Jared Woolley and forward James Reeder.

Two players who play different positions and two players with extremely different physical makeups.

In Woolley, Yannetti thought the Kings had an under the radar player until he made the jump to the OHL during the 2023-24 season. Woolley was playing Junior B hockey in the GOJHL until he jumped into the OHL with the London Knights, playing regularly through their run to the Memorial Cup, which ultimately resulted in a second-place finish.

Woolley is a big fella. The numbers on the page stand out but speaking with him after he was selected really drove home the point. For Yannetti, it was speaking with the player as well that helped drive home that he was someone the Kings wanted to draft.

Yannetti called Woolley a “driven” kid, someone who the Kings liked when watching him but loved once they talked to him. The way he answered questions that were asked, especially tougher questions, stood out positively. So, you take the profile that the Kings identified via scouting, supported with a driven personality and the Kings liked what they got.

Mark Yannetti on Jared Woolley
We talk about potential and it’s very rare a kid hits his top potential. I think this kid hits his top potential. Size, solid skating base that will improve with strength. As you see with bigger guys sometimes, he’s probably an average projected skater, it’ll come a little bit more than that, there will be a power element that develops, there’s this natural physicality, a natural heaviness. His skill is bordering on average, but his hockey sense, the “catch all hockey since” is good. There’s a puck moving ability which probably elevates him from that normal, average third pair D6 to a higher level, a higher level defensive first puck mover. When I say that, I don’t mean offensively, I mean quick transition, flow up the ice, quick up the ice, forwards don’t have to wait. It’s the thing for me that separates third pair defenseman above replacement value and third-pairing defenseman that help win games.

On Reeder, I don’t have the flowing, recorded quote but did hear from Yannetti on why the Kings targeted him.

The Kings felt confident they would get James Reeder in the seventh round. The King are very happy to get James Reeder in the seventh round. Yannetti was highly complementary of his game, his tools, his offensive play, most of his gifts on the ice. What is vastly different about Reeder compared to say Woolley is the size. Reeder doesn’t have traditional NHL size and he’s so young in his development process that it’s unclear exactly if that size will come around or not. If it does and he’s able to handle the strength of the NHL, Yannetti believes that Reeder will play NHL games. He’s certainly skilled enough to do so as Yannetti made perfectly clear. That’s a gamble worth taking in Round 7.

Expecting all four players to attend development camp this week in Los Angeles, which begins on Monday, July 1, at Toyota Sports Performance Center. Will be great to see these guys in action on the ice for the first time in Kings colors, among others from the prospect pool. More to follow tomorrow with a camp roster and coverage throughout the week!

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