The Draft

First of all, a big thanks to all of you. I found out the other day that this blog, out of all the Daily News sports blogs, ranked second in hits in May, behind only Scott Wolf’s USC juggernaut. That’s ahead of the Lakers, Dodgers and Angels, all of whom were actually PLAYING GAMES in May. So thanks to everyone for their continued interest.

Obviously things are a little slow right now, but with the draft coming up, one week from tonight for the first round, I thought it would be the right time to start throwing some stuff out there. I’ve gotten a few e-mails, inquiring about who I think the Kings might pick, and I think it could go in a couple different directions.

Assuming that the first three picks go as planned — Patrick Kane, Kyle Turris and James VanRiemsdyk, in some order or another — the Kings can go in a couple different directions. If the Kings are thinking defense, Karl Alzner is the probable pick. If they’re thinking winger, Alexei Cherepanov, Sam Gagner and Jakub Voracek will all probably be there. What to do? Cherepanov is probably the best raw talent, but the Russian transfer issue is a problem (although hopefully it won’t be when it comes time for him to sign).

For what it’s worth, the mock drafts out there that I’ve seen have the Kings taking either Cherepanov or Voracek. Cherepanov is the top-rated European skater in the draft, while Alzner, Gagner and Voracek rank fifth, sixth and seventh among North American skaters. Just going on instinct, I would say it will be Alzner. Why? Only because Lombardi seemed more concerned about his depth on defense than on the wings.

At some point this week, I’ll do my best to get some member of the front office on the phone. Until then, here’s some stuff:

NHL.com did this article on Alzner and it also includes a nice bio of him.

Here’s a feature on Gagner and a couple quick profiles on Cherepanov and Voracek.

Want to judge for yourself? NHL.com has helpful video scouting reports so you can get acquainted with all the top prospects.

FInally, Shane Malloy did some painstaking work on a mock draft. In one week, we’ll all get to see how close he came!

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  • Fat Elvis

    Alzner is fine, he’s like cheese pizza. Nothing fancy and safe to be decent. However, I like things on my pizza to give it some flavor. Cherepanov and Vorecek add some spice to the pizza. Some risk in that they don’t add the right flavors or too much flavor. So do you like steady eddy cheese pizza that you know will be fine or go for it and order the works? My gut says draft the Russian and have the antacids ready.

  • puckboy25

    Can’t wait until the draft party and finally see what the KINGS do….

  • BBanzai

    I agree in the depth charts the D is what we need most. I think alexei cherepanov would prob be a good pick but the lack of work ethic hes tagged with is something to consider.
    Hopefully if the kings do get him he will be a pleasant addition to the team the way Anze Kopitar is!
    I also dont mind if the team trades the pick for a solid young prospect/player/or picks in the deeper 08 draft either.
    It should be an exciting day either way.

  • deacon blue

    Rich–It’s easy to see why your blog is so popular. Your hard work and inside information make it a great read, every time. And Kings fans are the most rabid fans in Southern California, maybe the best fans in all NHL Hockey. Here’s hoping the Kings’ crystal ball is working real well for the draft.

  • Fletch

    I really hope we stay away from Cherepanov. I don’t think he is the “character” guy DL is looking to build this team with. I hope we go for Van Riemsdyk or Alzner. And if we trade down a couple spots, I’d love to see us select Sam Gagner.

  • ChrisH

    I say Alzner or trade it for a 2008 top 10 pick. DL or anyone with the Kings won’t come out and say it but the best thing for this franchise is to stink this year so they get a top-end pick in the 08 draft and pick Stamkos, Doughty, Pietrangelo, etc. Why barely make or miss the playoffs and get a middle round pick? Have another bad year and then sign Kiprusoff in July after he gets tired of Iron Mike in Calgary. BTW, this blog is fantastic – keep up the excellent work Rich and the comments by Kings fans is a worthwhile read. Go Kings.

  • triplcrown

    I am a huge TURRIS fan (in terms of who I want the Kings to draft), but since we have little chance of nabbing him without trading up, then, out of Alzner, Cherepanov and Voracek, Voracek seems to me to be closest to a slam-dunk.

    Cherepanov has possible motivation/character issues, and sorry, but that scares me off. If we were picking considerably lower perhaps, and he were still available, maybe, just maybe I’d take him.

    But at 4th?
    We can surely do better.

    Alzner looks solid, but will likely never be a game-breaker.
    We could conceiveably draft a D-man late in the 1st (with a trade up) or even in the 2nd round who may turn out to be as solid as Alzner (just not as soon).

    Guys like Alex Plante and Tommy Cross come to mind.

    Voracek has immense skills, excellent speed and the kind of dynamism I want to see on the Kings.

    No one has EVER disparaged his motivation.

    And Voracek accomplished everything he did last year while having “conditioning issues” (supposedly detected at the NHL Draft Combine held recently).

    Once again, NO ONE has EVER suggested that Voracek’s conditioning issues have anything at all to do with personal problems or work ethic.

    What could this guy do with TOP-NOTCH conditioning?

    There’s a darn good chance he will still be available when we pick 4th.

    So…
    if he IS,

    Let’s draft him and
    find out!!

  • BAMF

    Can we just say “pass” and jump in line at number 4 next year? Every week it seems there’s a new top guy and nobody seems to be absolutely in love with anyone. It figures my two favorite teams (Kings and Blackhawks) hit it big with high draft picks in a very subpar year.

  • 24diving

    It’s not surprising that your blog is doing so well. In addition to the majority of the media in Southern California not recognizing the fan interest in the Kings, what they do write is done poorly and with distain. Your blog, however, is well written, insightful and shows an enthusiasm for the sport we love. Keep up the good work and we’ll keep reading. Shove it in your superiors’ faces, nicely of course, to let them know the fans are here and want to read about our team. Thanks for your hard work.

  • JMFJ fan

    Cherepanov all the way baby. Him and Frolov are both from Russia, it’d make perfect sense. If we don’t get him, the Caps will, and Ovechkin & team will dominate…