Prospects report

Our good friend Don Fulton took the time to put together this report on some of the Kings’ top prospects in the minors and juniors. It’s a real comprehensive look and I thought everyone would enjoy it. Thanks Don!

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Jonathan Bernier (Goalie): The Kings’ first round pick (11th overall) in the 2006 draft, Bernier, 19, is currently with the Lewiston MAINEiacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League where he has posted an 18-14 record, with a goals against of 2.75 and save percentage of .907. Bernier was recently named the QMJHL’s defensive player of the week. In three starts, Bernier was 2-1, posting a 1.34 GAA and .955 SV% while facing nearly 30 shots per game. Bernier stopped 27 shots in a 3-1 victory over St. Johns on Sunday, and yesterday he made 31 saves in Lewiston’s 3-2 win over Halifax.

Brian Boyle (Forward): The Kings selected the 23-year-old Boyle with the 26th pick in the 2003 draft. Viewed by most as an interesting project with potential upside, the organization experimented with the 6-foot-7 forward on defense with their American Hockey League affiliate Manchester Monarchs this season, then just as quickly abandoned the idea and returned him to his natural spot up front on offense. The payoff has been encouraging, as Boyle has 23 goals and 49 points in 57 games with the Monarchs this season, and impressed everyone in his brief time with the Kings in February, netting four goals in eight games before returning to Manchester for the team’s playoff run.

Thomas Hickey (Defenseman): The Kings’ surprise first round selection in last year’s draft (4th overall), Hickey, 19, is currently playing with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League where he has 11 goals and 33 assists in 62 games played. Drafted as much for his leadership qualities as his defensive skills, Hickey is the Thunderbirds’ team captain and also skated a regular shift for gold medal-winning Team Canada at this year’s World Junior Hockey Championship in January.

Trevor Lewis (Forward): Lewis was a first round selection (17th overall) in the 2006 draft, the pick acquired along with Patrick O’Sullivan in the Pavol Demitra trade with the Minnesota Wild. A late-season call-up for Manchester last year (after compiling 29 goals and 73 points in his first season in the Ontario Hockey League), Lewis has eight goals and 21 points in 60 games with the Monarchs this season. The 21-year-old American is known as a play-maker with excellent instincts, decent speed, and is utilized by the Monarchs on the penalty kill. Lewis returned to the Monarchs’ lineup is yesterday’s 3-1 victory over Springfield after being a healthy scratch in the previous two games.

Oscar Moller (Forward) – Taken in the second round of the 2007 draft and 52nd overall, the 19-year-old Moller got off to a blazing hot start for the Chilliwack Bruins of the WHL this season and currently has 39 goals and 40 assists in 61 games. He has seven games in which he has scored at least two goals and 24 multiple-point games for the Bruins.

Ted Purcell (Forward): Currently playing for Manchester after signing an entry level contract with the Kings, Purcell, 22, was one of the more sought-after non-drafted players following his lone college season with the University of Maine which saw him net 16 goals and 43 points for the Black Bears. Purcell currently leads the Monarchs in points with 64 (17+47), and had a goal and assist in last night’s win over Springfield, which extended his point scoring streak to five games.

Jonathan Quick (Goalie): The 22-year old netminder was the 72nd overall selection taken in the 2005 draft, and is currently seeing duty in net for Manchester following a brief call-up with the Kings and a half season with the Reading Royals of the East Coast Hockey League. With Reading, Quick was 23-11-3 with a 2.79 goals against and .905 save percentage. In nine games with the Monarchs, Quick has four wins, including last night’s 22-save performance in the team’s 3-1 win over Springfield.

Wayne Simmonds (Forward): Simmonds, a second round selection in last year’s draft and #61 overall is currently with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League following a December trade with the Owen Sound Attack. His season essentially split between the two OHL teams, Simmonds, a 6-foot-2, 175-lbs winger has 31 goals and 38 assists in 58 games, and will see post season action with the Hounds, who have clinched a playoff spot. Simmonds, 19, has already endeared himself to Kings fans for his willingness to drop the gloves, including a memorable September preseason scrap against former Anaheim Duck Shane Hnidy.

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  • EncinoMan

    Real nice report, Don. Thanks for the updates.

  • Mark

    Simmonds should be the type of guy the Kings look for in the future.

  • 33YearKINGsFan

    Thanks for the update. Interestingly, Lauri Tukonen not mentioned. An oversight or is he that big of a disappointment?

  • Don Fulton

    33Year – Funny you should mention Tukonen, as I had him in my initial assessment along with Zatkoff, but I ran into my own self-imposed deadline and just submitted as-is.

    Tukuonen, drafted by the Kings in 2004 has been a disappointment. He did however score in the Monarchs’ win last night.

    It was his first tally in eight games…

  • Pat McGroyn

    Excellent work, Don! I really appreciate your contributions to the blog.

  • Someone

    Very nice, Don.

    Thank you very much!

  • dave fouser

    that simmonds kid, he seems like a gamer. best of luck to him.

    and check this out:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=uQ-NcX1ALhM

  • Bob Bobson

    Thx Don !

  • tantrum4

    Thanks for the info Don, but you forgot one guy that’s having an amazing year but almost everyone forgets about him when it comes to Kings prospects. Bud Hollway is currently playing in the WHL with Thomas Hickey on the Seattle Thunderbirds and is currently 12th in league scoring, right behind Oscar Moller. Hollway has 38 goals and 39 assists in 67 games this year, and has really found his game. Watch out for him at next years’ rookie camp, he might be a nice suprise!!

  • Don Fulton

    tantrum4 – Wow, that was a big omission!

    Holloway just turned 20, and in addition to lighting the lamp on a regular basis appears to be another of the “leader” types that are a rare commodity these days.

    Here is a quote from T-Birds’ head coach Rob Sumner, courtesy of the excellent Hockey’s Future website:

    He has pretty much done everything here for us these past couple seasons. He played regularly as a 16-year-old and just didnt give us any reason to keep him out of the lineup. Hes very reliable, understands the game and can play on both wings.

  • pat

    Thanks Don. Lewis is apparently having a rough start to his pro career, though I wonder sometimes how smart it is to play a guy like Gauthier, who really probably doesn’t have much of an NHL career ahead of him, on the top line while your prospects like Lewis, presumably with a higher ceiling, get 2nd or 3rd line duty. Is the first goal for Manchester to win, or to develop prospects? A fine line, I guess.

  • Hal

    There is a lot of intrigure for me surrounding Ted Purcell.

    I have my doubts he will ever make it as a top-6 winger on the Kings. Frolov, Brown, O’Sullivan and Cammalleri have those spots taken.

    He’s useless as a 4th liner since those spots usually go to guys who are “bangers” or defensive specialists.

    Third line duties? He has to beat out more complete players for that role – Tukonen, Lewis, Moller and Simmonds.
    Brian Boyle is guaranteed a spot as the centerman on this line.

  • dave fouser

    hal–
    i think you make a good point about purcell, but i don’t think that it will ultimately be a concern. first, you can never have too much depth. we’ve been pretty lucky as far as injuries go this year, but that won’t happen every year. so having a surplus of “top-six” forwards (a slippery term in any case) is not a bad thing. second, purcell is much farther along in his development than the guys he’d be competing against for. tukonen is a bust. people may argue that he needs more time, but every week we hear from manchester fans that “tukonen may be turning a corner,” or that “he’s really starting to come on,” or whatever. bottom line, the guy’s had every chance in the world to be a key player for manchester, and he doesn’t seem to have done it. so i doubt he’ll ever make it in the nhl (not that i wouldn’t be delighted if he proved me wrong). and lewis, moller, simmonds are all still years away from being nhl impact players.

    so i guess the point i’m curcuitously trying to make is that purcell has a chance to make a place for himself on the kings. he clearly has a nose for the net, and if he continues to compete hard every night, and improve, i can’t see crawford and lombardi not making a place for him on the big club. who knows, perhaps he makes someone else expendable.

    in any case, good observation on the potential logjam for scoring wingers.