The Kings don’t have a first-round pick in Sunday’s NHL Entry Draft, having sent the selection to the Columbus Blue Jackets to complete the trade for Jeff Carter on Feb. 23, 2012. The Kings’ highest pick Sunday will be late in the second round (57th overall). Their history of second-round picks was pretty shabby in their early days. Dean Kennedy (1981), anyone? But it has picked up considerably in recent years.
Here’s a look at some of the Kings’ better second-round selections in the 2000s:
2000: Andreas Lilja, defenseman. He only played 45 games for the Kings, but was a productive player for the Detroit Red Wings and was on their Stanley Cup championship team in 2008. Also played with Florida, Anaheim and Philadelphia.
2001: Michael Cammalleri, center. He had several excellent seasons with the Kings, including an 80-point year in 2006-07 (34 goals, 46 assists). The Kings then traded him to the Calgary Flames in 2008 for a first-round draft pick. Signed with the Montreal Canadiens and then was shipped back to Calgary in 2011-12.
2008: Slava Voynov, defenseman. He just agreed to a six-season contract extension worth $25 million, so that should tell you something about how the Kings feel about the 23-year-old Russian. The Kings had to act quickly in order to keep him off the free-agent market, which also tells you how much they coveted his services.
2009: Kyle Clifford, left wing. He’s a tough guy in a league that no longer encourages fighting, but the Kings value his hard-working style of play and he earned plenty of ice during the last two seasons, in particular. His future remains uncertain since the NHL continues to do all it can to make fighting a thing of the past.
2010: Tyler Toffoli, center/right wing. If you didn’t notice his play in his short stints with the Kings after his recall from the minor leagues, then you weren’t paying attention. Crafty, skillful and one of those guys the puck seems to follow around the ice. Skills like his are a gift and can’t be taught. Might have the brightest future of any current Kings prospect.