Kings prospect watch: defenseman Jake Muzzin

It’s hard to describe a player with seven goals and nine assists and a team-leading plus-minus defensive rating of plus-16 in 45 games last season as a prospect. But it’s important to remember that Jake Muzzin would have spent last season with the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs of the AHL if Willie Mitchell (knee) hadn’t missed all of 2012-13 and Matt Greene (back) hadn’t sat out all but five games.

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Kings prospect watch: goalie Patrik Bartosak

Having played last season for Brent Sutter at junior-level Red Deer (Alberta) of the Western Hockey League, Patrik Bartosak knows how to decipher Sutter speak. When Kings coach Darryl Sutter issued commands at the first day of training camp Thursday, Bartosak knew exactly what he was saying. Over the years, others have been hesitant to go first during a drill for fear of misunderstanding the low Sutter growl.

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Takeaways from the Kings’ rookie game win over the Ducks (part 3)

The Kings rookies defeated their Ducks counterparts 3-2 on Monday in El Segundo, taking a hard-hitting victory in the second of two games over their rivals. Here’s what stood out most of all in a well-played and very well-attended game:

Third, the teams attracted an overflow crowd to the Toyota Sports Center despite a $5 fee, limited seating and parking and a 6 p.m. start. Coupled with an official attendance of 7,512 for Saturday’s game at the Honda Center, it means interest is very, very high in Southern California. It was great to hear chants of “Let’s go, Kings,” and “Let’s go, Ducks” from Monday’s crowd of perhaps as many as 2,000. It’s a great sign for hockey here if fans are showing their passion for their teams even before training camps open for real Thursday. 

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Takeaways from the Kings’ rookie game win over the Ducks (part 2)

The Kings rookies defeated their Ducks counterparts 3-2 on Monday in El Segundo, taking a hard-hitting victory in the second of two games over their rivals. Here’s what stood out most of all in a well-played and very well-attended game:

Second, there aren’t too many job openings on the Kings’ roster this season (as in, maybe none) and it’s likely many of their rookies are years away from being ready to play in the NHL but there were several players who looked sharp. Jordan Weal was one. Nick Shore was another. Alex Roach was a third. An old scout told me you look for players who make things happen during a game. Those three were active participants, rather than observers during Monday’s game. The puck seemed to follow them around the ice.

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Takeaways from the Kings’ rookie game win over the Ducks (part 1)

The Kings rookies defeated their Ducks counterparts 3-2 on Monday in El Segundo, taking a hard-hitting victory in the second of two games over their rivals. Here’s what stood out most of all in a well-played and very well-attended game:

First, the Kings couldn’t have withstood an early Ducks’ onslaught without the goaltending of Patrik Bartosak. He made 25 saves during his two-period stint, leaving with the Kings ahead 3-1 after 40 minutes. Bartosak, from the Czech Republic by way of Red Deer (Alberta) of the Western Hockey League, is the kind of goalie the Kings would have killed for back in the day when it seemed they had a revolving door at the position. He’s athletic, and he could be their goalie of the future if anything unfortunate were to happen to Jonathan Quick. Bartosak was easily the most impressive King on the ice Monday.

 

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Campbell scouting report

Don did a great job of getting a scouting report on Kings third-round selection Andrew Campbell, courtesy of Ben Leeson, a reporter for the Sault Star who covered Campbell’s junior team in Sault Ste. Marie. On a related note, I’ve received several emails since the draft from people in Canada who have seen Campbell play and are excited about him. Lombardi described him as a Wayne Simmonds-type prospect, in terms of being a late bloomer, and there’s growing evidence of that. Here’s Ben Leeson’s scouting report…

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“Campbell is a come-from-behind prospect and made some very big strides in 2007-08.

He plays a solid positional game at both ends of the ice, is a solid penalty killer and won himself power-play time down the stretch this past season.

He’s tough for forward to beat because of his big wingspan and willingness to finish checks.

He’s not known as a tough guy, but we’ll drop the gloves and hold his own when need be.

He has a nice wrist shot that he gets off quickly.

He had success playing with slapshot artist Josh Godfrey on the power play last year. With Godfrey covered, Campbell often took a pass and snuck in deep and beat the goaltender.

While he’s deceptively strong, he could probably pack on a few pounds of muscle to handle the big boys in the professional game. And he’s not a bad skater, but getting quicker would help.”

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And here’s a video of Campbell (in the dark jersey) in action…

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Prospect evaluation: Zatkoff

Here’s the last of the prospect evaluations. Thanks again to Don for tracking down all this information and doing such comprehensive reports…

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Jeff Zatkoff
Goaltender
DOB – 6-9-87
Record/Stats:
Miami/Ohio (NCAA): 27-8-1, 1.72, .933

Zatkoff on his own play this year:

“From a statistical point of view I was very happy. I worked extremely hard at a few camps we had, working on my style and my stance and that helped me a lot in terms of this year just being bigger. I’m a butterfly goalie, but at the same time I don’t like to stay strictly butterfly. I like to watch the puck and use my athleticism.”

Development areas (from Hockey’s Future):

While Zatkoff does a good job of steering pucks away from the crease, his puck handling, particularly in controlling rebounds is an area that should improve with continued growth and development.

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Prospect evaluation: Simmonds

Wayne Simmonds
Forward
DOB – 8-26-88
Stats:
Owen Sound (OHL)
- Regular season: 17 goals, 22 assists (39 points), 43 PIM
Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
- Reg season: 16 goals, 20 assists (36 points), 68 PIM
- Post season: 5 goals, 9 assists (14 points), 32 PIM

Reporter Ben Leeson from The Sault Star on Simmonds:

“Simmonds is a tough player to contain because of his speed, strength and reach. He seems to maximize all three when he gets a little fierce and battles hard to get into scoring position and pursue rebounds. His wrist shot is hard and accurate and he uses it well even when driving off the wing under pressure from defenders. He’s strong on the puck and smart away from it. He excels when he has a centre who knows how to find him. His conditioning is superb. He never seems to tire much.”
“Wayne has an NHL frame, but at 175 pounds he could stand to pack on weight if he wants to make the most of it. Sometimes he needs to just let a shot go instead of looking for the nice play. He should be ready for the pro game next year. If he develops at the same rate he has been, I could see him becoming a 20- or 25-goal man at the NHL level.”

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Prospect evaluation: Rowat

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Linden Rowat
Goaltender
DOB – 6-27-89
Record/Stats:
Regina (WHL)
- Reg season: 33-15-4, 2.68, .904
- Post season: 2-3, 3.17, .872

Regina Pats’ Coach Curtis Hunt on Linden Rowat:

“His maturity level was just unbelievable the last two years, and even beyond his numbers I think he has done a real good job of changing the things that were maybe a staple in his play, and is just more aggressive and patient. He is really good at reading the rushes and reading the play.”

“He’s got a tremendous work ethic, whether it be in games, practice or in his sessions with the goaltender coach, and he’s one of those kids that’s a quiet leader in our room as well.”

Development areas:

“He just needs to continue his learning in how to read the rush and understand the options on the rush for the opposing team, both with possession and with dump pucks. He needs to also continue to play with a predator mentality and be aggressive in the goal. You look at guys like Luongo who are big and when they get out of the net there is not a lot of twine to shoot at – we just want him to learn how to play aggressive all the time and trust his defensemen.”

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Prospect evaluation: Quick

Jonathan Quick
Goaltender
DOB – 1-21-86
Records/Stats:
Kings: 1-2, 3.84, .855
Reading (ECHL): 23-11-2, 2.79, .905
Manchester (AHL)
- Reg season: 11-8-0, 2.32, .922
- Post season: 0-1, 1.02, .974

Manchester coach Mark Morris on Jon Quick:

“I definitely think that he has had the full gamut of experiences. I think he was real fortunate to get all the minutes that he could in Reading and when he got the call to the NHL he performed admirably. It really has been quite a roller coaster that he has been on in terms of movement, but he was as good as they get for us. In his playoff game he did all he could to keep the game close and he gave us every opportunity to win that game.”

Development areas:

“He is an extremely competitive goaltender and he is so flexible and so acrobatic. Some of the body positions that he gets in and some of the ways that he finds to stop pucks is not normal. His compete level in practice is extremely high and if he just gets a little better positionally he won’t have to rely on his reflexes so much.”

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