The American Hockey League season is underway, and the Manchester (N.H.) Monarchs’ leading scorers in their first three games are a pair of forwards who impressed during the Kings’ training camp last month in El Segundo.
The Kings trimmed their training camp roster to 34 on Saturday.
Loaned to Manchester (N.H.) of the American Hockey League:
Center Andy Andreoff, goalie J.F. Berube, center Robert Czarnik, defenseman Nicolas Deslauries, goalie Martin Jones, left wing Maxim Kitsyn, defenseman Colin Miller, right wing Brian O’Neill, defenseman Alex Roach, center Jordan Weal.
Assigned to Manchester’s training camp:
Defenseman Vincent LoVerde, right wing Cameron Maclise, goalie Mathias Niederberger, right wing Scott Sabourin.
Re-assigned to junior team:
Right wing Valentin Zykov (to Baie-Comeau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League).
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.
Christopher Gibson speaks English, Finnish and French, but has a Latin phrase etched into the back of his goalie mask: “Luctor et Emergo.” Literally, this means “I struggle and emerge.”
The Kings’ first selection in the 2011 Entry Draft, Gibson certainly struggled in his first game in a Kings uniform. Gibson allowed five goals in the third period as the Kings blew a 6-3 lead, losing 8-7 to the Phoenix Coyotes at Toyota Sports Center. The two teams will play again at 2 p.m. today at TSC, completing the two-game exhibition series between the teams.
Gibson wasn’t the only prospect who slipped on a Kings uniform for the first time Wednesday. That was a factor in 60 minutes of up-and-down hockey.
“There were a lot of nervous guys in that dressing room,” said forward Brandon Kozun, who scored two goals and added an assist on the eve of his third training camp with the Kings.
Manchester Monarchs forward Ray Kaunisto shared an interesting tidbit on his blog today. From raykaunisto.blogspot.com:
This week, starting Tuesday, the Kings let us come down to Detroit to workout and shoot with some of the development guys. It is just a two day camp that shows us how to properly shoot, stick handle, and other on ice skills, as well as helping us out with learning the kings workout.
The guys here are Kozun, Schenn, Toffoli, Dowd, Clifford, Czarnik, Weal, Nolan, and Muzzin. The days consist of two off ice sessions per day and two on ice sessions per day. Everything is pretty tough to do but it makes us better really quickly. A lot of good ideas for shooting and practicing are being passed on to us this week from some really good former NHLers. As always it’s an honor to be here and be around so many world class players and coaches.
In the last month, Jordan Weal and Tyler Toffoli made the leap from the Canadian Hockey League to the American Hockey League.
Their next jump could be to the NHL.
The Kings signed the teenage prospects to three-year, entry-level contracts Monday. Toffoli, who turns 19 on Sunday, was selected by the Kings in the second round (47th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-foot-1 center led the Ontario Hockey League in goals scored (57) and tied for the league lead in points (108) before joining the Monarchs.
Weal, who turned 19 Friday, was drafted in the third round (70th overall) in 2010. The 5-foot-10 center recorded 96 points and 43 goals in 72 regular-season games for the Western Hockey League’s Regina Pats this season.
Toffoli has scored one goal while appearing in all three games of the Monarchs’ first-round series with Binghamton. Weal hasn’t appeared in any playoff games for Manchester.