Hey, it's August, and that means that we have a lot to talk about!
Wait, no, I mean the opposite of that. We don't have a lot of Kings news to talk about right now, so, like a couple of other SBNation hockey blogs, we've decided to steal and adapt Copper & Blue's Top 25 Under 25 feature. You should stick around, because it's going to be fun. And informative. Or your money back!
Even after trading for some more seasoned players, the Kings remain one of the youngest teams in the league. Justin Williams at age 31 is the oldest forward on the team, Willie Mitchell at age 36 is the oldest defenceman, and the team as it's currently constituted only has five players over age 30. The team's best player, Anže Kopitar, at 25, barely misses out on qualifying for this list. Plus, Jonathan Quick looks about sixteen, which definitely drags down the team's symbolic average age.
A lot of real and digital ink has been spilled about the Kings' youth movement, but with the losses of young players/prospects Wayne Simmonds, Andrei Loktionov, Brayden Schenn, and Thomas Hickey, the top end of that youth movement looks quite a bit different than it did during the days when the Kings had one of the most highly-regarded prospect pools in hockey. It's been a while since Jewels from the Crown took a comprehensive look at the Kings' up-and-comers, so we decided to borrow the Top 25 Under 25 format to do so.
40 players from the Kings' reserve list are under 25. We removed Oscar Möller from consideration, since he's made it clear that he's not returning to the Kings. The rest are listed below, by descending age. Where a player changed teams during the 2012-13 season, I listed the team with which he spent the majority of the season.
|Player||Position||Age||2012-13 team||Contract status|
|Keaton Ellerby||LD||24||LA Kings||UFA in 2014|
|Jake Muzzin||LD||24||LA Kings||RFA in 2015|
|Jordan Nolan||RW||24||LA Kings||RFA in 2015|
|Dwight King||LW||24||LA Kings||RFA in 2014|
|Drew Doughty||RD||23||LA Kings||UFA in 2019|
|Martin Jones||G||23||Manchester Monarchs||RFA|
|Slava Voynov||RD||23||LA Kings||UFA in 2019|
|Robbie Czarnik||C||23||Manchester Monarchs||RFA in 2014|
|Brandon Kozun||RW||23||Manchester Monarchs||RFA In 2014|
|Nic Dowd||C||23||St. Cloud State (NCAA)||unsigned|
|Kyle Clifford||LW||22||LA Kings||RFA in 2015|
|Nick Deslauriers||LD||22||Manchester Monarchs||RFA in 2014|
|Andy Andreoff||C||22||Manchester Monarchs||RFA in 2014
|Jean-François Bérubé||G||22||Ontario Reign
||RFA in 2014|
|Linden Vey||C||22||Manchester Monarchs||RFA in 2014|
|Joel Lowry||LW||21||Cornell (NCAA)||unsigned|
|Maxim Kitsyn||LW||21||HC Sarov (VHL)||RFA in 2016|
|Derek Forbort||LD||21||University of North Dakota (NCAA)||RFA in 2016|
|Kevin Gravel||LD||21||St. Cloud State (NCAA)||unsigned|
|Jordan Weal||C||21||Manchester Monarchs||RFA in 2015|
|Tyler Toffoli||RW||21||Manchester Monarchs||RFA in 2015|
|Tanner Pearson||LW||21||Manchester Monarchs||RFA in 2015|
|Paul LaDue||LD||20||Lincoln Stars (USHL)||unsigned|
|Nick Shore||C||20||University of Denver (NCAA)||RFA in 2016|
|Michael Mersch||LW||20||University of Wisconsin (NCAA)||unsigned|
|Colin Miller||RD||20||Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (OHL)||RFA in 2016|
|Tomas Hyka||RW||20||Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)||unsigned|
|Patrik Bartosak||G||20||Red Deer Rebels (WHL)||unsigned|
|Alex Roach||LD||20||Calgary Hitmen (WHL)||RFA in 2015|
|Jonny Brodzinski||C||20||St. Cloud State (NCAA)||unsigned|
|Nikolai Prokhorkin||LW||19||CSKA Moscow||RFA in 2015|
|Zach Leslie||LD||19||Guelph Storm (OHL)||unsigned|
|Kurtis MacDermid||RD||19||Owen Sound Attack (OHL)||RFA in 2015|
|Nick Ebert||RD||19||Windsor Spitfires (OHL)||unsigned|
|Justin Auger||RW||19||Guelph Storm (OHL)||unsigned|
|Valentin Zykov||LW||18||Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)||unsigned|
|Dominik Kubalik||LW||17||Sudbury Wolves (OHL)||unsigned|
Methodology & results
All five members of the blog's current regular writing staff (Robert, John, Nick, Eric, and me) voted on our Top 25 Kings players/prospects under 25, as did former JftC head honcho Quisp,
retired Battle of California Kings writer Rudy Kelly, current BoC Kings writer Ryan Dunn, Kings voice at The Hockey Writers Sheng Peng, and LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen. We each did our rankings by using the same basic method, taken from Habs Eye on the Prize: asking ourselves the question, would you trade any player straight-up for any other one? Who is more valuable going forward to the team? If choosing between two players, who would you rather have from a pure talent perspective?
Every player save three unfortunate souls (Dominik Kubalik, Zach Leslie, Joel Lowry) got at least one vote. The nine players who received votes but didn't make the Top 25, in descending order of popularity, are: Alex Roach, Jean-François Bérubé, Jonny Brodzinski, Robbie Czarnik, Paul LaDue, Nic Dowd, Patrik Bartosak, and Kurtis MacDermid. These players can be sorted into two basic groups: older guys who maybe haven't progressed as well as could be hoped (Bérubé, Czarnik, Dowd), and recently drafted or recently signed less-heralded guys whose place in the Kings' prospect pool hasn't yet been well-established (Roach, Brodzinski, LaDue, Bartosak, MacDermid).
The remaining under-25 players comprise our final Top 25 list, which we look forward to you analysing, debating, and generally tearing apart - starting tomorrow, with Mystery Bachelor #25.