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I can't figure out if Nic Dowd is a good prospect or not so I'm just going to list some facts and see if you can figure it out:
-Nic Dowd is from Huntsville, AL, home of Paula Poundstone, Bo Bice, and about a billion football players
-What Huntsville, AL is not home to: hockey players
-In 2013-14, Nic Dowd was captain of the St. Cloud State Huskies hockey team, averaged over a point a game, and was a finalist for the Hobey Baker award
-He is 4 months younger than Slava Voynov
-He did this as a 23-year old in a competitive college league
-Dowd's game is best described as "high energy" and he was the NCHC Defensive Forward of the Year
-He took 16 minors in 38 games, which is a little high; also he's already 24 what the Hell
-SBN Hockey ranked Nic Dowd as the 15th best NHL prospect in the NCAA last year
-His twitter is boring
-He was also the NCHC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
-If he's so smart, why does he spell his name wrong?
Nic Dowd's last season was fantastic. He did everything for St. Cloud State; he was their leading goalscorer and their best defensive forward. He was old for the league but I mean, it's better than being old for the league and not dominating I guess. The highlight of his year was this goal against Notre Dame in the West Regional. Kid can shoot! (The video was filmed by John Carpenter in 1980 but it's the only one that shows the nice defensive play that Dowd made to get the scoring opportunity in the first place.)
The big problem with Dowd is that it's hard to tell if he was legitimately great or if he was great in relation to his younger competition. History is filled with 5th year seniors dominating in college and then doing nothing in the pros. The Hobey Baker doesn't have an illustrious history, let alone its finalists. He played 7 games for the Monarchs at the end of last season and... was okay. He had 3 assists and was generally down on the depth chart, behind Jordan Weal, Linden Vey and Nick Shore.
Going, forward, it's hard to tell where Dowd fits in the future, at least down the middle. Dowd is not as offensively gifted as Weal and he doesn't have the defensive reputation of Shore. With Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter, and Mike Richards all signed long-term, there doesn't seem to be much space for Dowd.
Where Dowd could fit, however, is at right wing. Dowd's best opportunity to make the Kings could be as a replacement for Trevor Lewis. The parallels are there: defensive center, good speed, character guy. What Dowd has that Lewis doesn't is the ability to
hit the goddamn net create offensive opportunities. Lewis is signed for 2 more years but if the Kings get caught in a cap pinch and Dowd makes him expendable, I could see the Kings using Dowd as a replacement. Can you imagine Trevor Lewis if he could shoot? He'd be my favorite player of all time.
Dowd also benefits because he's probably the most NHL-ready forward that can clear waivers on the roster. He's also right handed, unlike Kyle Clifford, Andy Andreoff and Jordan Nolan. If the Kings need a 4th line forward in a pinch, I can definitely see them calling up Dowd.
Dowd's upside is likely as a depth player, but that's okay. Lots of guys are depth players. He'll likely center the Monarchs' 3rd line next season and get plenty of defensive zone draws. If he's going to make the Kings, he's going to do it with his defensive play and his work along the boards. There's only a small chance but, hey, Dowd went from Huntsville, AL to captaining one of the best teams in the NCAA; I'm not going to count him out.