The Kings prospects found themselves severely challenged by the speed and skill of Arizona's talented rookie team.
In the first contest of the pre-season, the Los Angeles Kings' prospects played the Arizona Coyotes' prospects at
new Coyotes home stadium Kings practice facility Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo, CA. It turned out to be quite a scrappy affair, with both sides taking several penalties. It was the Kings debut of several 2015 draft picks including Erik Cernak, Austin Wagner and Chaz Rent-a-cop Reddekopp.
Early on, the Kings struggled to maintain zone time as they generally found themselves outmatched by the speed and skill of Arizona. The positive moments were largely owned by Adrian Kempe and the small but surprising combo of Spencer Watson and camp try-out Derek Arnold. Arizona tallied two goals, and likely would have scored more if it were not for the great play of Monarchs-turned-Reign backup Patrik Bartosak. They got on the board in the second period when Kempe fed Valentin Zykov with a cross-ice pass for a hard shot from the left circle while on a 5-on-3 advantage.
The prospects would score twice more in the third when Austin Wagner found himself alone in the slot with the puck, and near the closing minute when Brodzinski nailed a shallow angle shot from the left of the net. Arizona scored five times in regulation and often used their speed to skate around defenders and pick their shots against Bartosak and Prince Albert's Nick McBride. There were several penalties and scrums around the net, with Cernak and fellow d-man Kurtis MacDermid forming the basis of what was a more physical Kings squad (each would earn their own fighting major as well).
After the game ended 5-3 Arizona in regulation, the teams played a five minute 3-on-3 OT period, which is part of a league wide push to test out the format in pre-season games. The format is basically bananas as both teams trade odd man rushes and speed rules all with open ice everywhere. This played to Arizona's strengths, and they put up two more goals before the period was done.
Overall, this was somewhat of an expected result as Arizona is home to blue chip prospects Max Domi and Dylan Strome, who both played in the game. There were some bright moments from the Kings prospects, especially with newly-minted draft pick Wagner picking up a goal. The Kings will play the Coyotes again today at 2 PM, where the remainder of rookie camp participants will likely see their first playing time this pre-season.