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Kings of Tomorrow: Prospect Roundup

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The latest update on LA Kings prospects; Kupari, Ingham hot...Shafigullin, Hrenak not so much.

Barrie Colts v Niagara IceDogs Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Note from the Editor: Say hello to our newest contributor, Matt! He’ll be working the prospect beat for us. Here’s a little about Matt, in his own words:

Matt Pelkey is from Ontario, Canada and has been involved in sports his entire life. When his then-favorite Toronto Maple Leafs player, Felix Potvin, began playing for the Los Angeles Kings when Matt was 10 years old, he attended a game in L.A. and has been a die-hard ever since. Matt is an avid follower of all major North American sports and is a former competitive athlete in lacrosse. Digital Marketer by day and Kings writer by night, Matt is thrilled to join the JFTC team to bring the community the latest news on the future players of the L.A. Kings.


Welcome to a bi-weekly column where we provide an update on the Los Angeles Kings prospects who aren’t playing in the AHL or ECHL. The players on this list are property of the Kings and covers every league they’re in, whether it be the OHL, KHL or Swedish Elite League.

These prospects are the future of the Kings and we’re here to keep tabs on them.

We covered each players journey over a three-week period from Monday, October 29 through Tuesday, November 20 for a bonus first edition. Future editions will cover each player’s previous two-week stretch of games.


Rasmus Kupari - C - Karpat (SM-liiga)

The Kings’ 2018 1st-round pick continued his hot start to the Finnish Elite League season over the past few weeks. In 5 games, Kupari put up 5 points (2g, 3a) for the first-place Karpat, who are undefeated in their last 8 games and 19-2-0-1 on the season.

Despite being the youngest player on the team, the 6’1”, 183 lb forward sits 4th on the team in scoring with 15 points in 20 games and has already surpassed his 2017-18 point total (also with Karpat) in 19 fewer games.

Kupari also participated in two Champions League Playoff games with Karpat against Zurich. He went pointless in Karpat’s 4-4 tie and 3-2 win.

He’s looking as advertised so far to Kings fans. Check out Kupari’s quick-touch primary assist below from Karpat’s 4-0 win over Jukurit:

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
10.31/18 vs ILV W2-1 2 0 2 2
11.2/18 @ HAM W4-1 0 0 0 -1
11.3/18 @ VS W3-2 0 1 1 -1
*11.6/18 @ ZUR T4-4 0 0 0 0
11.15/18 vs JUK W4-0 0 2 2 1
11.17/18 vs TPS W3-2 0 0 0 0
*11.20/18 vs ZUR W3-2 0 0 0 0

*Denotes Champions League Playoffs

2018-19 - Karpat (SM-liiga)

GP: 20 | G: 6 | A: 9 | P: 15 | +/-: +4


Akil Thomas - C - Niagara (OHL)

Akil Thomas is having arguably the best start to the 2018-19 season of any Los Angeles prospect.

The 18-year-old currently has 27 points in 17 games for the Niagara Ice Dogs in the Ontario Hockey League and notched 2 assists in 2 games in a recent home-and-home with the Mississauga Steelheads.

However, Thomas suffered an upper-body injury in the second game of the back-to-back and has missed his team’s last 5 games. The 2nd-round pick flew to Los Angeles to be evaluated by team staff and is currently listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

Before the injury, Thomas had 7 points in his last 4 games and was supposed to play for Team OHL in the CHL Canada-Russia series, which concluded November 15.

Despite having played in just 17 games so far this season, Thomas still sits 24th in the OHL in points as of November 20.

Editor’s Note: Thomas returned from injury November 23, after this post was written. His progress will be updated in the next edition.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.1/18 vs MIS W3-1 0 1 1 2
11.2/18 @ MIS L4-2 0 1 1 0
11.9/18 vs NB L4-3OT DNP
11.10/18 @ NB L4-3 DNP
11.15/18 vs HAM W6-3 DNP
11.17/18 @ ERI W6-3 DNP
11.18/19 @ OSH L4-3OT DNP

2018-19 - Niagara (OHL)

GP: 17 | G: 8 | A: 19 | P: 27 | +/-: +10


Bulat Shafigullin - F - Nizhnekamsk (KHL)

Ah, Mr. Shafigullin - the Kings’ 2018 3rd-rounder who also has the best name in LA’s prospect pool (and probably most teams’ prospect pools, too).

The Russian-born forward finally scored his first goal of 2018-19 on November 6th... except it wasn’t for his KHL team. Shafigullin recently returned to Russia after being in Canada playing for his country in the CHL Canada-Russia series. The intriguing prospect put up 1 point (a goal in Russia’s 3-1 win over the WHL) and a -1 rating in 5 tournament games.

Back in the KHL, the 6’1” forward has struggled immensely in 18-19, recording 0 points in 22 games for Nizhnekamsk largely due to the fact that he’s getting very limited ice-time each game.

In his last 3 games before departing for the tournament, Shafigullin registered a time-on-ice of 6:44, 5:42, and 5:43. That’s a tough situation to produce - and develop - in when you’re barely getting 5 minutes of ice time per game.

His contract in the KHL expires at the end of April 2019, so it will be interesting to see what the Kings’ approach is with him. Does Shafigullin sign an entry-level deal and play a year in Major Junior in Canada? It would help him get acclimated to the game in North America as well as allow him to develop and get some heavy ice time. Something to keep an eye on.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
*11.5/18 @ WHL L2-1 0 0 0 -1
*11.6/18 vs WHL W3-1 1 0 1 1
*11.8/18 @ OHL L3-1 0 0 0 -1
*11.12/18 vs OHL W4-0 0 0 0 0
*11.13/18 @ QMJHL W5-1 DNP
*11.15/18 vs QMJHL W3-2OT 0 0 0 0

*Denotes CHL Canada-Russia Series

2018-19 - Nizhnekamsk (KHL)

GP: 22 | G: 0 | A: 0 | P: 0 | +/-: -4


Owen Sound Attack v Windsor Spitfires Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

Aidan Dudas - C - Owen Sound (OHL)

One of two players on this list who play for Owen Sound, Dudas is a player who is starting to heat up.

Over the past few weeks, the small but exciting Dudas played in 8 games where he picked up 11 points (3g, 8a) and an even plus-minus rating. The Parry Sound, ON native - the same town that Bobby Orr is from - had 31 goals and 65 points in 68 games last season and is on pace to eclipse those numbers this year. He’s currently playing on his team’s top line and is an assistant captain.

Last month, CBC hosted “Hometown Hockey” from Dudas’ hometown and did a nice story on the LA 2018 4th-round pick, giving fans a look into what makes the shifty forward the player and person he is today.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.2/18 @ OSH W6-4 2 1 3 0
11.3/18 vs LON L6-5SO 1 1 2 0
11.4/18 @ HAM L5-2 0 0 0 -3
11.10/18 vs ERI W4-0 0 1 1 2
11.11/18 vs ERI W4-2 0 2 2 -1
11.14/18 vs SAR W6-1 0 1 1 0
11.15/18 @ PBO L4-3OT 0 1 1 1
11.17/18 vs FLI W5-2 0 1 1 1

2018-19 - Owen Sound (OHL)

GP: 23 | G: 11 | A: 14 | P: 25 | +/-: -3


David Hrenak - G - St. Cloud State (NCAA)

David Hrenak is undefeated in 2018-19 for a 11-1 St. Cloud State team. The 6’2” netminder went 5-0 in the previous three weeks, beating Colorado College and Denver twice each and Bemidji State once.

Don’t let his record fool you so quickly, though.

Although he has a perfect 8-0 record as of November 20, the 2018 5th-rounder only posted a save percentage of .900 or higher in 1 of his last 5 games.

His best game from the three-week stretch came in a 2-1 win against Colorado College, where he made 30 saves and owned a .967 SV%. Hrenak allowed at least 3 goals in each of the other 4 games on 15, 24, 18, and 24 shots, which gave him save percentages of .800, .875,.833, and .833, respectively (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Despite the recent struggles for the netminder, he still has a .907 SV% with a 2.13 GAA on the season and is undefeated. This past 5-game stretch is likely just a small bump in the road for the Slovakian, but it’s something to check in on every now and again.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
11.2/18 @ CC W5-3 W 3 15 0.800 4-0
11.3/18 @ CC W2-1 W 1 30 0.967 5-0
11.9/18 vs DEN W4-3 W 3 24 0.875 6-0
11.10/18 vs DEN W4-3 W 3 18 0.833 7-0
11.16/18 vs BSU W2-0 DNP
11.17/18 vs BSU W7-4 W 4 24 0.833 8-0

2018-19 - St. Cloud State (NCAA)

GP: 8 | W/L: 8-0 | GA: 17 | SV: 165 | SV%: .907 | SO: 1


Johan Sodergran - RW - Linkopings HC (SweHL)

Sodergran played in two Linkopings HC games over the last few weeks before heading over to the Czech Republic with the Swedish Junior team, who participated in the 4 Nations Tournament from November 9-11.

However, in Sweden’s first game in tournament play on November 9 against the Czech Republic, Sodergran was the victim of a hit to the head and missed the remainder of the tournament with a concussion. Based off of reports out of Sweden, it sounded like it was a bad one, but the Swede is expected to join Linkopings for their next game on November 22.

The Kings’ 6th-round pick from this past summer posted 1 goal over the two games with Linkopings before his injury and now has 7 points (5g, 2a) in 15 games for a team that also features former NHLers Derek Roy and Jonas Gustavsson.

Sodergran has been a pleasant surprise for Linkopings up to this point of the season and should have a realistic shot of making Team Sweden at the World Juniors in December.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
10.30/18 vs DJU L4-3SO 1 0 1 0
11.1/18 @ DJU L2-1 0 0 0 1
11.3/18 @ FRO L4-1 DNP
*11.9/18 @ CZE L5-1 0 0 0
11.13/18 vs VAX L3-1 DNP
11.15/18 @ HV W3-1 DNP
11.17/18 vs ORE L4-3OT DNP

*Denotes 4 Nations Tournament

2018-19 - Linkopings (SweHL)

GP: 15 | G: 5 | A: 2 | P: 7 | +/-: +4


Niagara IceDogs v Mississauga Steelheads Photo by Graig Abel/Getty Images

Jacob Ingham - G - Mississauga (OHL)

The 2nd goaltender on this list, Jacob Ingham had a busy stretch as he played in 8 games over the last three weeks with the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads.

In those 8 games, the red-hot Ingham had a record of 6-2, highlighted by a 4-2 victory over Niagara where the netminder had 37 saves and received First Star honors. He also had a 32-save victory over Guelph that earned him the game’s Third Star on November 14.

Ingham totaled a .927 SV% and 2.13 GAA over the 8-game stretch. The Kings’ 2018 7th-rounder’s performance over his past 3 appearances earned him some consideration for the CHL’s Goaltender of the Week award, which eventually went to Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Ian Scott.

He currently has 13 of second place Mississauga’s 14 wins on the 2018-19 season.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
11.1/18 @ NIA L3-1 L 3 34 0.912 7-5-1
11.2/18 vs NIA W4-2 W 2 39 0.949 8-5-1
11.4/18 vs KGN W5-2 W 2 21 0.905 9-5-1
11.9/18 @ SAG L5-1 L 5 31 0.839 9-6-1
11.10/18 @FLI W5-4 W 0 10 1.000 10-6-1
11.14/18 vs GUE W4-1 W 1 33 0.970 11-6-1
11.16/18 @ KGN W5-1 W 1 19 0.947 12-6-1
11.18/18 vs SBY W5-3 W 3 28 0.893 13-6-1

2018-19 - Mississauga (OHL)

GP: 20 | R: 13-6-1 | GA: 53 | SV: 528 | SV%: .909 | SO: 1


Mikey Anderson - D - U. of Minn-Duluth (NCAA)

Riding a 6-game win streak at the time, Mikey Anderson’s Minnesota-Duluth’s team racked up an additional two wins in back-to-back home games against Colorado College, extending the streak to 8. A loss at Denver the following weekend would put an end to the run, however.

Despite not recording a point in two contests against Colorado, Anderson was a +2 and a big contributor in dominating defensive performances where his Bulldogs allowed just one goal.

After putting up 23 points in 39 games in his freshman year, the second-year blueliner for the Bulldogs began 2018-19 with 4 points in 5 games but has gone pointless in his last 7. He tied a season-high with 6 shots in Minnesota-Duluth’s 4-3 OT win at Denver.

The Minnesota native is known for his strong defensive game and high hockey IQ. He has 4 points (2g, 2a) in 12 games this season.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.9/18 vs CC W3-0 0 0 0 0
11.10/18 vs CC W5-1 0 0 0 2
11.16/18 @ DEN L2-0 0 0 0 0
11.17/18 @ DEN W4-3OT 0 0 0 -1

2018-19 - Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)

GP: 12 | G: 2 | A: 2 | P: 4 | +/-: +1


Markus Phillips - D - Owen Sound (OHL)

The busiest player - by far - on this list was Markus Phillips, who played in a total of 10 games - 8 in the OHL with Owen Sound and 2 games for Team OHL in the Canada-Russia series - over the past 3 weeks.

A strong skater who is known for his defensive prowess and positioning, the 4th-round pick by LA in 2017 compiled two points (0g, 2a) in Owen Sound’s last 8 games with a +1 rating. He’s currently ranked 5th among all OHL defensemen with 70 shots and had a season-high 9 SOG in the Attack’s 4-2 win against Erie on November 11.

He went pointless with a -2 rating in the Canada-Russia series games.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.2/18 @ OSH W6-4 0 0 0 0
11.3/18 vs LON L6-5SO 0 0 0 0
11.4/18 @ HAM L5-2 0 0 0 -1
*11.8/18 vs RUS W3-1 0 0 0 -1
11.10/18 vs ERI W4-0 0 0 0 1
11.11/18 vs ERI W4-2 0 0 0 0
*11.12/18 vs RUS L4-0 0 0 0 -1
11.14/18 vs SAR W6-1 0 2 2 1
11.15/18 @ PBO L4-3OT 0 0 0 0
11.17/18 vs FLI W5-2 0 0 0 1

*Denotes CHL Canada-Russia Series

2018-19 - Owen Sound (OHL)

GP: 23 | G: 1 | A: 7 | P: 8 | +/-: +3


Cole Hults - D - Penn State (NCAA)

Cole Hults is having a monstrous sophomore year for Penn State, having recently put up 6 points (1g, 5a) in a 4-game span for the Nittany Lions before going pointless in his last two.

The 2017 5th-round defender registered a season-high 3 points and a +3 rating in an 11-6 victory over Robert Morris as his squad improved its season record to 8-1. He also had two assists in a 7-2 win over the same Robert Morris team one night earlier.

Hults, listed at 6’2”, is known as a strong-skating defenseman who can contribute at both ends of the ice. He is currently 4th on the Nittany Lions with a +11 rating through 11 games.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.2/18 vs ARI ST W6-5 0 1 1 2
11.3/18 vs ARI ST L4-3OT 0 0 0 1
11.9/18 vs RM W7-2 0 2 2 2
11.10/18 @ RM W11-6 1 2 3 3
11.16/18 vs MICH L6-4 0 0 0 1
11.17/18 vs MICH W7-6 0 0 0 -1

2018-19 - Penn State (NCAA)

GP: 11 | G: 1 | A: 7 | P: 8 | +/-: +11


Jacob Moverare - D - Frolunda HC (SweHL)

Moverare is currently on loan manning the blueline in the Swedish Elite League for third place Frolunda.

The Swede is praised for his slick passing, vision, and positioning on the ice. The right-hand shot Moverare scored his first goal of the 2018-19 campaign in a 4-1 win over Sodergran’s Linkopings HC on November 3.

After putting up 21 points in 32 games last season in the OHL, Moverare is playing against men this year in Sweden and has recorded 2 points in 11 games with a -5 rating so far. He has has struggled to stay in the lineup, having only played in 11 of Frolunda’s 18 games so far.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
10.30/18 vs ORE W2-1 DNP
11.1/18 vs MAL W3-0 0 0 0 0
11.3/18 vs LKP W4-1 1 0 1 2
11.13/18 vs SKE L3-2 0 1 1 0
11.15/18 @ DJU W4-3SO DNP

2018-19 - Frolunda (SweHL)

GP: 11 | G: 1 | A: 1 | P: 2 | +/-: -5


Gold Medal - 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

Alexander Dergachyov - C - St. Petersburg (KHL)

Dergachyov is an intriguing prospect for many reasons. He is 6’5” and was drafted in 2015 by the Kings but has yet to play a game in North America. He’s currently playing in his native Russia for St. Petersburg SKA, who sits 2nd in the KHL with a 22-4-1-2 record.

Over the past few of weeks, St. Petersburg played in 7 games; Dergachyov played in 3 of them, where he failed to record a point and had a -2 rating. He has missed the team’s last 4 games because of a hematoma.

The 22-year-old Dergachyov has been playing in the KHL for the last 4 seasons and has 6 points (4g, 2a) in 19 games this season.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
10.30/18 vs KUN W5-1 0 0 0 0
11.2/18 vs AMU @3-2 0 0 0 -2
11.5/18 @ CSKA L3-1 0 0 1 0
11.12/18 vs AVT W5-2 DNP
11.14/18 vs VLA W8-2 DNP
11.16/18 vs CHE W1-0 DNP
11.18/18 vs MAG W2-1 DNP

2018-19 - St. Petersburg (KHL)

GP: 19 | G: 4 | A: 2 | P: 6 | +/-: +4


Nikolay Prokhorkin - C - St. Petersburg (KHL)

Although he’s not really “prospect” anymore since he chooses to stay in the KHL, fellow Russian Nikolay Prokhorkin is playing alongside Dergachyov on St. Petersburg and is currently listed on the NHL’s Reserve List. The Kings still own his rights should he decide to come to North America.

Prokhorkin was drafted back in 2012 by the Kings and, aside from an 8-game stint in the AHL in 2012-13, has been playing in the KHL.

He recently played for Russia at the Deutschland Cup (where new LA Kings assistant coach Marco Sturm was behind the bench with Germany) where he was named Captain and totaled 4 points (0g, 4a) in 3 games for a Russian squad who went 3-0.

When he returned to his St. Petersburg team, the 6’1” forward put up 3 goals and 2 assists in his first game back and has 7 points (3g, 4a) in his last 3 games.

Although it’s unknown if the winger will ever sign with the Kings and return to North America, it’s still worth keeping an eye on him.

Oct. 29 - Nov. 20

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
*11.8/18 vs GER W4-3 0 2 2 2
*11.10/18 vs SVK W2-1 0 0 0 -1
*11.11/18 vs SWI W4-2 0 2 2 1
11.14/18 vs VLA W8-2 3 2 5 2
11.16/18 vs CHE W1-0 0 0 0 0
11.18/18 vs MAG W2-1 0 2 2 0

*Denotes Deutschland Cup

2018-19 - St. Petersburg (KHL)

GP: 16 | G: 10 | A: 4 | P: 14 | +/-: +9


Injuries

Jaret Anderson-Dolan - (Wrist)

Anderson-Dolan broke his wrist in a game with Spokane (WHL) on October 27. It was announced on November 5 that the 2017 2nd-round pick would undergo surgery in Los Angeles and be out 6-8 weeks.

The Calgary native had 2 points - both goals - in 2 games since being sent back to junior after beginning the season with the Kings.

With a legitimate chance to make Team Canada for the IIHF World Juniors in December, his spot on the team could be in jeopardy depending on how he heals.

Matt Villalta - (Leg)

Matt Villalta suffered a freak injury when he was warming up for a game with Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) back on November 4. The netminder was cut on the back of his leg from the skate of a linesman.

The injury was not thought to be serious with Villalta only expected to miss 1-2 weeks. However, nearly three weeks later the 6’4” goalie has yet to return to the crease.

Prior to his injury, Villalta owned a 9-2 record with a 2.76 GAA and .913 SV% with a shutout.

Editor’s Note: Villalta returned from injury November 23, after this post was written. His progress will be updated in the next edition.


Who’s Hot

C Rasmus Kupari - The 18-year old Kupari averaged a point-per-game over the last 3 weeks and sits 4th in team scoring as the youngest player on his club.

G Jacob Ingham - 6-2 in 8 appearances with a .927 SV% and 2.13 GAA over those games? That’s good. You know what else is good? Having such a good week that you’re considered for the CHL’s Goalie of the Week award, which Ingham was.

Who’s Cold

RW Bulat Shafigullin - Shafigullin is having a tough 2018-19, having failed to score a single point in 22 KHL games and managed just 1 point (a goal) in 5 games in the CHL’s Canada-Russia series.

G David Hrenak - Although he’s having a solid season (and is undefeated), Hrenak’s most recent 3-week stretch was a rough one as he allowed 14 goals in 5 games with a .862 SV%.

This wraps up our bi-weekly roundup of LA prospects. Be sure to check back in 2 weeks for another update on the Kings of the future.