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2018 Los Angeles Kings Top 25 Under 25: Honorable Mentions

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With only 25 spots on our list, some players had to miss. It’s just math! Get to know them now.

Prince George Cougars v Vancouver Giants Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images

Our annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown has begun! The rankings were determined by a combination of reader voting and our staff’s own voting. We then combined the reader rankings (50%) and the staff rankings (50%) to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 3, 2018, when the 2018-19 NHL season begins.

The votes are all tallied and your top 25 list is coming at you starting on Monday, but first, we wanted to give you a glimpse of some players who just barely missed the cut. Yes, that’s right, for the first time in ages, the Kings have enough prospects in the system that some just won’t make the top of our list.

The prospects below are presented in alphabetical order.

Aidan Dudas
Forward, Owen Sound Attack
2018, 4th round draft pick
2017-18 Stats: 68 GP, 31G, 34A

At 5’7”, Dudas fits into the “undersized, speedy forward” category of players. He tripled his points output from his first year in juniors to his sophomore campaign and has the opportunity to continue to grow his game. Drafting him was a bit of a gamble, but Dudas has a good shot and vision on-ice. Keep an eye on him, as a strong season in the OHL this year could make him start to climb up the top prospects list.

Stepan Falkovsky
Defense, Ontario Reign
2017, free agent
2017-18 Stats: 44 GP, 3G, 4A

Drafted by the Calgary Flames but unsigned, Falkovsky signed an ELC with the Kings last summer. He’d already spent a year in the ECHL with Adirondack, where he put up 32 points in 54 games. Falkovsky wasn’t able to replicate that success at the AHL level. The 6’7” defenseman is more of a long-term project and will have to fight for ice time on a crowded blue line this year.

David Hrenak
Goalie, St. Cloud State University
2018, 5th round draft pick
2017-18 Stats: 25 GP, 2.11 GAA, .919 Sv%

Goalies are notoriously hard to project at the NHL level, but Hrenak backstopped one of the best teams in the NCAA last year. He came in as a freshman and won the starter’s role for himself. While St. Cloud struggled in the Frozen Four regional semi-final, losing to Air Force, they were 25–8–6 in the regular season. There’s been some turnover at St. Cloud; aside from players like Mikey Eyssimont turning pro, their coach has also left to take the head coaching position at University of Minnesota. So there will be change all around for the Huskies. It will be interesting to see if Hrenak can repeat his success in net.

Cole Hults
Defense, Penn State
2017, 5th round draft pick
2017-18 Stats: 38 GP, 3G, 17A

Hults stepped into a larger role than expected during his freshman year at Penn State. Turnover on the blue line gave him a great opportunity to prove himself, and he showed he was capable of taking on tough minutes. His 20 points on the season put him in the top 10 for scoring by freshmen defensemen in the NCAA. With the departure of his defense partner, senior Erik Autio, Hults will have a great chance to take on more minutes and responsibility in the 2018-19 season.

Jacob Ingham
Goalie, Mississauga Steelheads
2018, 6th round draft pick
2017-18 Stats: 43 GP, 3.65 GAA, .880 Sv%

Ingham is absolutely a project in net. After an outstanding rookie campaign in Mississauga, Ingham’s performance took a nose dive last season. He’s an athletic goalie who, when at his best, was one of the most highly touted goalies in the OHL. If Ingham can rebound from his bad season, he could be a steal of a prospect.

Cole Kehler
Goalie, Ontario Reign
2017, free agent
2017-18 Stats: 53 GP, 2.27 GAA, .909 Sv% (Portland Winterhawks)

Signed as a free agent, Kehler had a breakthrough year with the Portland Winterhawks. He’d previously attracted some NHL attention from his hometown Winnipeg Jets, and the Kings were quick to offer him a contract when they had the opportunity. It’s unclear where Kehler is going to play this season. With Cal Petersen and Peter Budaj in Ontario, the net is pretty full and they’re unlikely to carry three goalies. Kehler could be sent to the ECHL or loaned to another team.

Matt Luff
Forward, Ontario Reign
2016, free agent
2017-18 Stats: 67 GP, 12G, 17A

Coming in on last year’s Top 25 list at #22, Luff’s position has slipped a bit. The undrafted forward had an okay year in Ontario — his 29 points were second in rookie scoring on the team. As one of the younger players on the team, Luff is still a work in progress. With one year of pro hockey under his belt now, the 2018-19 season will be important to see how Luff grows and responds.

Brad Morrison
Forward, Ontario Reign
2018, free agent
2017-18 Stats: 72 GP, 27G, 48A (Vancouver Giants/Lethbridge Hurricanes)

Morrison is one of the most intriguing prospects to have gotten left out of the top 25. He’s known as a speedy forward who’s good with the puck. It took him a few seasons to get going at the junior level but really seemed to find his game during his final season. He’s shown a strong scoring touch at the juniors level and absolutely dominated the playoffs. Morrison led the WHL playoffs in scoring; his 37 points (in 16 games) were the most in a WHL post-season since 2002. This will be his first season in professional hockey.

Matt Roy
Defense, Ontario Reign
2015, 7th round draft pick
2017-18 Stats: 49 GP, 4G, 13A

Two strong seasons at Michigan Tech propelled Roy to turn pro at the end of 2016-17, forgoing his senior season. Ontario Head Coach Mike Stothers noted that Roy had a solid rookie year with the Reign. The organization had been happy with his progression in the NCAA prior to turning pro, and while he may not be a flashy defensive prospect, he has a chance to take on a larger role on a relatively young blue line in Ontario this year.

Bulat Shafigullin
Forward, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk
2018, 3rd round draft pick
2017-18 Stats: KHL, 17 GP, 2A; VHL 1 GP, no points; MHL, 22 GP, 20G, 16A

Shafigullin dominated the MHL (KHL developmental league) playoffs last season, with 15 points in 9 games. He didn’t make much noise in the KHL, but held his own as a teenager playing against men. Shafigullin should see more KHL ice time next season, when we’ll be able to get a better idea of how his game could possibly translate to the NHL.

Johan Sodergran
Forward, Linköping HC J20
2018, 6th round draft pick
2017-18 Stats: SuperElit (U20): 37 GP, 17G, 16A; SHL, 20 GP, no points

Another late round draft pick who failed to crack the top 25 rankings, Sodergran is a forward with a powerful shot who has been working on improving his offensive game and overall consistency. He’s seen some ice time with Sweden’s U19 national squad and will be playing with the U20 squad at the Four Nations tournament later this month. He generally is projected to be a bottom six type player.

Sean Walker
Defense, Ontario Reign
2018, free agent
2017-18 Stats: 64 GP, 7G, 21A

Walker signed an AHL contract last season after completing four years at Bowling Green State University. He made the most of his opportunity with the Reign, leading all Ontario defensemen in assists and total points and earning himself an NHL contract in the process. Walker is further down on the depth chart than some other notable Ontario defensemen, but another strong season could see him as a viable call-up option.