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.
We’re taking a look at the best and the brightest in the Los Angeles Kings organization in our sixth annual Top 25 Under 25 countdown. Today at #18 is newcomer Sheldon Rempal.
Age: 23 (August 7, 1996)
2017-18 Team: Clarkson University (NCAA)
2017-18 Statistics: 39 GP, 23 G, 23 A, 46 P
Jewels Reader Ranking: 20
Jewels Staff Ranking: 15
Last Year’s Ranking: Not Ranked
Last year, Alex Iafallo entered Kings’ camp an unknown college player before opening the season with the team and never looking back. It is hard not to look at Sheldon Rempal with similar expectations, as unfair as that may be for the young forward.
After all, both wingers followed similar career trajectories before signing their first pro contracts with the Kings:
While the two posted very similar seasons their last two years of college, the comparison really should end there. While Iafallo has always been more of a grinding support player, Rempal has shown the ability to be a dynamic scorer. Listed at 5’10”, 165 pounds, Rempal is considered a fine skater with a quick release. His breakout season showed he was more than just a rush player, going to the front of the net to capitalize on rebounds and tip-in’s.
Like Daniel Brickley, Rempal was one of the most pursued college free agents in hockey, attending camps with the Capitals, Ducks and Flames. He signed a two year, entry-level deal in March and the Kings immediately burned the first year of that deal to have Sheldon practice with the team before he returned to school to finish his year.
While his offensive skillset is undeniable, there are mixed reports about whether he is quick enough to overcome his lack of size. There are no indications that he is a poor skater, but the belief is you must be blazing fast to survive in the NHL at that size, or have elite skills to be the exception.
The Athletic prospect guru Corey Pronman ranked Rempal 14th on his Kings’ prospect list (subscription required), similar to where he ended up on our list (Pronman’s rankings are limited to non-NHL players). It is unlikely that Rempal makes the same jump as Iafallo, as there are several forwards in camp ahead of him on the depth chart and the Kings will likely want to see how he adjusts to the AHL before throwing him into NHL action.
But do not discount the possibility of him making an impact sooner than later. His upside is limited, but with a lack of dynamic forwards at the AHL level, the Kings could turn to Rempal later in the year if they find themselves in need of scoring depth. He has proven he can score at every level thus far. Playing against men for the first time, he will now need to prove he can skate well enough to elude bigger defenders and find open space to let his skills shine.