Who else but a Swedish winger would the Los Angeles Kings use their last pick on? From the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL, and committed to UMass-Lowell next season, the Kings select forward Andre Lee.
Born: July 26, 2000 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Karlstad, SWE
Weight: 205 lbs.
2019-20 Team: UMass-Lowell (NCAA)
What’s the deal?
With their final pick, the Kings selected a player who could fill a power forward role. Andre Lee, a Swedish player who spent most of his career to date playing in the Swedish junior leagues, made the jump to North America for 2018-19.
He put up 35 points in 61 games for the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede, but really made a big jump in performance during the postseason, where he had 11 points in 12 playoff games. The Stampede had a dominant playoffs, eventually capturing the USHL’s Clark Cup in a three-game sweep of the Chicago Steel. Lee has committed to UMass-Lowell for the 2019-20 season.
Lee has size, of course, at 6’5”, but he also has a heavy shot that can get through traffic. He’s more of a straight line player who has a lot of energy to his game. As a net-front player, Lee can find loose pucks from rebounds, and is good at setting himself up for opportunities on the power play.
Of course, with a player this late in the draft, they’re going to be more of a long-term project, and Lee is no exception. Consistency is a big issue for him, particularly at even strength. As a young player perhaps still growing into his body, some lack of coordination is expected. His skating has been described as sloppy, with a poor turning radius, so he will definitely need improvement in the skating area if he wants to make an impact.
Lee often has good ideas, but his limitations in skating often prevent him from getting exactly where he wanted to be on the ice, which sometimes leaves him behind the play. Norm Bazin, head coach of UMass-Lowell’s men’s hockey team, described Lee as a player who has ”got all the tools. If he puts it all together, he’ll have a chance to play after college.”
Lee was a late bloomer, so now his amateur career is all about playing catch-up. The Kings will have plenty of time to monitor his development and hope his physical skill catches up to his hockey IQ.