All that losing.
So much losing.
The Kings, with the second-best odds to pick in the top three, did exactly what we all expected, because we are, after all, pessimists at heart.
They dropped in the lottery.
An epically bad season for the Kings, and the ping pong balls said: yo, nah.
The Kings, after all is said and done, will draft fifth in the draft.
The top three picks will go, in order, to New Jersey, the New York Rangers, and Chicago.
Fifth will still get you a very good prospect: an elite player, someone you’ll be able to build around in the future. What fifth doesn’t necessarily give you is a player who’s ready to step into the NHL come October of 2019. Sometimes, yes. Usually, no.
A glimpse, quickly, of players in recent drafts who went fifth, and what they’re up to today:
- 2018: Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes). Hayton is in his third season in the OHL, where he put up 66 points in 39 regular season games for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
- 2017: Elias Pettersson (Vancouver Canucks). Pettersson has turned out to be even better than advertised for the Canucks, who have a real game-changer on their hands. In his first season in the NHL, he put up 66 points in 71 games.
- 2016: Olli Juolevi (Vancouver Canucks). The Finnish defenseman has yet to make his NHL debut. He spent this season with the AHL’s Utica Comets, recording 13 points in 18 games.
- 2015: Noah Hanifin (Carolina Hurricanes). Hanifin is shaping up to be a solid defenseman, though not for the team that drafted him. The defenseman, who has played in 319 career NHL games, was traded to the Calgary Flames this summer, where he’s emerged as part of the core of a strong group of defensemen there.
- 2014: Michael Dal Colle (New York Islanders). Dal Colle has yet to earn a regular spot in the NHL. He split this season between the Islanders and their AHL affiliate and registered seven points in 28 NHL games.
- 2013: Elias Lindholm (Carolina Hurricanes). Lindholm also went to Calgary in the same trade with Hanifin. He’s put up career highs in points this year with the Flames, recording 78 points in 81 games. This is his sixth season in the NHL.
Other fifth draft picks include Nino Niederreiter, Morgan Rielly, Phil Kessel, Carey Price, and both Schenns.
For a season like the one the Kings just endured, picking fifth feels a little brutal, but there are clearly quality, game-changing players available.
Over the summer, we’ll dive a little deeper into the possible players who will be available at number five to get us all prepared — and don’t forget, the Kings also own the Toronto Maple Leafs’ first round pick, as well.
Besides, at least there’s this bit of good news: