As the 2019 NHL Entry Draft approaches, the Los Angeles Kings have their work cut out for them, including making decisions on two first-round picks: the fifth pick and the 22nd pick, thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From now until the draft, the staff of Jewels from the Crown will be taking a look at some draft-eligible players to help introduce some young men who could very possibly be future Kings.
“With the fifth pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings select, from Boston University, Trevor Zegras.”
Drafting Trevor Zegras at number five might be a stretch, but there’s no arguing that he is the cream of the crop if you want a two-way center with pro-level mobility. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…
HOCKEY CARD STATS
Born: March 20, 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Bedford, NY, USA
Weight: 168 lbs.
2019-20 Team: Boston University
#6—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
A gritty, yet flashy centerman, Zegras knows how to get under opponents’ skin and actively searches for situations where he can lay people out and create separation, all without losing focus on developing plays. His ability to create plays is the touchstone that others are measured by, which makes him one special player in this draft. Although he is a lethal scoring threat anywhere in the offensive zone, he finds his greatest happiness setting up linemates to light the goal lamp.
Zegras is known to be an elite skater with a explosive first step and acceleration that sets him apart from the rest of the pack. He’s elusive, often changing directions on a dime, to embarrass defenders in one-on-one situations. He possesses a strong hockey IQ and great on-ice vision, anticipating his teammates’ movements in relation to defenders to create scoring chances others might miss.
A superior backchecker, Zegras works hard in his own end of the ice, which would bode well in Todd McLellan’s lust for 200-foot players. He’s not afraid to do the dirty work to frustrate opponents and lead the rush off a smart defensive play.
One could say that his biggest weakness is his unselfish play. Behind Jack Hughes, Zegras is the best passer in the draft. But he passes too much, which takes away from scoring chances he could easily convert himself by driving the net. Zegras also has a lack of discipline, which gets him two minutes in the box a little more often than you would want from your 2C. As with most young players, he could use some more muscle on repertoire of shots.
WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE
If the Kings are to select Zegras, then his natural slot is in draft purgatory for Los Angeles: it too high to pick him at five and too low to pick him at 22. What would be ideal is for Rob Blake to get creative and trade up from the 22 slot to get the best playmaker in the draft. I mean who wouldn’t want the next Evgeny Kuznetsov but with a better ability to setup teammates to score? Certainly the Kings will, but Blake has work to do in order to draft him properly.
“Playing behind Jack Hughes for the last two seasons has muffled his hype, but he’s been dynamite. His patience with the puck allows his vision to take over. Has been at his best while playing against NCAA competition and on the international stage. Possesses all the ingredients for a productive top-six future.” Cam Robinson
GET TO KNOW HIM
(Pssst ... he’s on the left)