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.
“We have a trade*. The Buffalo Sabres have traded the seventh pick to the Los Angeles Kings and with that pick, the Kings select, from the University of Wisconsin, Alex Turcotte.”
* - There’s no way Alex Turcotte will be available with the 22nd pick and while there’s talk of Turcotte going to the Chicago Blackhawks at number three, other analysts suggest that drafting him at five is possibly too high, In our fantasy world, the Kings trade up to seven, Turcotte’s draft slot according to many mock drafts, to claim him.
Trading up might be a brilliant maneuver considering Turcotte’s 200-foot game, unstoppable motor, and offensive skills make him someone who excels in nearly every role. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…
HOCKEY CARD STATS
Born: February 26, 2001 (Age 18)
Place of Birth: Lake Island, Illinois, USA
Weight: 185 lbs.
2019-20 Team: University of Wisconsin / NCAA - 19/20
#4—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
First and foremost, Alex Turcotte is a complete 200-foot player. While Cole Caufield and Trevor Zegras grab the leftover headlines that Jack Hughes leaves behind, Turcotte is a considerably better two-way player than either of them. His defensive presence doesn’t affect his offensive game. As a matter of fact, it may enhance it as he thrives as a rousing offensive force as a passer and a shooter off the D-Zone turnaround. Turcotte is puck strong and picks his spots when and where to be risky and careful.
Turcotte is remarkably quick. If a defender allows Turcotte to get a step on him, it’s all but over. He possesses excellent acceleration as he takes the puck straight to the net. His overwhelming hockey IQ allows him to complete tight passes through small spaces. His repertoire of shots (wrister, snap and slap) are excellent and he doesn’t shy away from front-of-the-net play. Turcotte is a puck hawk with a relentless forecheck, which creates O-zone turnovers. He’s a real prickly type (without the Matthew Tkachuk-type attitude) with loads of intangible skill and the ability to control the puck and speed of the game.
Is Turcotte injury prone? He was hurt for more than half of the USNTDP season due to a hip injury, not to mention the weeks he missed because of Mononucleosis. The Kings might be reticent to draft someone with an injury issue because of Gabe Vilardi’s disastrous 2018-19 season in the Kings system. That being noted, Turcotte came back sturdy and reliable with 53 points (23G, 38A) in only 30 games.
Also, it’s universally understood that he will need additional time in the NCAA before he is NHL ready and will need some time to bulk up to weather the 82-game plus playoffs grind.
“The bullish, two-way centre has been spectacular offensively despite playing away from uber-prospect, Jack Hughes at even-strength. With the value NHL organizations are placing on pivots, Turcotte likely won’t have to wait long to hear his name called on draft day.” —Cam Robinson/Dobber
WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE
Turcotte already has legacy ties to both the Kings and the NHL. Alfie Turcotte (dad), was a 1983 NHL first round draft pick by the Montreal Canadiens, playing in 112 career goals while his uncle, Jeff Turcotte is a coach for the Kings junior program. Also have we mentioned lately (yes we have) that the Kings need another center who can score and make plays?
GET TO KNOW HIM
Psst, he’s on the right...