Our seventh 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 and the staff rankings to determine the top 25. To be eligible for the countdown, a player must be 24 or younger on October 2, 2019, when the 2019-20 NHL season begins.
When the Kings slipped to number five in this year’s draft, it was a real stomach punch. The hope to land Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko and thus begin an instant rebuild was shattered. It turns out that slipping to number five was just what the Kings rebuild doctor ordered.
With the number five pick, the Kings nabbed Alex Turcotte who was magically available in that spot.
Why was he the magical pick, you ask? Let’s start with the fact that he is the most complete, 200-foot player in the entire draft. He’s a dynamic, playmaking center who can play from the wall on the power play and is a force in one-on-one play. No one can match his compete-level and has already built a reputation as a fearless grinder once he gets a whiff of a potential goal.
Maybe we should have jumped on the bandwagon that NHL analyst Alex Tanguay started when we fashioned Turcotte as a mixture of Jonathan Toews and Brayden Point:
“Let’s put him as a mixture between Jonathan Toews & Brayden Point.”— Stephen Nelson (@StephenNelson) June 22, 2019
I asked Alex Tanguay on @NHLNetwork for his scouting report of #LAKings #NHLDraft pick, Alex @Turcotte__71. pic.twitter.com/oSCixYGRDX
"I'm just so excited and I'm happy they believe in me... I can't wait to get started with the LA Kings!" - Alex Turcotte on being drafted No. 5 overall pic.twitter.com/k3z0AuHC5P— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 22, 2019
Kings 1rst pick Alex Turcotte on his reaction being drafted to Los Angeles pic.twitter.com/wHpfc23kWy— Daryl Evans (@DarylEvans15) June 22, 2019
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, knowing when and where to be risky or careful.
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. It was thought that Kings might be reticent to draft someone with an injury issue because of Gabe Vilardi’s disastrous 2018-19 season in the Kings system. Thankfully they weren’t deterred as Turcotte came back sturdy and reliable with 53 points (23G, 38A) in only 30 games.
He is not NHL-ready—although the Kings can be patient—and needs additional time in the NCAA and will need that time to bulk up to weather the 82-game plus playoffs grind.
TAKING ON THE NEXT STEPS
Meanwhile, Turcotte is focusing his attention on conquering his next challenge, collegiate hockey:
“I want to be the best and I’m trying to get better every day and in order for that to happen, you can’t waste any days. I learned with the national program that if you weren’t competitive in practice, you were going to get embarrassed.”
And now...a look at the staff and fan voting...