The Los Angeles Kings traded away their first round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft to the Minnesota Wild as part of the deal for Kevin Fiala. Minnesota used the 19th pick to draft Liam Ohgren, a Swedish winger who played for Djurgardens in the SHL. On Day Two of the NHL draft the Kings still have five picks to make throughout the day. It’ll be a chance for them to continue stockpile some mid-range prospects for the organization.
Round 2 - 51st overall - Jack Hughes, Northeastern University
No, he’s not part of the Hughes clan that has already infiltrated the NHL, but he is the son of Montreal Canadiens general manager, Kent Hughes. The Kings’ newest prospect is a 6’0”, 170 lbs center from Westwood, MA that just completed his freshman season at Northeastern University. He posted 7 goals and added 9 assists in 39 games.
While those stats aren’t mind blowing, bear in mind he was the youngest player in college hockey last year. The start of his season was slowed a bit after a bout with COVID, but he finished strong with five points in his final five games. To note, 14 of his 16 points were at even strength. He’ll be returning to Northeastern for his sophomore season, so expect better numbers this season.
His speed and puckhandling skills allowed him to be a borderline first-round prospect. He is a high-motor type of player that likely projects as a third or fourth line center that plays up and down the ice. While he doesn’t have the prototypical NHL size, he does play tough along the boards and has the ability to win the puck in one-on-one battles. He is a playmaker and if he can improve his skating a bit, which is average right now, it should help his overall game.
Expect him to spend the next few years in college before transitioning to the pro level. If his offensive production increases and he adds some weight, he could be a solid addition to the crop of prospects the Kings already have in the fold.
Round 3 - 86th overall (originally Pittsburgh’s)
Traded to Tampa Bay for 103 and and 169
Round 4 - 103rd overall - Kenny Connors, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL
At 19-years-old Connors is an overage pick from Glen Mills, PA. The left-shot center is committed to the University of Massachusetts after playing the last two seasons in the USHL with Dubuque. Last season he posted 56 points (25 goals, 31 assists) for the Fighting Saints in 61 games.
He is described as a power forward and has the size (6’1”, 190 lbs) to back that claim up. He will be attending the Team USA National Junior Evaluation Camp at the end of the month.
Round 4 - 116th overall - Angus Booth, Shawinigan
With their third pick of the day, the Kings step away from the US Development program and draft a defenseman from the QMJHL. Booth is a solid, two-way defenseman that is a smooth skater and has shown the ability to contribute on special teams.
There was a big jump in his production in 2021-22 as the second-year junior posted 23 points (1 goal, 22 assists). He is still a bit of a project and will take a little more seasoning to see if he continues to develop. Booth does an excellent job of reading plays and being in the right position. While not a huge hitter, he can play physically when needed.
While he is seen as a solid, all-around player there isn’t much that stands out in his game. However, defensemen can take awhile to develop and a couple of more seasons in the “Q” may see him take the next step. His older brother, Callum, was drafted by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2015.
Round 5 - 148th overall - Otto Salin, HIFK Jr.
The Finnish defenseman is 5’11”, but a solid 205 lbs. having put on roughly 18 pounds over the last year. He is a smooth skating right-shot defender that was ranked 23rd among European skaters by Central Scouting. Bob McKenzie also had him ranked at 66th so Salin is a good value pick in the fifth round.
His offense is his calling card and he can be a one-man breakout with the ability to skate the puck from his own zone to the offensive zone. The 18-year-old has excellent vision and can hit his teammates with his passes. Defensively he needs some work as his zone coverage can be shaky at times.
Salin did battle through a couple of injuries last season and was limited in game action. Also, the Finnish junior league isn’t the best level of competition. He will spend a few more seasons over in Europe and hopefully see a step up in play.
Round 6 - 169th overall - Jared Wright, Omaha Lancers
The Kings dipped back into the USHL to draft the right-shot forward from Minnesota. Wright is committed to Colgate University after posting a 15-goal, 19-assist season in 59 games for Omaha.
At 6’1’, 179 lbs. he has a little size to him and a little bit of speed. As an overage player, he might hit the pro ranks a little quicker than some of the other picks from today.
Round 6 - 180th overall - Jack Sparkes, St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL)
Well, size is not an issue for Sparkes. The 18-year-old, right-shot defenseman already looms large at 6’8”, 234 lbs. He is committed to Michigan State University next season and will likely spend a few years at college before turning pro.
Not only is he a large human being, but he knows how to use his size on the ice, physically overpowering opponents and using his long reach (third-longest at the 2022 NHL Combine) to knock pucks away. For his size, his mobility is better than one can expect. He isn’t going to speed down the ice, but his long strides help him cover ground quickly. As you can imagine, he sets a tremendous screen in front of the net when he goes down low.
He’s the perfect type of late-round pick for the Kings. His size, skating, and physicality makes him enticing and if he can improve on some of the finer points of the game while in college he could develop into a solid, bottom-pairing defender.
Bonus Pick! Kings trade a 2023 7th-round pick to Boston for the 215th pick this year
Round 7 - 215th overall - Kaleb Lawrence, Owen Sound Attack
The Kings weren’t quite done with the draft as they swapped a future 7th round pick for the 215th overall pick this year. With it they took right-wing Kaleb Lawrence, an overage forward that hasn’t played much hockey in the past two seasons due to injuries.
Another large individual, he stands 6’7” and weighs in at 229 lbs.
That wraps it up for the Kings in the 2022 NHL Draft. They split their seven picks fairly evenly between offense and defense. All-in-all they drafted some pretty solid value and have added intriguing prospects to their organization.