Los Angeles Kings President/General Manager Dean Lombardi was a busy man on Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey for the 2013 NHL Draft. Lombardi went trading around to get the draft picks to select the prospects he felt were right for the Kings organization, and found seven young talents. Here is a recap of who he picked and what they can offer and add to Southern California hockey in Los Angeles.
Second round, 37th overall
Valentin Zykov, Baie-Comeau (QMJHL), Left Wing
The Kings had to send three draft picks (57, 88, 96) to the Edmonton Oilers to get a pick this high up in the draft, but they made it happen and signed a young man from St. Petersburg, Russia, Valentin Zykov.
The 18-year-old has some struggles speaking the English language but understands it perfectly and understands the game of hockey perfectly as well. He battles against the boards incredibly well, and finds ways to squeeze and force his 5-foot-11, 209 pound body into the crease, and will be able to force second opportunities in front of the net. With all that, he has a great shot and has no problem firing at any time. Expect most of Zykov’s goals to come off rebounds.
When asked by Daryl Evans about what he likes most about the Kings play, the young Russian said, “Power hockey, working and making second chances, they’re a very powerful team.”
Zykov noted that he’s very excited to join fellow Russian, Slava Voynov, and to be a part of the Kings organization.
This past season, Zykov attained 75 points (40 goals, 35 assists) in his 67 regular season games. With that, Zykov was named the QMJHL Rookie of the Year and Offensive Rookie of the Year. Zykov represented Russia at the 2011 World Junior “A” Hockey Challenge.
NHL Comparison: Nikolai Kulemin, Toronto Maple Leafs
Fourth round, 103rd overall
Justin Auger, Guelph Storm (OHL), Right Wing
I saw the kid and thought to myself, “geez, that kid is big,” and that’s exactly what he is. Auger is 6-foot-6, 224 pounds, and at 19-years-old, loves to use his size.
For a big kid though, he is incredibly talented at playmaking with his stick. Not many players coming out of this draft have ice vision like Auger. That large frame also helps him with a powerful wrister. His release point may need some work, but when it’s on, goalies beware.
Auger recorded 33 points over 35 games this past season with Guelph, 16 being goals, and also had 39 penalty minutes to add to it.
NHL Comparison: Tomas Kopecky, Florida Panthers
Fourth round, 118th overall
Hudson Fasching, United State Under-18 Development Program (NTDP), Right Wing
It seems like there is a lot of hype over this kid from the Kings fans. Fasching had a less than stellar season which made his draft stock plumet, after he was predicted to go in the first round of this years draft, in early season predictions. His plans for the fall aren’t to be sporting the the navy and orange of the Ontario Reign, purple and gold of the Manchester Monarchs, or black, silver, and white of the Los Angeles Kings, but instead is set to wear the maroon and gold of the University of Minnesota, where he is set to play for the next few years.
Fasching is a great draft pick for the Kings in particular. His style of play is very physically minded with great skating and great hands that will make him a potential King of the future.
The 17-year-old native played 56 games this past season for the U.S. U-18 program and had 27 points (10-17=27) and 39 PIM.
NHL Comparison: Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets
Fifth round, 146th overall
Patrik Bartosak, Red Deer Rebels (WHL), Goaltender
Bartosak is a hard pick to go with for the Kings. The biggest concern about Bartosak is that he had a shoulder injury, and being such a young man, they can’t be sure if it has done too much damage already to where he can’t fully develop into an NHL goalie. Some scouts have called Bartosak’s play unorthodox, but isn’t that typical for a European goaltender? Either way, the Kings can let the 20-year-old Czech develop with their ECHL affiliate Ontario Reign or AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs, where can learn to play at a professional level.
This past season, Bartosak appeared in 55 games for the Rebels stopping .935% of the shots he faced, and posted a 2.26 goals-against-average. His final record by the end of the season was 33-14-5, quite impressive.
NHL Comparison: N/A
Fifth round, 148th overall
Jonny Brodzinski, St. Cloud State University, Center
The biggest shock about Brodzinski is his motivation. It sounds like coaches are really going to have to get after this kid to play with his entire heart. He has a shot that not many players can match, but his skating is only adequate.
That stellar shot though gave him a 22-goal campaign last season with St. Cloud State, along with 11 assists, in his 42 games.
NHL Comparison: Brad Marchard (potentially)
Sixth round, 178th overall
Zachary Leslie, Guelph Storm (OHL), Defenseman
Second kid out of Guelph in this draft just to add on to the two Guelph Alumni playing for the Kings already (Drew Doughty and Dustin Brown). There is one word I’d like to use with Leslie, “scrapper.” The 19-year-old is someone you just like to watch play because of his grit and determination. He’s small for a defenseman, actually, he’s REALLY small for a D-man, but he fights and plays the way a great defenseman should. He isn’t afraid to drop the gloves and win any fisticuffs battle, and he finds ways to win along the opposing boards. He is a great defensive minded kid who has NHL potential.
NHL Comparison: Tobias Enstrom, Winnipeg Jets
Seventh round, 191st overall
Dominick Kubalik, Sudbury (OHL), Left Wing
17 is a good number for this kid, I wonder if he’ll wear it this upcoming season wherever he plays. The young Czech talent is 17-years-old, scored 17 goals, and had… you guessed it, 17 assists this past season.
NHL Comparison: N/A
The Kings traded their second seventh round pick (208th overall) to the New Jersey Devils for a seventh round draft pick next season. The Devils used that pick to have Martin Brodeur announce that the Devils had drafted Anthony Brodeur, Marty’s son. It was possibly the most special moment of the entire day in Newark, New Jersey.
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