After seven names have been known as by the Kings on Day 2 of the 2022 NHL draft, the latest Kings draft class is now three weeks outdated and one growth camp in. Following the conclusion of the growth camp final month, the Kings Director of Amateur Scouting, Mark Yannetti, spoke about the latest additions to the Kings prospect pool, in depth, giving some perception into why the Kings picked the gamers that they did.
Yannetti opened up and recognized causes for drafting the gamers they did and what he and the scouting workers noticed as the participant’s strengths, weaknesses in addition to a possible street forward in the direction of their path to the NHL.
In order of their draft choice, we start with Jack Hughes –
Jack Hughes (C)
Round 2, Pick 51 – Northeastern University (NCAA)
“Hughes’ hockey IQ is like he’s watching the sport from above……[he] has a a lot wider view of the sport. He is aware of the place the holes are and the place the seams are. You can name that intuition of going to the proper locations or passing the puck to the proper place, and even timing. Hughes has an excellent kind of hockey IQ.”
The Kings’ first choice of the 2022 NHL Draft got here with the 51st total choice in the second spherical and sure, it sounded very acquainted to hockey followers round the world. With the choose, the Kings chosen Jack Hughes, the son of Montreal Canadiens General Manager Kent Hughes. Hughes provides an elite degree of hockey IQ, complimented with an above-average potential to distribute the puck. Still checked out as somebody who can add so much to the offensive facet of his sport, Hughes’ hockey IQ was checked out as one of the finest amongst all eligible prospects.
Kenny Connors (C)
Round 4, Pick 103 – UMASS Amherst (NCAA)
“[Conners] performed heavy this previous yr and his compete degree actually confirmed by. Most younger gamers do not do effectively defensively in leagues like the USHL. Connors confirmed a fairly good defensive sport. That stated, it is advisable do extra than simply that to get drafted, there wanted to be extra offensive manufacturing and that is why we did not take him final yr. Our scouts went into this yr with [Connors] as a man to observe as a result of we preferred some of the issues about him……we felt that so much of the offensive enchancment was constituted of particular skillsets and studying the sport.”
After being handed over in the 2021 NHL Draft, Connors returned as a 19-year-old draft-eligible prospect. Having had their eyes on Connors for a number of seasons, what the Kings scouting division felt that saved him undrafted a yr in the past had been resolved. At 6-1, 195 LBS, Connors confirmed a stronger sport this previous season, each offensively and defensively, impressing Kings scouts sufficient to be taken in the fourth spherical.
Angus Booth (LHD)
Round 4, Pick 116 – Shawinigan Cataracts (QMJHL)
Yannetti in contrast Booth in some methods to Mikey Anderson – “Mikey has an interior burn and a drive. [Booth] has it as effectively. Mikey has it in spades, Booth nonetheless must develop it extra… There are some similarities. Mikey [at that age] defended a shade higher, however Booth is a a lot better skater.”
Booth entered the draft coming off of a breakout 2021-22 season. The 18-year-old, two-way defenseman performed a key position on each ends of the ice, serving to the Shawinigan Cataracts to a QMJHL championship and a Memorial Cup look. Many of the scouts round the NHL, together with Yannetti, addressed the problem of evaluating Booth’s season because of the degree of excellent expertise that the defenseman was surrounded by on the Cataracts. All of that addressed, Booth presently supplies worth on each ends of the ice. Moving ahead, a focus might be if Booth can proceed to develop as an influence participant at the QMJHL degree over the subsequent two seasons.
Otto Salin (RHD)
Round 5, Pick 148 – HIFK (Liiga)
“Salin’s skating was the very first thing that stood out. His skating is great. His skating permits him to get into conditions and get out of them [both good and bad]. He has the potential to skate the puck up the ice and push the tempo; that is an awesome factor. That’s an ingredient you may’t add later down the line and you may at all times pull a man again. The indisputable fact that [Salin] can skate himself out and in of bother at this stage of his profession is an effective factor… and he has the potential to play extra of a managed sport.”
The Kings added one other promising prospect at the right-handed defenseman place once they drafted Salin in the fifth spherical. It’s effectively documented that the offensive facet is there, however questions come up when scouts throughout the league discuss Finn’s defensive play. Salin has proven that he has an awesome hockey IQ with the puck and in offensive conditions.
Jared Wright (RW)
Round 6, Pick 169 – Colgate University (NCAA)
“What [Wright] began to do increasingly as the season went on was utilizing his skating. Wright was at all times skater and confirmed an opportunity of the energy in his base however did not at all times use his skating successfully. From the midpoint of the final season, Wright started to make use of his skating successfully. Very not often was there a sport the place he did not get behind the defenders, and he did it in a number of methods.”
“The factor we like the finest [about Wright] is the energy factor of his skating, these have been the ones that actually bought [the scouting staff] going He’s not a one-trick pony. He’s a giant child and I’m crossing my fingers, as a result of if the skating is a pure half of his sport going ahead, he’ll outperform his draft place.”
Despite being described as a longer-term venture, Wright impressed each of the Kings American Scouts Tony Gasparini and Ted Belisle final season. At 6-2 and 172 lbs, the Minnesota-native’s play solely bought higher as the 2021-22 season progressed. The ahead confirmed the potential to make use of his power effectively, serving to him capitalize offensively. But consistency might be key for Wright shifting ahead. The multi-skilled offensive menace has many instruments, it is now about sharpening these instruments and including to the repertoire.
Jack Sparkes (RHD)
“The two major causes we drafted Sparks have been one, he is 6-8 and he can already skate. Most of the time you draft a 6-4 or 6-8 defenseman in the later rounds you hear the pundits say ‘venture’ and ‘uncooked’ as a result of they normally cannot skate. We do not need to take care of that, Sparkes can skate. In phrases of his basis of work with Sparkes, we do not have to do something. At that spot (sixth spherical, a hundred and eightieth total), to get dimension and skating, I’ll take that. He appeared like the proper choose for that spot given his attributes.”
“Having 5 years of potential growth actually impacted our resolution to take Sparkes.”
Round 6, Pick 180 – St. Michael’s Buzzers (OJHL) MSU Commit
Drafting a 6-8-, 227 LBS, is rarely going to go unnoticed. For Yannetti and the Kings, Sparkes is not anticipated to be in a Reign or Kings uniform any time quickly, however that is how they need it. Sparkes, who’s dedicated to Michigan State, will seemingly expend most if not all of his eligibility in faculty. As Yannetti explains, that is factor as a result of he wants time and it’ll maximize his ceiling and potential.
Caleb Lawrence (C/RW)
Round 7, Pick 215 – Owen Sound Attack
“We recognized Lawrence a number of years in the past and famous to maintain a watch on his skating. And then he did not play for 2 years. But, he went to the Columbus Blue Jackets growth camp two years in the past, bought damage. This yr he was going to go to the Calgary Flames growth camp. [Lawrence] is a man who has clearly impressed many individuals alongside the manner. In phrases of upside, if he hits, he is an enormous hit. If he hits, he’ll test so much of totally different bins [for what we want…] this was a novel alternative to take an opportunity on a child who has proven so much of good issues in little or no alternative.”
Due to the COVID-19 lockdown in Canada, there was no 2020-21 OHL season. Fast ahead to the following yr, able to play, Lawrence sustained an damage and was restricted to simply two video games in the 2021-22 season. Because of that, Lawrence, the 6-7, 229 LBS left-handed ahead has solely performed two actual video games in the final two years. Yes, two……however Yannetti sees Lawrence as a man with potential. With a hopeful clear invoice of well being, Lawrence is ready to start subsequent season with the Owen Sound Attack.
Three members of the 2022 draft class – Hughes, Connors, and Salin – participated in summer season choice camps with their respective nations. More on these showcases HERE. Next steps will see gamers like Hughes and Connors return to their collegiate groups, whereas gamers like Booth may be part of the group for major camp, earlier than returning to the QMJHL.