Los Angeles Kings create their own luck at the draft

Ryan Kennedy
Nick Shore (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)

I have learned not to doubt the Los Angeles Kings.

A few years back, I was at an Oshawa Generals game and a fan asked me if Andy Andreoff had any shot at getting drafted. Considering that Andreoff had already been passed over twice, I told him that anything was possible, but privately, Andreoff hadn’t really been on my radar.

Sure enough, the Kings picked up the gritty left winger in the third round that summer (the 2011 draft) and Andreoff has already played 13 games for the squad this season.

This past summer, I was standing with another reporter at the draft in Philadelphia, marvelling at the bizarre order in which the Kings were picking – taking certain kids way earlier than expected, leaving higher-rated kids to the end. But I’m not going to second-guess GM Dean Lombardi and his crew, which is headed by Mike Futa, VP of hockey operations and director of player personnel, and director of amateur scouting Mark Yanetti because they clearly know what they’re doing.

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Red Wings prospect Athanasiou humiliates two defenders, scores highlight-reel goal

Jared Clinton
Andreas Athanasiou (via @Slapshotgoal/Imgur)

Eventually, a time will come when the Detroit Red Wings don’t have a list of prospects that make other teams envious. Until that day, feel free to watch this goal by Andreas Athanasiou on a loop because it’s unbelievable.

Not only does Athanasiou send one Charlotte Checkers’ defenders stick into the third row, he then rockets ahead with the puck, toe drags past the check of Mike Cornell and then follows it all up by popping Drew MacIntyre‘s water bottle off the top of the net with a slick backhand. See it for yourself: Read more

The Prospect Hot List: Captain of the undefeated

Jack McNeely (photo courtesy of Mark Hvidsten)

It’s getting down to crunch time in the prospect world, as the most wonderful time of year is upon us. College hockey has already entered the conference playoff stage while major junior is down to jockeying for berths in the post-season. The high schoolers in Minnesota are already finished and the story of the winners is pretty compelling. Meet the captain of that squad, plus nine other NHL prospects making noise in our weekly round-up.

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Prep schools battle to be the next big hockey factory

Ryan Kennedy
St. Andrew's alum Warren Foegele (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The first-ever National Independent School Invitational Championship is happening now, just north of Toronto. Hosted by St. Andrew’s College and Upper Canada College, the 10-team challenge brings together a lot of prep programs that are familiar with each other, but organizers hope this shindig will also increase the level of exposure these hockey teams receive.

While New England prep schools have long been known for hockey excellence, programs such as St. Andrew’s and Stanstead College in Quebec are just beginning to rise up. St. Andrew’s boasts Carolina Hurricanes third-rounder Warren Foegele as an alum, while Stanstead produced Calgary Flames first-rounder Mark Jankowski.

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Throwback Thursday re-visits the 1995 Future Watch top 50 list

Brian Costello
Future Watch 1995 photo

The Hockey News has been publishing a special issue dedicated to NHL prospects since the late 1980s. What began as an “In The System” theme issue gave way to Future Watch in 1992. Our first top 50 list of prospects – compiled by canvassing a panel of scouts – appeared in Future Watch 1994 with Paul Kariya as the No. 1 prospect. The following season – 20 years ago – Ed Jovanovski was the chosen one. The headline read:

NHL’s premier prospect no ordinary Jovanovski

In this edition of Throwback Thursday, here’s how that winter, 1995 cover story by Ken Campbell read:

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Future Watch 2015: the NHL’s top 10 falling prospects

Matt Larkin
Stefan Matteau. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, I outlined the top rising prospects in THN Future Watch 2015, our ultimate prospect ranking publication. To recap the process:

Scouts from every NHL team rank their organizations’ top 10 prospects. That generates a pool of 300 players. A panel of about 15 (the number varies slightly by year) head scouts and GMs uses that 300-player list to create a top 50. Votes are assembled to create an aggregate top 50, and the panel also ranks each franchise’s prospect pools.

Which players have plummeted among our top 75 – or out of it – based on last year’s ranking? Here’s a look at Future Watch’s top fallers. Keep in mind anyone ranked last year who graduated to full-time NHL duty doesn’t count as a “faller.”

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Future Watch 2015: the NHL’s top 10 rising prospects

Matt Larkin
Quebec's Anthony Duclair  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Future Watch, our annual prospect-bonanza publication, is hitting newsstands right about…now. Inside that special edition, scouts from every NHL team rank their organization’s top 10 prospects. That generates a pool of 300 players. A panel of about 15 (the number varies slightly by year) head scouts and GMs uses that 300-player list to create a top 50. Votes are assembled to create an aggregate top 50, and the panel also ranks each franchise’s prospect pools.

Which players have skyrocketed among our top 75 based on last year’s rankings? Here’s a look at Future Watch’s top risers. Keep in mind anyone ranked last year who graduated to full-time NHL duty doesn’t count as a “riser,” nor do players drafted in 2014 who debuted on the list this year.

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Whose five-year outlook is stronger: Arizona’s or Buffalo’s?

Jared Clinton
Nikita Zadorov (Bill Wippert/Getty Images)

The talk of the trade deadline wasn’t so much the trades as it was the basement teams doing all they could to remain in the Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel sweepstakes. Arizona and Buffalo, the two biggest culprits, were either jibed or lauded for their moves.

For the Coyotes, a squad in the midst of a nine game losing streak, the deadline week moves included ridding themselves of Antoine Vermette, Keith Yandle and Zybnek Michalek while failing to add any players that can improve their lineup tomorrow. In Buffalo, talk was of a fiercer demolition of the roster in hopes locking up 30th in the standings was in the offing. Goaltender Michal Neuvirth was sent packing, as were Chris Stewart, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn. All this is to say if you could help Buffalo win games, you were gone.

But there’s strategy to the rebuild – or the tanking, if you so choose. By breaking up the roster and starting the youth movement a bit early, the two franchises are setting themselves up to rebuild as quickly as they can. As we’ve seen with Edmonton and Calgary, rebuilds can take many forms, but both Buffalo and Arizona seem content on using a similar strategy. That said, who stands to benefit most from icing awful entries this season? In five years, will we be talking about the brilliance of Coyotes GM Don Maloney or the shrewdness of Sabres GM Tim Murray? Read more