For the first time in several years the Kings DON’T draft at the top of the 1st round. In fact, since the Kings haven’t been in the playoffs for eight years, they haven’t drafted past #20 since they picked Alexander Frolov way back in 2000. It looks like they’ll be picking at around #22 this year, though a few things could change that order, such as if Montreal makes a deeper run in the playoffs (not looking likely) or if Boston or Philadelphia make it to the finals.
So how will the Kings do without picking in a slot with an almost sure-fire selection? Picking where they have the past few seasons, it’s been nearly impossible to make a BAD choice. Sure there are better ones, and worse ones, but you’re almost certain to get an NHL player when you’re in the top 5-7 picks. But drafting at #22 is a whole different ball game. The Red Wings have mastered it. The Devils seem to have done so as well. The elite teams are able to pluck stars from the mid-late 1st round (and of course in the later rounds) and the Kings are going to need to learn to do so if they want to create the kind of dynasty that can persist.
We’ll be looking at who the Kings might select through the coming weeks, but I’m curious what you think? Who do you think the Kings will pick? Who should they pick? Lombardi has repeatedly said he doesn’t draft for need, but the Kings do seem to be stronger on the back end, and a talented forward might be a useful addition. Is Riley Sheahan the answer? Tyler Pitlick? Somebody else? We’ll have to wait and see, but that won’t stop us from making our guesses now!