In round one of last Friday’s NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings selected Derek Forbert at #15. The Kings traded up to pick Forbert, giving up their #19 overall selection as well as a 2nd round pick (#59 overall) to make the move. It’s a move that seems to indicate that Lombardi and the Kings thought they had their guy, and interviews with Lombardi since the selection seem to support that fact.
So I was trying to pay for it. I had tried to move up about three or four picks before, and then finally I got it. He was the last player left who was in that bracket. If he wasn’t there, it wasn’t going to happen. It just all goes into valuing the slot. That’s how it’s done.
Personally I think the Forbert selection was a strong one. There certainly are players in this draft that I think may be of more importance to their teams, even leaving aside the obvious in Seguin and Hall. Not to mention the fact that there are certainly bigger needs than defense in the prospect pool (though it’s not as strong or as deep as some might think). Regardless, there are some believe that Forbert will be the best defenseman in the class, and that’s a huge upside for a guy selected mid-way through the first round.
So who is Derek Forbert? Well the Los Angeles Kings believe that he’s a future stud NHL defenseman, and his biography tends to make it seem possible, if not a sure thing. Forbert competed in the World Championship U-18 tournament this year, and recorded two assists along with an impressive +9 while helping carry the team to the gold medal. He played in 56 total games with the USDP and tallied 25 points (5 goals, 20 assists) in those games. It’s a solid total for a player that has not been tagged as an offensive defenseman.
While he’s certainly got some offensive capabilities, it’s not the primary thing that draws scouts and fans alike to his play. First of all, he’s 6′ 5″. That’s a big guy. According to Tony Gasparini, Kings amateur scout,
Derek is a big defenseman who skates very well and has a well-rounded game. In time, as he matures as a young man physically, he is going to be a player who has the ability to eat up a lot of minutes in every area of the game.
So he could be a very physical (potentially) and very solid positional defenseman in the NHL. There’s no question he’s got some development left to achieve, and he’s far from a finished project. However drafting at #15 and with an effectively full roster of talented youngsters, that’s a luxury that the Kings finally have.
So what do you think about Forbert’s selection? Did you have your eye on somebody else? Think Forbert has a future in the NHL?