Prospect Watch Wednesdays: The Top 60


Training camp starts this week.  To kick off the season RinkRoyalty will start with our first prospect watch.  We’ll be reviewing the progress of Kings prospects every Wednesday as the season continues into full swing.

To start we’ll take a look at Kings prospects on’s ranking of the top 60 NHL prospects.  The list is comprised of NHL prospects based on the votes of three writers:  Adam Kimelman, Mike Morreale, and Corey Masisak; as well as three anonymous scouts identified as Scout A, B, and C.

Jun 6, 2014; El Sugundo, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings head coach Darryl Sutter (right) stands next to goalie Martin Jones (left) during practice the day before game two of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers at Toyota Sports Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jun 7, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings left wing Tanner Pearson (70) controls the puck against the New York Rangers in the first period during game two of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Tanner Pearson appeared on all three writers list’s at #10-Kimelman, #33-Morreale, and #24-Masisak; but not on any Scouts lists.   The list applies to players that are eligible for Calder Trophy consideration – meaning players that will be considered rookies for the 2014-2015 season.  Rookie considerations are based on three factors.  Per Hockey Operations Guidelines, “To be considered a rookie a player must not have played in more than 25 NHL games in any preceding seasons, nor in six or more NHL games in each of any two preceding NHL seasons.  Any player at least 26 years of age, by September 15th of that season, is not considered a rookie.”  Tanner Pearson played exactly 25 games during the 2013-2014 season.  Think that was done for a reason?  His playoff performances don’t count.  So just like Ken Dryden, Tanner Pearson has his name on the Stanley Cup before his rookie season.  This year Pearson will have the opportunity to win the Calder Trophy.

Valentin Zykov, is a 19-year-old Russian winger playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.  Zykov was drafted by the Kings in the second round (37th overall) in 2013.  Zykov also appeared on all three writers lists, (#47 Kimelman, #57 Morreale, #59 Masisak) while not appearing on any of the Scouts lists.  Zykov appeared at the Kings rookie camp this summer, but he still needs time to develop before making the jump to the NHL.  Zykov is a scorer, and like most Russians one of his best attributes is creativity with the puck.  As a side note, Drakkar means Viking Ship.

Derek Forbort is a 22-year-old American defensemen playing for the Kings American Hockey League affiliate the Manchester Monarchs.  The Kings drafted Forbort in the first round (15th overall) in 2010.  Forbort ranked #58 on Kimelman’s list, and #54 on Scout B’s list.  Forbort played his first full season with Manchester in 2013-2014, tallying 1 goal and 16 assists in 74 games.  Forbert won a gold medal with Team USA at the World Juniors Under-18 in 2010, before playing college hockey at the University of North Dakota.  With L.A’s current lineup, Forbort will not make the Kings roster.  He has time to improve his offensive effectiveness.  An upside is he’s a big defensive-defensemen at 6’4, 218 pounds.

Kings fans might remember Martin Jones, the 24-year-old goaltender who stepped in for the Kings after Jonathan Quick was sidelined with a groin injury in November of 2013.  Jones was impressive in 19 games, winning 12.  Jones posted a .934 save percentage (SV%) and a 1.81 goals against average (GAA).  The emergence of Jones resulted in backup goaltender Ben Scrivens being traded to Edmonton in Januray, 2014.  Jones ranked #32 Masisak’s list.  Jones will suit up for the Kings in the backup role behind Quick for the 2014-2015 season.

More from Kings News

Nikolai Prokhorkin is a 20-year-old Russian left winger.  Prokhorkin was drafted by the Kings in the fourth round (121st overall) in 2012.  Prokhorkin started the 2013-2014 season with the Monarchs playing eight games, but due to a contract dispute Prohorkin returned to Russia and played for CSKA Moskova.  Prohorkin, is known for his skills with the puck and using his large frame – he’s 6’2, 190 pounds, to his advantage.  With the status of his contract in question, most teams are leery of Prokhorkin.  Prohorkin ranked #55 Masisak’s list of top prospects.

Regarding the rest of the NHL, the Washington Capitals, Arizona Coyotes, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and rivals St. Louis Blues, and Anaheim Ducks dominated the rest of the top 60 prospects list.  Two of’s writers picked the Tampa Bay Lightning’s forward Jonathan Drouin as the top prospect.  Two Scouts picked Anaheim Ducks goaltender John Gibson as the top prospect.

Of note, ex-Kings prospect Hudson Fasching who was traded to the Buffalo Sabres at the 2014 trade deadline – a deal that sent defensemen Brayden McNabb to the Kings – was on the brink of the top 60.  Fasching was drafted by the Kings in fourth round (118th overall) in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and is considered one of the most underrated draft picks of 2013.  Though he is now a Sabre, Fasching is another example of the Kings talented and hard working scouting staff, and the keen eye of GM Dean Lombardi.