Prospect Watch: Brayden McNabb


RinkRoyalty will be reviewing the progress of Los Angeles Kings prospects every Wednesday as the season continues into full swing.

This week’s edition of Prospect Watch takes a look at defensemen Brayden McNabb.

The 23-year-old Brayden McNabb is a defensemen from Canada that played his junior hockey for the Kootenay Ice in the Western Hockey League.  He is listed at 6’4, 208 pounds.  Drafted in the 3rd round (66th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Buffalo Sabres.  McNabb was traded to the Kings at the 2014 trade deadline.  McNabb was part of a deal where the Kings recieved McNabb, Jonathan Parker, and two 2nd round picks in exchange for prospects Hudson Fasching, and Nicholas Deslauriers.

McNabb is one prospect who might not be a prospect for very long.

The Kings have six set defensemen:  Superstar Drew Doughty, assisstant captain Matt Greene, Robyn Regehr, Alec Martinez, Slava Voynov, and Jake Muzzin.

McNabb has never played in the NHL for the Kings, but he has played in the NHL.  During the 2011-2012 season McNabb played 25 games for the Sabres, tallying his first NHL goal, and 8 points.  In 2013-2014 McNabb was called up to play 12 games for the Sabres in which he registered 0 points.

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  • In between stints in the NHL McNabb played for the Sabres American Hockey League affiliate the Rochester Americans.  With the Americans McNabb played 45 (2011-2012), 62 (2012-2013), and 38 (2013-2014) games.  In addition to the 38 games with the Americans in 2013-2014 McNabb played 14 games with the Manchester Monarchs, switching AHL teams in accordance with his NHL contract rights being traded.  Over these three AHL seasons McNabb averaged 34 points a season.

    McNabb is a physical defensemen, and his size is an accompanying asset to his game.  He’s comfortable with his size, and can throw his weight around.  Younger players that are growing can struggle with their own body size.  It’s because so much of hockey, and defense inparticular, is about body positioning.  McNabb doesn’t have this problem.  He knows how to advantageously position himself and match the speed of other players.

    Jason Chimera is no small man, and he’s no young rookie; he doesn’t skate with his head down, and Chimera is the one usually looking to be the hitter.  Here McNabb gets the better of him; possibly a little late but certainly not interference.

    What is holding McNabb back are other parts of his game.  McNabb is not the most polished skater.  His ability to move the puck is inconsistent.  A large part of his puck moving problems are due to his vision on the ice.  When it comes to hitting and reading plays McNabb is on an NHL level.  Reading a play, and anticipating opposing players when moving the puck up ice is where McNabb struggles.  And moving the puck is a vital aspect of the skill-set required of today’s NHL defensemen.

    McNabb is participating fully in the Kings training camp.  He is sure to see time with the club during their preseason games.  More likely than not, McNabb will start his season in the AHL with the Monarchs.  As the regular season gets under way, and injuries occur McNabb is likely to be a first or second option call-up for defensemen.  During the 2014 Stanley Cup run the Kings elected to call-up Jeff Schultz for 7 games.  Schultz has five full NHL seasons under his belt, playing for the Washington Capitals.  Schultz has yet to suit up for the Kings during the regular season.

    If McNabb can progress in the puck control areas of his game he will improve his position on the Kings depth-chart.  The Kings know what he has to offer defensively; McNabb needs to start exceeding expectations of his offensive development.  If he does he’s sure to find himself wearing the coveted Black and Silver on a regular basis.