Prospect Watch: Vincent LoVerde

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 Vincent LoVerde.

The 25-year-old LoVerde is currently a defensemen with the Los Angeles Kings American Hockey League affiliate the Manchester Monarchs.  The 5’11, 200 pound defensemen is in his second full season with Manchester.

Vincent LoVerde started his journey to professional hockey through the NCAA.  LoVerde joined the Miami of Ohio University Redhawks, men’s Division I hockey team, after playing the United States Hockey League for the Waterloo BlackHawks.  LoVerde was drafted to the Ontario Hockey League by the Plymouth Whalers, in the 10th round, 189th overall, in 2005, but chose to play in the USHL instead.  LoVerde started his freshman year, playing in 42 games for the Redhawks.

In his sophomore season LoVerde helped the Redhawks get to the NCAA tournament, a tournament at the end of the season that is considered playoffs and serves as a way to determine who the NCAA Champion will be.  The Redhaws entered the tournament as the fourth seed, the lowest seed, in the West Regional division.

The Redhawks reached the Frozen Four (the last four teams in the tournament, or the semi-final round), after defeating the number one seeded powerhouse Denver 4-2, and then Minnesota-Duluth 2-1, to win the West Regional.

In the Frozen Four Miami of Ohio beat the Cinderella story team Bemidji State 4-1, to advance to the final.  The Redhawks ultimately fell to Boston University 4-3 in overtime.

LoVerde continued with the Redhawks, finishing his fourth year as a senior.  After his senior season ended LoVerde joined the Ontario Reign in the East Coast Hockey League, a semi-pro league that is just below, and works with, the AHL.  In his first game with Ontario LoVerde played 64 games, registering 5 goals, 24 points, 54 penalty minutes, and a +14 plus/minus.

After 27 games in his second season with the Reign LoVerde was called up, (or loaned as the AHL/ECHL leagues term it) on loan to the Manchester Monarchs.  LoVerde would finish the season with Manchester putting up 2 goals, 13 points, 30 penalty minutes and a +17 plus/minus over 51 games.

Last year, 2013-2014, LoVerde played 70 games with Manchester registering 2 goals, 20 points, 46 penalty minutes and a +37 plus/minus.  LoVerde’s impressive +37 rating was tied for second in the AHL during the 2013-2014 season.

On May, 14 of 2014 the Kings signed LoVerde to a one-year, $550,000, entry level contract.

Through 11 games with the Monarchs this season LoVerde has 1 goal, 2 points, 9 penalty minutes, and an even or 0 plus/minus rating.

LoVerde also has the distinctive honor of being named the Monarchs captain for the 2014-2015 season.  LoVerde was named captain of the team on October 28th, by new Manchester head coach Mike Stothers.  Stothers gathered together a group of returning Manchester veterans for a series of meetings before deciding on LoVerde as the 11th captain in Monarch history.

LoVerde called the appointment “a privilege and an honor.”

“You’re kind of the voice of the team, but at the same time, I ask my assistant captains a lot of questions,” LoVerde said.  “They help me a lot and you’re just kind of relaying messages back and forth.  In terms of responsibilities, I think obviously there’s some stuff that’s tough to do or you have some tough conversations.  But, it’s part of the responsibility of being captain is having those tough conversations sometimes.”

Captains in hockey serves as tenured veterans that help young players transition into the culture of the team.  Captains are expected to lead the team and be a model of behavior both on and off the ice.  Coaches tend to pick players with a great knowledge of the game as captains as well, because captains interact with officials on the ice, and help to make the coaches job easier by serving almost as a player-coach.

LoVerde is a smaller player with offensive prowess.  LoVerde is known as a defensemen that is good with his body position, by putting himself in opportunistic, favorable positions between him and his opponent.

Defensemen in the NHL have started to develop more in their later years.  Some examples are Zdeno Chara, and Duncan Keith.  Both Chara and Keith were clearly talented but neither gained notoriety or were showered with awards until they were at least 27 years old, which in today’s NHL is considered middle-aged.

It’s good for the Kings to know they have someone like LoVerde who has played professional hockey for a few years, helping younger prospects to develop into professionals, acclimated to the regular grind.  LoVerde will also be an asset as a call-up option for the Kings should the run short of defensemen.  Though, because of their stature and influence as teaching veterans, NHL clubs don’t usually like to call up captains to their roster because they don’t like to take those players out of their AHL affiliate’s lineup.

LoVerde will continue to improve and polish his own game as he helps bring other players along.  LoVerde has a chance to demonstrate his leadership abilities to the Kings club this season as well has his hockey prowess and performance.

We’ll continue to watch as the season progresses, and we hope the new captain will see his time extended with the Kings and Monarchs clubs.

Sep 22, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings defenseman Vincent LoVerde (50) battles for the puck with Arizona Coyotes left wing Jordan Martinook (48) during the third period at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports