Prospect Watch: Holiday Edition – Best of the Farm System


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

This week’s edition is a Holiday Special that takes a look at the best of this year’s Los Angeles Kings farm team system.

The Los Angeles Kings American Hockey League affiliate is the Manchester Monarchs.  Other than prospects, such as Valentin Zykov, Nick Ebert, who are young enough to play in European or Russian elite leagues, or Canadian Juniors.

The main route to the Kings roster comes directly from the AHL’s Monarchs.  It’s a right of passage that players must go through.

A current example is Andy Andreoff, who is just this season making the transition from AHL regular to finding and fitting into a Kings roster spot and role.

Live Feed

This is a big year for Alex Turcotte and the Los Angeles Kings
This is a big year for Alex Turcotte and the Los Angeles Kings /

Puck Prose

  • 3 teams that should acquire Carter Hart from the Philadelphia FlyersPuck Prose
  • Penguins News: Carl Hagelin is now retiring from the NHLPuck Prose
  • NHL 24: Predicting the highest rated players at every positionApp Trigger
  • Los Angeles Kings: 3 insane trade packages for Connor HellebuyckPuck Prose
  • Quinton Byfield a Logical Trade Target for Philadelphia FlyersBroad Street Buzz
  • Andreoff has played in 8 games in the NHL, and all of them have been for the Kings this season.  Andreoff’s first game was October 14th against the Edmonton Oilers.  Andreoff’s most recent game was October 31st, against the Detroit Red Wings.  After registering 0 points, 3 shots and 12 penalty minutes; Andreoff was sent down to Manchester on a two-week Conditional Loan.

    On December 20th Andreoff returned to the Kings, but has yet to suit up in the Black, White and Silver.

    In the time between Andreoff played 7 games with the Monarchs during which he scored 5 goals, 10 points, 11 penalty minutes, and a +8 plus/minus.  The stint included Andreoff’s first professional career hat-trick, and highest point-scoring game on the same night against the Portland Pirates on December 17th.

    After 7 games Andreoff is 10th on the Monarchs in points.

    It’s clear that there’s a skill difference between the NHL and AHL.  It takes time for players to work their way in.

    Kings young up-and-comer Tyler Toffoli spent the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons going back and forth between the Monarchs and the Kings.  This season Toffoli is second on L.A. with 10 goals and 24 points in 35 games.

    Tanner Pearson had a similar experience.  Pearson also spent the last two seasons between L.A. and Manchester.  Pearson, another regular in the Kings lineup this season, is tied for first in goals, and eighth on the team with 11 goals and 14 points respectively.

    The Kings know how to develop players, and President/General Manager Dean Lombardi has a keen eye for ripened players that are ready to make the jump to the NHL.  There are a number of players that are carrying the Monarchs this season that could be donning the Los Angeles Kings uniform soon.

    More from Kings News

    Rumors are floating that the Kings are looking to re-sign forward star Justin Williams.  According to the Kings are currently up against the cap-limit.  After placing Slava Voynov on Not Active player status the Kings have an estimated $3.33 million in space.

    They also have to re-sign Justin Williams, Jarret Stoll, Tanner Pearson, Tyler Toffoli, Robyn Regehr, Martin Jones, Jordan Nolan, Kyle Clifford, Andy Andreoff, and if they so choose, Jamie McBain.

    The NHL salary cap is expected to jump up from $68.95 million to $72.00 million.  It will certainly help the Kings situation, but players like Pearson, and Toffoli are in line for a big pay-raise from the $750,000 range to, more than likely, a $3.3 million range each.

    It’s going to be difficult, even for Lombardi, to keep everyone they want to keep.  For the Kings that means there’s two limited options:  either re-structure some veteran contracts, or refill their ranks with younger, and in all honesty, cheaper players.

    The first three to four weeks of December Kings GM Lombardi traveled with the Monarchs, extensively watching their games.

    Manchester has had a successful run in the first three months of the season.  After 28 games the Monarchs are first in the Eastern Conference of the AHL with 42 points and a record of 20-6-1.  Manchester is second in the AHL, one point behind the Utica Comets with one game in hand.

    Manchester has been led by three or four major contributors, who like L.A. seemed to be generating points from a strong presence in the center of the ice.  Three of the four top scorers for Manchester are centermen.

    Brian O’Neill is the only winger, or not centermen, in the top four scorers for Manchester.  O’Neill has 9 goals and 35 points in 28 games.  In the last week, the week from December 14th to December 21st, O’Neill was named the CCM/AHL Player of the Week.  In 3 games O’Neill scored 1 goal and 9 assists.

    In the Portland blowout on December 17th, the Monarch won 8-2 and O’Neill tied a franchise record for assists and points in a single game with 5 assists.

    O’Neill leads the AHL in assists, 26, and points, 35.

    Nick Shore is second on Manchester in points with 32, and leads the team in goals with 15.  Shore also received the honor of CCM/AHL’s Player of the Week earlier in the season, during the week of November 9th to November 16th.

    Sep 25, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Tyler Toffoli (73), left wing Dwight King (74) and center Jordan Weal (60) celebrate a goal in the second period of the game against the Anaheim Ducks at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

    Shore is currently tied for leading the league in goals.  The 22-year-old centermen is in his second season with the Monarchs and seems to be progressing exactly how the Kings imagined.  No one can replace an Anze Kopitar, but Shore, who plays a similar game, could fit in for the Kings third line duties taking the place of an older veteran and more expensive centermen like Jarret Stoll.

    Shore currently has a whopping plus/minus of +21.  Shore leads the AHL by 3 plus/minus points.

    Jordan Weal is the second centermen in the top four scorers on the Monarchs.  Weal is third on the team with 28 points in 28 games.  The point-per-gamer has 11 goals, which is second on the Manchester roster.  Weal is the main man to go to on the power-play, leading the Monarchs with 5 goals.

    Weal led Manchester to a 5-4 victory over the Providence Bruins on December 2oth, heading into the break.  Weal had 3 assists and a goal that gave Manchester a two-point lead, and turned out to be the eventual game winner.

    Over Manchester’s last three games, four players have registered four-point games:  Andreoff, O’Neill, Shore, Weal.

    Sounds like the next crop of L.A. Kings.

    It will certainly bring some holiday cheer around the Kings front office when they’re discussing prospects.

    The Monarchs next game is scheduled for Friday, December 26th in Worcester against the Sharks.  Puck-drop is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. EST.

    Sep 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Nick Shore (37) controls the puck in the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports