Prospect Watch: Alec Dillon


RinkRoyalty will be reviewing the progress of Los Angeles Kings prospects every Wednesday as the season continues to roll along.

This week’s edition of Prospect Watch takes a look at goaltender Alec Dillon.

Alec Dillon is an 18-year-old goaltender from Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada.  Nanimo is a city on Vancouver Island, and is also known as the Bathtub Racing Capital of the World.  Just so you know where Dillon’s coming from.

Dillon flies under the radar, though he is hard to miss standing at 6’5, 185 pounds.  Just a tad bigger than the average 18-year-old.

The young goaltender is just starting to make his move up the ranks toward professional hockey.

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  • Last year Dillon played his first season with the Victoria Grizzlies of the British Columbia Hockey League.

    The BCHL is a Canadian Junior ‘A’ league comprising 16 teams, that play for the Fred Page Cup at the end of the season.  The BCHL winner of the Fred Page Cup continues on to a tournament, the Western Canada Cup, with the winners of the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

    The top two teams from the WCC tournament go on to play for the Junior ‘A’ National Championship – Royal Bank Cup.

    In Canadian hockey Junior ‘A’ is a second tier under what is now called Major Junior hockey; played in the world-famous Canadian Hockey League.  The CHL is made up of three older, more renowned leagues: the Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and the Western Hockey League.  At the end of the season winners from the CHL leagues compete for the Memorial Cup.  The Royal Bank Cup is Canadian Junior ‘A’ version of the Memorial Cup.

    Dillon cut his teeth in 33 regular season games with the Grizzlies in 2013-2014.  Dillon finished the year with a record of 21-7-2, a 2.76 goals against average (GAA), a .910 save percentage (SV%), and 1 shutout.

    After helping the Grizzlies reach the playoffs Dillon played in 9 postseason games, going 4-4 with a 2.56 GAA and a .908 SV%.

    Dillon’s performance garnered attention from professional scouts.  Going into the 2014 NHL Entry Draft Dillon was ranked 13th among North American goaltenders by NHL Central Scouting.

    On June 28th, 2014 Dillon was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 5th round, 150th overall.

    Kings amateur scout of Western Canada Brent McEwen said of the young goalie, “He’s big.  He’s six-four or five.  Athletic.  I guess you use the word raw.  I think there’s a lot of potential, but he’s got a lot of work to do as well.  He’s a really intelligent kid, can do all the work.  But we just really feel like he’s got a lot of good tools, but there’s a lot that both Kim [Dillabaugh, head of the L.A. Kings Goaltender Development of the Hockey Operations department] and those guys can do with him.  He’s just sort of a blank slate, if you want to say it.”

    To get a feel for his style, here’s a video of Dillon’s shift by shift play in-game.  It’s lengthy, running about 15-minutes, but check it out if you get the chance.

    This season Dillon is with the Tri-City Storm out of Kearney, Nebraska in the United States Hockey League.  For Dillon it’s a step up, and a step into the States.

    In 24 games with the Storm Dillon is 13-5-4, with 3 shutouts, a 2.22 GAA, and a .918 SV%.  Solid numbers for the youngster.

    Recently Dillon was named a CCM USHL Player of the Week for week 17.  Dillon stopped 25 shots against the Bloomington Thunder to lead the Grizzlies to a 1-0 victory.  It was Dillon’s third shutout of the season; in all three shutouts Dillon stopped 25 or more shots.  Dillion is 1st in the USHL with 3 shutouts, 2nd in GAA, and 5th in SV%.

    Dillon is still a few years away from the NHL.  He’s already committed to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, an NCAA Division I hockey program, for the 2015-2016 season.  Dillon will be doing whatever it takes to make the Kings.

    “He’s committed to a college, but Edmonton in the Western League [WHL] had traded for his rights at the trade deadline this year.”  McEwen said.  “From what we understand what he’s stated is that he will go where we want him to go, so we’ll have to decide.”

    More from Kings News

    With excelling play and his physical gifts Dillon may be making an appearance at the Kings rookie camp faster than anyone can expect.  After all, not many goaltenders step right into the NHL at 18-years of age anymore.

    Dillon’s biggest asset is size.  Followed by work-ethic and attitude, which are two of the most important properties of goaltending.  Dillon is athletic and moves well for his size.  He looks comfortable matching the speed of opposing shooters that break in towards the net.

    Dillon doesn’t favor one style over the other.  It’s an old school method of goaltending: just reacting to the puck.  Goalies like Martin Brodeur and Dominik Hasek played the reactionary style their entire careers; opposed to players like Ryan Miller, or Tuukka Rask that are butterfly goaltenders.

    In this way Dillon can continue on a unique path, or be taught the techniques that the Kings goaltending staff decide will give him the best success.

    L.A. elected to pick a goaltender who’s big, athletic, has a Kings attitude, and is malleable.  In the past few season the Kings have gotten rid of some of their goaltending depth.  Jonathan Bernier became a Maple Leaf in 2013.  After getting Ben Scrivens in return for Bernier, the Kings shipped Scrivens off to Edmonton in early 2014.

    The stable of netminders is still strong with Martin Jones as Jonathan Quick’s backup.  Jean-Francois Berube has been impressive in his first full American Hockey League season, and Patrik Bartosak shows promise.

    The Kings organization with President/General Manager Dean Lombardi at the helm have shown they are wise, conservative, and forward-thinking.  Picking a player like Dillon is a smart bet.  With the way L.A. has developed their other goaltenders, Dillon will be getting attention and turning heads in no time at all.

    We’ll continue to watch Dillon’s development as the season, and the years continue on.

    Next: Mike Richards Trade Rumors