Los Angeles Kings: FanSided Mock Draft Selection – Paul Bittner


With the 13th overall pick in the 2015 (FanSided Mock) NHL Entry Draft the Los Angeles Kings select Left Winger Paul Bittner.

RinkRoyaly participated in FanSided’s annual Mock Draft, and our choice for the Kings was Paul Bittner.  Here’s why:

Paul Bitter is an 18-year-old from Crookston, Minnesota.  The young forward stands tall at 6’4 and weighs in at 204 pounds.

“You can’t coach speed, and you can’t train size.”

Bittner grew up playing ice hockey in Minnesota, making his jump in 2011-2012 as a ninth grader, from Crookston High School’s Varsity team to the Western Hockey League (WHL), of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).

Bittner signed with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL on April 9th, 2012.

Bittner began his rookie season as a Winterhawk on September 22nd, 2012 against the Seattle Thunderbirds, recording his first point – an assist, in the game.  At the time he was the youngest player in the WHL.  In that season, 2012-2013 season, Bittner played in 45 games, scoring 12 goals, 11 assists, 23 points, a +8 plus/minus rating, and 12 penalty minutes.

Growing into his role on the team Bittner upped his stats in 2013-2014.  In 63 games Bittner scored 22 goals, 27 assists, 49 points, a +25 rating, and 27 penalty minutes.

This past season (2014-2015 season) Bittner continued the trend – putting up career-high numbers across the board.  Over 66 games Bittner netted 34 goals, 37 assists, 71 points, an impressive +39 plus/minus, and 52 penalty minutes.

Prior to the start of the year with the Winterhawks, Bittner was invited to attend the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game.

Despite scoring 0 points in 19 games during the 2013 WHL Playoffs, Bittner was part of a team that won the 2013 WHL Championship.  The Winterhawks set a franchise record for wins that season with 57, ultimately losing to Colorado’s 1st overall pick Nathan MacKinnon and the Halifax Mooseheads 6-4, in the Memorial Cup Final.

Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings /

Los Angeles Kings

NHL Central Scouting’s John Williams has said of Bittner:

“He’s a smooth skater with really good hands who can make plays and is strong in tight along the wall. He protects the puck well and can retrieve pucks on the forecheck. With his size, strength and reach, he’s tough to handle.”

After the NHL Scouting Combine finished this week NHL Central Scouting released their final rankings for the 2015 draft.

Bittner was ranked 19th at the mid-point of the season and dropped to 26th on Central Scouting’s list.

Despite the drop in rankings RinkRoyalty (speaking on behalf of the Kings) chose to select Bittner with the 13th overall pick.

The Kings are in need of a defenseman who can step into the NHL right now.  In FanSided’s mock draft, as it’s likely to be at the real draft, the top defensive prospects:  Noah Hanifin (ranked 3rd overall), Ivan Provorov (7th), Zachary Werenski (9th), and Jeremy Roy (21st) were all taken.

Jakub Zboril (12th) and Thomas Chabot (16th) were two defensemen still available, but the intangibles of Bittner seemed too good to pass up.

Bittner is a big forward who still has time to grow into his frame.  Bittner is also known for his vision, hockey IQ, maturity and shot.  He’s a raw player, but he has the multi-faceted skill-set that could prove he’s a steal worthy of this selection.

Drafting Bittner is certainly a move for the future.  It will take Bittner one-to-two years to develop on the professional level in the American Hockey League.  However, with the potential departures of Jarett Stoll, Justin Williams, and Trevor Lewis needing a new contract in a year the Kings will need physical, talented forwards.

With their success in the AHL we should expect to see Jordan Weal, and Brian O’Neill moving up to the big leagues next year.  That means the Kings will need to replace the developing talent in the AHL.

The physicality and talent of players in the Western Conference means it’s become an arms race for teams like the Kings.  That’s another reason why he is too good to pass up.  You can’t coach speed, and you can’t train size.

To get a little more familiar with Bittner here are a few clips you can check out:

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Jun 27, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; A general view of the complete draft board after the completion of the first round of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports