LA Kings: Three biggest steals for organization in the 2020 NHL Draft

LA Kings (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /

Overall, I thought the LA Kings did a great job of grabbing talent in the 2020 NHL Draft. Here are the three best values picks of their selections.

The LA Kings kicked off the 2020 Draft selecting Quinton Byfield with the second overall pick. The Sudbury Wolves center was listed at 6-foot-4, 215 pounds before entering the draft, and he’s reportedly added another seven pounds to his frame. The Byfield pick was, by no means, underrated. It was, simply put, expected.

We knew the Rangers weren’t going to pass on Alexis Lafreniere, so it came down to a matter of whether the Kings’ front office wanted to add potentially the best center in the draft class or add a talented winger like Tim Stutzle. General manager Rob Blake was quick to the trigger, tempering expectations for the second overall pick, indicating that he likely wouldn’t play right away. But he might have the chance later in the year.

As the draft progressed, especially after Day 1, there were a ton of good names left on the board for Day 2. And if you were able to follow all of Day 2, I commend you. That was long. It’s finally over, and the Kings came away with a terrific draft class. Here are the three picks they got for the best value.

1. Helge Grans, D

Grans’ name was skyrocketing over the last couple of months, and I thought there would be no shot that the Kings get him in the second round. I was watching the draft board at the end of the first round, expecting to see his name go, but his name was never called. Then on Day 2, just four picks in, the LA Kings took the Swedish defender with the 35th overall pick.

He stands at 6-foot-4, 192 pounds, with plenty of room in his frame to fill out. Grans was ranked as high as the 19th best prospect in this class, so the fact that the Kings got him at 35 is remarkable. With the Malmo Redhawks J20 team last year, Grans scored 4 goals with 23 assists averaging a point-per-game. This season, he was off to a fast start scoring a goal and chipping in an assist in only 3 games.

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2. Alex Laferriere, RW

Did everyone do a double-take when the Kings took him? He is often confused for Alexis Lafreniere simply because their names are so close. The right-winger was still playing prep school hockey in 2018-2019 before joining the Des Moines Buccaneers at the end of the year. He spent all of the following season in Des Moines, scoring 19 goals with 26 assists for 45 points in 42 games.

He is committed to Harvard and was scheduled to get going. However, with COVID still prevalent, Laferriere will reportedly head back to Des Moines to join the Buccaneers for the start of their season. Again, had he played two full seasons with Des Moines and put up those numbers, he likely would have gone much higher. This was such a great pick for the Kings, who need pure scorers on the wing.

3. Martin Chromiak, RW

Aside from Brock Faber, I also had Martin Chromiak on my wish list. If you recall, I had him in my seven-round mock draft, but going in the sixth round. Watching the rounds flip from four to five, I even said that the Kings should target Chromiak with their 5th round pick.

Sure enough, they must have read my tweet. Kidding, of course, but I couldn’t have been happier with the pick. He stands at 6-foot-0, 181 pounds. The Slovakia native is a right-handed shot and transitioned his game to North America last year with Kingston of the OHL. He scored 11 goals with 22 assists for 33 points in 28 games in a small sample size.

Similar to Laferriere, had he made the switch sooner and given scouts more film in the OHL, I think he goes in the second or third round. What a fantastic pick for Mark Yannetti and the rest of the Kings’ scouting team.