Jaret Anderson-Dolan has two years remaining of his entry-level contract, and he’s determined as ever to make the LA Kings roster.
The youth movement for the LA Kings has been an auspicious one thus far.
While the club hasn’t made the playoffs since 2018, things are definitely looking up for the LA Kings. One big issue, however — or, if you will, first-world problem — is that the silver-and-black have too much young talent to choose from.
For 2017 draft pick Jaret Anderson-Dolan, he hopes to crack the big club’s roster and, at last, become a full-time member of the LA Kings.
Since being drafted three years ago (2nd round, 41st overall), Anderson-Dolan has spent the vast majority of his time in the LA Kings organization with the AHL’s Ontario Reign. While this may not be unusual for LA Kings prospects, the Calgary native nonetheless feels ready to make the permanent jump to the NHL.
It may not seem like a long time ago to some, but Oct. 7, 2018, may as well be a lifetime ago to Anderson-Dolan. This is when he made his NHL debut but has since made leaps and bounds in his game, largely thanks to his development with the Reign.
The centerman spoke with the media on Saturday to address how he’s evolved in the last two-plus years.
“I think there’s a lot better details, better overall game,” Anderson-Dolan said. “You know, got a lot of experience last year, every situation with Ontario: killing penalties, taking big faceoffs, playing powerplay. So, I didn’t know– I just matured, I think, as a player and as a person. Obviously, in two years, that’s quite a big difference and, you know, just quite a bit stronger, more explosive. So, just everything comes with being– going to go into battle a little bit more. As a 19-year-old, 20-year-old in the AHL, it’s a little bit of a learning curve, but I’m stronger, and I think a little bit smarter as well.”
While primarily a center, Anderson-Dolan has had some experience playing as a winger — a position he experimented with at camp. He was asked how comfortable he is changing positions.
“I’m able to adapt to a little bit of both,” the 21-year-old noted. “I played center, so I’m a little bit more comfortable there, but, you know, any position that will give me a chance with the Kings or any team, I’ll adjust to that. That just comes with an open mind.”
Overall, the Calgary native just has an unwavering desire to begin the 2019-20 season in Los Angeles, regardless of which position the coaching staff wants him to play.
“It honestly doesn’t matter to me too much,” Anderson-Dolan admitted. “Anywhere that I can get a chance to play and make a difference and help the team win, I’m willing to play.”
Since wrapping up his major-junior career in 2018, Anderson-Dolan made his way to southern California to join the LA Kings organization. However, in three years with the organization, the former Spokane Chief played just nine total games with the LA Kings, collecting one assist during that time. Furthermore, some could suggest that this year’s training camp poses more of a challenge for a player on the fence as far as making the LA Kings goes. Unlike previous training camps, however, this year’s installment has no preseason games. To his tremendous credit, though, Anderson-Dolan is unfazed.
“It’s just, you know, using every opportunity you can get,” the youngster said. “Whether that’s a practice or, you know, watching extra video or in the scrimmage [like Saturday], it’s just taking advantage of the opportunities. We don’t make excuses here.”
When asked whether he’s thinking about starting another season in Ontario, the centerman didn’t hesitate in making his intentions clear as day.
“The roster’s not set yet, so I’m not really thinking about that,” Anderson-Dolan stressed. “I’m treating it like I’m going to be [in Los Angeles] on opening night.”
When the LA Kings selected him in 2017, Jaret Anderson-Dolan made news not so much for his hockey talents but for his upbringing.
Raised by two mothers, Anderson-Dolan is a strong advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. This alone helped fans see a personal side of the Calgary native, one that so many can relate to thanks to his compassion, empathy and determination.
Beyond that, though, Jaret Anderson-Dolan is a solid player, and while the Ontario Reign have certainly benefited from his on-ice prowess, the 21-year-old knows what he can bring to the table for the LA Kings. With that in mind, the youngster is ready to help the big club transition to the next level.
He may only have nine games to show for his NHL experience but with a brand new season comes a fresh new page, and Jaret Anderson-Dolan is more motivated than ever to become a full-time King.