Since returning from injury, LA Kings prospect Kim Nousiainen has been on a tear, tallying four points in four games last week.
The middle rounds of the NHL Draft seem to be a sweet spot for LA Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti. Mikey Anderson, Jordan Spence, Aidan Dudas, and Austin Wagner were all fourth-round picks in recent drafts. Anderson is giving the Kings good minutes as a rookie on the team’s top pairing with Drew Doughty, and Austin Wagner scored on a breakaway on Saturday.
In terms of talent found in the fourth round, the Kings might as well add Kim Nousiainen to the list. Drafted in 2019, the Finnish defenseman tallied eight goals with 20 assists in 32 games for the KalPa U20 team.
In one of our recent prospect reports, we noted that Nousiainen only logged 5:22 in KalPa’s 4-0 win back on February 5. After some digging, we were able to determine a big hit sidelined him for a few games, but Nousiainen returned last week to score a goal and two assists across three games.
That hot streak carried over into this past week’s games, as the 20-year-old tallied four points in four games, including a goal and an assist in KalPa’s 3-0 win on Saturday.
Here’s what DobberProspects said with regards to Nousiainen back in April 2020:
"He is a draft pick that carries high-risk, higher reward pedigree as he lacks size and muscle for a defenceman with many of his abilities being raw and in need of refinement. Although he is not a defensive liability his play on the back end will need to improve in order to make the jump to North America. The offensive upside he provides is very strong, and he will have to rely on those instincts to prove his long term offensive production outweighs the early growing pains and flaws with his game."
Speaking of Jordan Spence, the 20-year-old defenseman has settled in nicely with his new team, tallying eight points in eight games. In Val d’Or’s only game last week, Spence scored a goal and fired three shots on net.
While the LA Kings don’t have that blue-chip defensive prospect to hang their hat on, they continue to stockpile hidden gems plucked in the middle rounds of the NHL Draft.