In a year of evaluation that’s already seen a couple of prospects make their debut, the LA Kings should take a long look at Samuel Fagemo next.
In his first season on a North American rink, Samuel Fagemo has looked every bit the player that had a breakout performance at the 2020 World Juniors. The Göteborg, Sweden native went undrafted in 2018 and tried his luck again in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. After scoring 25 points in 42 games with Frolunda of the SHL during the regular season, Fagemo shined in the playoffs, tallying six goals and ten points in 16 games en route to Frolunda’s fifth SHL Championship.
The 20-year-old remained in Sweden for the 19-20 season, scoring 13 goals with nine assists in 42 games. He led all skaters in the World Juniors with eight goals and 13 points in seven games. And going undrafted may have been the best wake-up call for Fagemo.
“He didn’t play like this his draft year. Not even close,” stated LA Kings Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti. “Our biggest complaint his draft year was that the guy’s got speed, but he doesn’t attack, he doesn’t compete. His game was incomplete and inconsistent. I think it was an eye-opener for him when he didn’t get drafted and sometimes you need that experience to push you forward.
“If he doesn’t pass through the draft, I don’t think he’s the player he is today.”
Fagemo made the trip across the pond for the shortened 2021 season, playing for the LA Kings AHL affiliate in the Ontario Reign. While the Reign have recently ripped off two consecutive wins, it’s been a difficult season overall for John Wroblewski’s group, tallying just three wins in 15 contests. Despite their struggles to keep the puck out of their own net, Fagemo has been one of the most consistent players among the forwards.
The 21-year-old has amassed six goals and four assists thus far, one point behind Rasmus Kupari for the team lead in points. Kupari was recently promoted twice, the second time seeing live-game action, and accounting for a 44.8 xGF% in three contests.
The Kings are dealing with several injuries offensively, with Dustin Brown missing Sunday’s game against the Avalanche, Jaret Anderson-Dolan out for the last couple of weeks, and Martin Frk playing in just one game before being sidelined again. As a result, the bottom-six forward group has left a lot to be desired, and some new blood is needed to spark the group.
Enter Samuel Fagemo.
In a year of evaluation, the Kings have given Kaliyev a one-game sample size, Kupari three games, and Anderson-Dolan six games. JAD will likely take Michael Amadio’s place on either third or fourth-line center when he’s healthy, and Fagemo can provide a real scoring threat from the wing.
Consider the following the statistics and expected-goals-for percentages for the players who have largely comprised the bottom-six wingers.
- Trevor Moore: two goals, seven assists, 45.5 xGF%
- Austin Wagner: three goals, three assists, 46.5 xGF%
- Carl Grundstrom: three goals, three assists, 40.1 xGF%
- Matt Luff: one goal, zero assists, 46.0 xGF%
Moore has been a pleasant surprise this season. I really like his speed and decision-making on the team’s fourth line, and I would keep him in the lineup. Among the remaining three, you really have your choice of who Fagemo should see playing time over.
Just under halfway through the 56-game game schedule, can Fagemo possibly do worse? Let’s see what the kid can do.