The 2017 draft
I’ll tell everyone right now. This is the latest draft year you will see on this list. While the 2019 and 2020 draft years have the potential to be the best drafts in LA Kings history, only one member of those draft classes (Tobias Bjornfot) is currently playing regularly in the NHL.
This will change starting next season, but to be considered a successful draft, legitimate NHL players must come from it, and as of right now, we don’t have a sample size big enough to see how the 2019 and 2020 classes will turn out.
This brings us to the LA Kings 2017 draft class. This class has produced three full-time NHL players so far – centers Gabe Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan and defenseman Mikey Anderson. Drafted in the first, second, and fourth rounds, respectively, the top half of this draft class looks like it will make a significant impact.
Vilardi is considered to be the “blue chip” prospect for this Los Angeles draft class. Originally thought to be a potential top-five pick, Vilardi fell to the Kings at #11 because of injury concerns. Those concerns would turn out to be well-founded, as Vilardi would spend the next year and a half rehabbing a back injury that would keep him off of the ice.
Now fully healthy, Vilardi became a full-time member of the LA Kings this season. He struggled for stretches, but he also showed the potential he has, especially when it comes to his passing ability. He will undoubtedly have competition for ice time next season, but don’t sleep on Gabe Vilardi.
In the very next round, the Kings selected Jaret Anderson-Dolan out of Spokane of the Western Hockey League. Known for his strong 200-foot game and exceptional leadership ability, Anderon-Dolan, or JAD as he also known as, was originally projected by some to be a second-line center at the NHL level.
It appears now that he will settle in as a third or perhaps fourth-line center, but a great recent comparison for JAD would be Jarret Stoll – and if the LA Kings have another Jarret Stoll on their hands, nothing but good things can happen.
Like Anderson-Dolan, defenseman Mikey Anderson is also known for his strong leadership skills. Taken in the fourth round by the Kings, Anderson had a standout college hockey career at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
After his college days were over, Anderson played one season with the Ontario Reign before making his full-time debut with the LA Kings this season. Spending most of his time as Drew Doughty‘s regular defense partner, he exceeded expectations.
Mikey Anderson is not a flashy offensive defenseman, but he has the poise and defensive awareness of a seasoned veteran, which will serve the Kings well into the future.