The LA Kings will have the eighth overall pick for the first time in franchise history. Here are three players that will likely be available.
After the ping pong balls settled, the LA Kings learned that they will have the eighth overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. Not quite the same luck as landing the second overall spot a year ago, but they will still be able to get a high-impact player, especially in a draft that figures to be unpredictable.
Ideally, the Kings would have loved to get a guy like Owen Power or Luke Hughes added to their prospect pool. The former is looking more and more like the number one overall pick, while the jury is out on where Hughes lands. If he is still on the board, the decision is quite simple. If he’s not, the Kings may have to go the best player available route.
Here are three players Los Angeles should target with their first-round draft selection.
1. Kent Johnson, C
Michigan could have three players drafted within the top eight. If we’re going with the best player available, the Kings are taking Kent Johnson. He stands at 6-foot-1, 165 lbs, and was a point-per-game player for coach Mel Pearson’s highly-touted program. A left-shot forward, Kent Johnson is creative offensively with good vision and soft hands. He’s a two-way player, responsible in his own end, and should continue to fill out as he physically matures. The Athletic also recently picked Johnson in their mock draft.
For more on Johnson, see below.
2. Dylan Guenther
Guenter made the most of the shortened WHL season. He was a two-point-per-game player, accumulating 12 goals and 24 points in just 12 games. The Edmonton, Alberta native, is the same height as Johnson, but he’s 15 pounds heavier. He does a good job of absorbing contact along the boards while maintaining possession of the puck. Last year, he put up 26 goals and 59 points in 58 games with the Edmonton Oil Kings. The kids can score, and that’s what the Kings need right now.
For more on Guenther, see below.
3. Brandt Clarke
If not Luke Hughes, the Kings can take Brandt Clarke. The one problem in taking Clarke is the log jam it would create along the right side of the defense within the prospect pool. With Doughty, Roy, and Walker (for now) occupying the three spots, it’s already tough to imagine where Brock Faber, Helge Grans, and Jordan Spence potentially fit in.
Still, there’s a lot to like about Clarke’s game. He stands at 6’2″, 190 lbs, and put up five goals and ten assists in 26 games playing against grown men in the Slovakia League last season. He also showed well at the U18s, potting two goals and seven points in seven games for Team Canada.
For more on Clarke, see below.