LA Kings prospect Alex Turcotte needs to take the next step in 2022

Ontario Reign (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ontario Reign (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

LA Kings prospect Alex Turcotte was drafted fifth overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He needs to take the next step to live up to the hype.

Before we get started, let me say this: It is way too early to consider Alex Turcotte a bust.

I say this because as his fellow first-round picks from the 2019 Draft not only make their NHL debuts but also excel in them, some LA Kings fans have to be wondering if maybe the number five overall pick was too high for him.

Again, it’s way too early to say one way or another.

It is not too early to say that out of the players drafted after Turcotte in the 2019 draft, Dylan Cozens, Trevor Zegras, Spencer Knight, Cole Caufield, Alex Newhook, and Tobias Bjornfot have already played significant time or made a significant impact with their NHL clubs.

Although they have each only played a few games, Victor Soderstrom, Cameron York, Peyton Krebs, Ville Heinola, Connor McMichael, and Nolan Foote have also made their NHL debuts – and they were drafted after Turcotte in the first round of the 2019 draft as well.

While he has yet to make his LA Kings debut, Alex Turcotte did make his pro debut last season for the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League. There, he was reunited with his USA Hockey National Team Development Program coach John Wroblewski.

Although he missed time due to injury (a problem that has plagued him throughout his young career), he had a decent first pro season – posting six goals and fifteen assists in twenty-one games played. Turcotte really seemed to find his groove toward the end of the season with the Reign, showing flashes of why the Kings took him with the fifth overall pick.

Barring a truly exceptional LA Kings training camp, Alex Turcotte will most likely at least begin next season back with the Ontario Reign. There, he will probably join fellow highly touted prospects Rasmus Kupari, Samuel Fagemo, Tyler Madden, and Akil Thomas, among others (I fully expect Quinton Byfield, Arthur Kaliyev, and Lias Andersson to start the season in LA). With a year of AHL experience under his belt, Turcotte should be leading quite a formidable group of forwards once the Reign season starts.

The LA Kings are expected to make some high-profile acquisitions in the offseason, and strangely, this could work out to Alex Turcotte’s advantage. The reason being if the Kings have their top nine, or even all four lines, for that matter, established, then there is no reason to rush Turcotte or any of the other prospects playing in Ontario to the NHL.

Of course, the Kings management, coaching staff, and fans don’t want them to spend their careers in the AHL, but it won’t be terrible if they are not in the NHL this season. One more season with a coach the caliber of John Wroblewski could be the best thing for both the organization and players like Turcotte.

With that said, if Alex Turcotte is not ready for the NHL by the 2022-23 season, then that would potentially be a big problem. He has the motor, hockey IQ, and skills to be a star in the NHL. Sometimes players just need a little longer to bring their skill set to its full potential.

Even still, Turcotte will need to have a solid, if not big, season with the Reign to keep the doubters at bay. As long as those doubters do not include the LA Kings management and coaching staff, Alex Turcotte will be just fine.

If he has a poor second pro season, the pressure will be significantly turned up thanks to his lofty draft spot. For this reason, Alex Turcotte really needs to show what he can do in this upcoming season. I’ll say right now. I think we’ll see Alex Turcotte battling his fellow 2019 first-round draft picks for the right to lift the Stanley Cup within a few years.