LA Kings: Lukas Parik “Puts His Life’s Energy Into His Work”

A season in the USHL hopes to help LA Kings prospect Lukas Parik as the netminder prepares for life in the AHL with the Ontario Reign.

Last month, LA Kings prospect Lukas Parik signed a one-year deal with the Ontario Reign. But, after a season with the WHL’s Spokane Chiefs, the 6-foot-4 netminder took his game to the USHL, joining the Dubuque Fighting Saints, for the 2020-21 season. This, in preparation for the next step in his career.

I recently spoke with Fighting Saints head coach Oliver David who told me about Parik’s season in Dubuque, including how he fit in with his new team, but also advice for the 20-year-old as he prepares for the AHL.

Any type of change or transition comes with a learning curve, and this was no different for Parik. Making the transition from the major-junior ranks to the developmental United States Hockey League came with a brief period of getting to know his new surroundings. However, according to David, Parik’s adjustment was seamless.

“Lukas made the transition smoothly,” beamed the Dubuque head coach. “He had plenty of experience playing outside of [Parik’s native] Czech Republic prior to arrival with us. Honestly, it didn’t feel like he was making a transition. He fit in right away.”

Parik fared well in 20201-21. For the Fighting Saints, he went 15-8-4 with a 3.35 goals-against average but with a fairly underwhelming save percentage of .867. As far as attitude went, though, the Dubuque head coach couldn’t have been happier with that of his new goaltender.

“Lukas is easy to be around,” David noted. “His presence and play were welcomed by us all, as he arrived at a time in the season we were looking for stability in goal. He gave all he had to us.”

Last month, Parik signed a one-year contract with the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the aforementioned Ontario Reign. Of course, while this marks an exhilarating step in the youngster’s career, it will also mark one of significant, you guessed it, transition. After all, this will be Parik’s first taste of life as a pro. With that in mind, however, Parik does have an advantage with the Kings’ current goalie development coach, Matt Millar.

Having come from Dubuque himself as both a goalie coach and an assistant coach, Millar’s time with the Fighting Saints helped him establish a relationship with Oliver David. The two remain in touch and will be certainly sharing feedback on Parik and his play.

I asked David what advice he has for the Czech netminder as he enters the professional ranks.

“I would advise Lukas to take advantage of working with Matt Millar by staying close and seeking input,” he explained. “Matt puts his life’s energy into his work. Helping Lukas reach a high performing level is no doubt on his mind daily. Learning to appreciate this will be of great value to Lukas.”

How Lukas Parik transitions as a pro will be just one of many fascinating storylines for the LA Kings and Ontario Reign next season. Only time will tell as far as how Parik fares in Ontario but with his attitude, Matt Millar’s guidance, as well as 6-foot-4, 220-pound frame, Lukas Parik should have what it takes to make a name for himself in southern California, which may include an invitation to crack the Kings roster somewhere down the road.