Los Angeles Kings Prospect Report (Part 1 of 3)

Los Angeles Kings Prospect Report (Part 1 of 3)

by August 5, 2021 0 comments

There’s been a changing of the guard in Los Angeles since the hockey club won two Stanley Cups in three seasons from 2012 to 2014. Although star players like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick still remain, the Los Angeles Kings have undergone a massive transformation both on- and off-the-ice with hopes of (once again) building a winner. They’ve done this by assembling one of the best prospect pools the National Hockey League has ever seen. 

The Kings are reaching unheralded and unchartered territory with regards to their vast crop of youngsters. General manager Rob Blake has assembled an all-worldly crop of prospects that are elite, versatile, and dynamic in every stretch of the imagination. In the first of a three-part series, let’s dive in and analyze four highly-touted prospects in the Kings system. 

Related: Check out our 2021 NHL Draft Recaps here.

Tyler Madden, Center, 21

Albany, NY native Tyler Madden gets the ball rolling as one of the Kings’ most impressive prospects. At 21 years of age, Madden is the complete package and a prototypical two-way centerman who can do it all on the ice. He has good speed with long, powerful strides, and sees the ice extremely well. Madden has good hands and is solid around the net.

Madden’s decision making (both with and without the puck) is one of his real strengths. He is defensively responsible, a great passer, and can turn defense into offense in the blink of an eye. An injury-plagued 2020-21 campaign saw him skate in just 14 games with Los Angeles’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Ontario Reign. A full season of health would do wonders for one of the Kings’ most promising prospects. Listed at 5’11, 152 pounds (on a good day), size really is the only knock against him. If he can “fill out” and grow into his body, don’t be surprised to see Madden in the NHL as early as next season.

Mikey Anderson, Defenseman, 22

Next up is 22-year-old Anderson, from Fridley, MN. The 2020-21 NHL campaign saw the defenseman quickly establish himself as a regular on the Los Angeles blue line. From a statistical perspective, he skated in 54 games, posting one goal and 11 points with an even rating in 21:11 worth of ice time. He even spent the vast majority of the season on the King’s top-pairing alongside Drew Doughty. Not too shabby for a 22-year-old.

There’s certainly a lot to like about what Anderson brings to the table. He is confident with the puck and remains poised under pressure. His game has also evolved from a defensive-minded blue-liner to one who is not afraid to jump into the rush. Anderson is strong on his feet, possesses good size (6’0, 198 lbs), and is wise beyond his years. It certainly appears as though the Kings have themselves a really nice piece on their defensive core for years to come.

Quinton Byfield, Center, 18

Quinton Byfield is widely regarded as the most talented and coveted prospect in Los Angeles by a country mile. What a player fans of the Kings have on their hands here. Born and raised in Newmarket, ONT, Byfield can be described as a physical specimen that just oozes with raw skill and potential. At 6’4, 220 pounds and at the tender age of 18, Byfield’s game revolves around size, goal-scoring ability, and an elite skill set.

The No. 2 overall pick by the Kings in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft is one of those players who just loves to make things happen. He carries the puck with the power of an NFL running back, and loves to drive play. Last season with the Ontario Reign of the AHL, Byfield skated in 32 contests, scoring eight goals with 12 assists. His play was something to behold so much that the Kings even called him up for six games. Byfield is a slam-dunk prospect and the complete package as a player. Look for “Big Q” to make his mark at the NHL level as early as next season. He really is that special.

Brandt Clarke, Defenseman, 18

Last (but certainly not least) is defenseman Brandt Clarke. Drafted eighth overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Clarke joins an impressive group of talented young prospects on the left coast. Born and raised in the Ottawa area in Nepean, ONT, Clarke is one of those players who makes something happen every single time he touches the ice. He is quick on his feet, incredible on his edges, and has a real keen eye for offense. For an 18-year-old, Clarke also has excellent size (6’2, 190 lbs) and should continue to grow and develop over the next year or so. 

Like many Canadian junior prospects, Clarke was robbed of an opportunity to showcase his talents this past season in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) due to COVID-19. Since he could not play for the Barrie Colts, Clarke decided to ply his trade in Slovakia with HC Nove Zamky. While playing in Europe, he tallied five goals and 15 points in 26 games to go along with a plus-six rating. That’s pretty impressive for an 18-year-old playing with grown men. Clarke is an exciting young player who will likely shift his focus back to North America ahead of next season. Clarke is certainly a player to “keep your eye on”. 

Part two of the three-part Los Angeles Kings prospect series is coming soon, so stay tuned!

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