Friday, September 20, 2013

One To Watch: Los Angeles Kings

The recent Stanley Cup champions have built their team around size and skill and added to both of those categories at the 2013 NHL Draft. New additions like 40-goal man Valentin Zykov and 6'7 winger Justin Auger fit the bill not to mention CHL Goaltender of the Year Patrik Bartosak.

L.A.'s NHL depth allows the team the luxury of bringing along their prospects slowly and that's paid off for guys like Slava Voynov, Jake Muzzin, Trevor Lewis, Dwight King and Jordan Nolan. That's good news for guys that are still biding their time on the farm.     

2012 Choice: Martin Jones - The former Calgary Hitmen goalie wasn't drafted but signed after an impressive camp invite. Heading into last year it was feasible that with so many Jonathan Bernier trade rumors going around, a NHL appearance might be in Jones' near future. That didn't happen but he did manage to have arguably his best professional season. He played 56 regular season games and held a 2.53 GAA and 9.19 SV%. 

My Los Angeles prospect pick for One To Watch in 2013-14 comes after the jump. 

Hudson Fasching (RW)
Minnesota Golden Gophers
6'3, 214 lbs
Drafted 118th overall in 2013

Photo: Tom Sorenson
Early last season Fasching was touted as a probable 1st round pick but he didn't have a great offensive season. His 11 goals in 65 games were disappointing given expectations heading into the year. He finished the year with 36 points spread out through the USNTDP's U18 team schedule consisting of USHL, NCAA and international games. 

Quite frankly, despite his numbers, I'm still very surprised he slid all the way to the fourth round. The potential is still there and at 6'3 and 214 lbs, what's not to like? I have to think that's going to be a huge motivator for Fasching in his freshman season at Minnesota. 

When I had head coach Don Lucia on the show from Lake Placid in August, Fasching was a player he spoke very highly of for not just the Gophers but potentially for Team USA and the 2014 World Junior Championship. 

Photo: Tom Sorenson
I'm probably biased in Fasching's favor just because of how impressed I was with him after his appearance on TPS 12 months ago. I'll admit that I have a soft spot for guys who come across well on the show, even more so for those with such high character and reputation like Fasching does. 

He's my choice for 2013-14 One To Watch because I want to see if he can rebound from a down year. It will be tough to do because he's moved up to the collegiate level but playing closer to home and with lots to prove, I'm intrigued by the story.

Next Up: Vancouver Canucks       

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