High atop the Kings shopping list for the 2013 NHL Draft was to fill the need for a scoring left winger.
Kings GM Dean Lombardi decided that player was not going to be around when their first pick – No. 57 overall – was called. So, as he has done in years past, Lombardi found a way to move up in the draft, this time packaging three picks (No. 57, 88 and 96) for Edmonton’s selection at 37.
With the pick, the Kings selected 18-year-old Russian Valentin Zykov, who played last year in the Quebec Junior League and scored 40 goals and 75 points in 67 games en route to being named the CHL Rookie of the Year.
Offensive help was the focus for the Kings at this year’s draft as five of their seven picks were forwards. The Kings, always seeking big bodies up front, drafted 6-foot-6 224-pound right winger Justin Auger with their second pick (4th round, 103 overall). Auger had 16 goals and 33 points in 35 games last year for Guelph (OHL).
The Kings traded away their final pick (7th round, 208 overall) to New Jersey, providing a touching moment to the end of the 2013 NHL Draft when Devils goalie Martin Brodeur announced that New Jersey had drafted his son, Anthony.
In Anaheim, much of the talk heading into the draft circulated around whether or not the Ducks would trade forward Bobby Ryan.
“Some teams have called us about certain players on our team,” said Ducks GM Bob Murray. “There wasn’t a lot of talk today. The last couple of days leading up to the draft, there were a lot of rumors circulating and I followed up, because I was interested in certain players if they were available, and I had to find out what the asking price was.”
In need of help on the blueline, the Ducks took Shea Theodore from Seattle (WHL) with their first round selection (26th overall).
“We’re very excited to be able to get him,” said Murray. “When you can get a big defenseman who skates like that and moves the puck like that, it’s good. The way the game is going, you’ve got to be able to move the puck and get it up the ice, and he can definitely do that.”
Theodore still needs to work on the defensive aspect of his game and is still a few years away from being NHL-ready.
“He’s a real down-to-earth kid,” said Murray. “He’s got a little fire in his belly. He wants to grow and he agrees with our assessment on things he needs to work on, and he has no problem talking about that.”
The Ducks took a gamble with their second-round pick (45th overall) with their selection of Nick Sorensen from the QMJHL. The Denmark native has battled the injury bug the last two seasons, being limited to 54 regular season games. He has great speed and competes well, but if he can’t stay healthy it won’t matter.
“I felt very good after meeting with Anaheim,” Sorensen said shortly after being drafted. “It was the team I really wanted to go to. I couldn’t be happier. I’m really happy also because [Hampus] Lindholm and [Rickard] Rakell (in the Ducks system) are good friends of mine. I was really hoping it was Anaheim, a great situation for me.”
The Ducks’ final three selections were: Defenseman Keaton Thompson (third round, 87th overall), right wing Grant Besse (fifth round, 147th overall), and center Miro Aaltonen (sixth round, 177th overall).