Kings, Ducks fill needs in NHL Draft
As the 2014 NHL Draft came to a close Saturday in Philadelphia, the Los Angeles Kings came away from the with a wide array of new talent while the Anaheim Ducks were able to fill a key organizational need. While the ink dries on the contracts of the first-rounders and Ryan Kesler searches for real estate in Newport Beach, here’s a look at how each team fared on the second day of the draft.
The Ducks head a heavy emphasis on defensemen, something the minor league system has lacked since Hampus Lindholm and Cam Fowler were promoted to the big club and never looked back. Without a ton of picks to pick up the project-types or high-risk/high-reward players, the Anaheim scouts wanted to be smart about their four second-day selections.
"Our philosophy is to take the best player available," said Martin Madden, the Ducks’ Director of Amateur Scouting.. "From that perspective, we accomplished our task in this weekend’s draft. We got players our staff is passionate about and who fit the Ducks’ identity.
Two defensemen, Swedish-born Marcus Petterson (38th overall) and Canadian Brandon Montour (55th overall) were taken in the second round. Petterson brings significant international experience while Montour, 20 years old out of the USHL and committed to play this fall for the University of Massachusetts, is a solid two-way presence at the blue line.
Very honored to be a part of the @AnaheimDucks thanks to my family and friends for the support! Time to put in the work!
— BrandonMontour (@Montour93) June 29, 2014
Another defenseman, Matthew Berkovitz, was chosen with the 123rd selection. The Ducks added another winger as well with 18-year-old Ondrej Kase (205th overall), who was one of the top wingers for the Czech Republic junior national team.
The Ducks are currently ranked the second-best farm system by HockeysFuture.com, but the talent pool boasts more forwards and even goalies than defensemen at the moment. Lindholm is up with the big club and Sami Vatenen showed he is ready to be as well. The emphasis on defensemen addresses the biggest organizational need.
Los Angeles Kings
The Kings came away with a haul – everything ranging from the winger who was a steal in the second round and a raw but potentially dominant goalie.
— NHL (@NHL) June 28, 2014
The day began with the Kings making a deal to send center Linden Vey to Vancouver for a second round pick. Vey has been NHL-ready for quite a while and spent significant time with the club in Los Angeles this season but the only opening for a centerman in the near future is on the fourth line and Vey projects as a second-line center. Kesler, the same type of center as Vey, left a vacant spot in Vancouver when he was traded to the Ducks.
With the second-round pick coming from the Vey trade, L.A. took defenseman Roland McKeown (50th overall). Comparable to Chicago d-man Brent Seabrook, McKeown was initially projected to go in the first round. When his name wasn’t called, it became more about the organizational fit to Kingston (Ontario Hockey League) blue liner. A big fan of defenseman Drew Doughty, the chance to play alongside him was one of the most exciting parts of the day for McKeown.
"They’re Stanley Cup champions, and Drew Doughty’s on the team. What better way could it go?" he said. "That trade, when I was heard it, I was like, ‘OK, this is going to get interesting.’ To be able to have that trade and then move up to get me was a very proud moment, and know you were wanted at that spot."
McKeown was also high on the Kings’ next pick, Finnish defenseman Alex Lintuniemi (60th overall).
— LA Kings (@LAKings) June 23, 2014
"Walking over here, I asked who we took at 60, and that’s a great pick. Lintuniemi’s a great defenseman in Ottawa, and i’ve played against him a lot. To have him in our organization is great."
The Kings took two more defensemen, Steven Johnson at 120, and Jacob Middleton at 210.
Canadian goaltender Alec Dillon was described as a "blank slate" by the Kings’ Western Canada scout. Raw and athletic with a big 6-foot-5 frame, it’s an enticing prospect should he pan out. It’s unclear what his next step is as he’s committed to play for Renseelaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., but the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western League traded for his rights and it’s believed that he will go where the Kings ask him to. It’s also unclear if Darryl Sutter has already bungled the name Alec and called him Alex, much like he’s been known to do with current defenseman Alec Martinez.
Two Canadian wingers, Matthew Mistele (180th overall) and Spencer Watson (209th) as well as center Jake Marchment (157th overall) rounded out 2014 draft class for the Stanley Cup Champs.