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Kings of Tomorrow: Prospects to World Juniors, Injuries & Other Updates

Welcome to the second installment of Kings of Tomorrow, where we keep tabs on the prospects of the Los Angeles Kings who aren’t playing in the AHL or ECHL.

We covered each players journey over a three-week period from Wednesday, November 21 through Tuesday, December 11.

If you missed the first edition of Kings of Tomorrow, you can go back and read it here.


Gabe Vilardi – C – LA/Ontario (NHL/AHL)

We wouldn’t normally include any Los Angeles Kings or Ontario Reign roster players on here, but Vilardi is in a unique situation.

He was cleared to play for the first time this season and made his professional debut on November 29 when he began a four-game conditioning stint with the Reign. In those four games, LA’s first-round selection in 2017 had one assist and an even plus/minus rating.

Vilardi was loaned to Team Canada on December 10 for the upcoming World Juniors Tournament where, should he stay healthy, will undoubtedly play a significant role for the Canadians.

“He certainly shows a real hockey sense. He’s got an awareness of where he should be. There’s a good hockey mind there to go along with the talent that he has.”Reign Head Coach Mike Stothers to LA Kings Insider Jon Rosen following Vilardi’s pro debut


Jaret Anderson-Dolan – C – Spokane (WHL)

The countdown is on for Jaret Anderson-Dolan.

JAD, who is also at Team Canada’s Selection Camp in B.C. along with LA prospects Villalta and Markus Phillips, was officially cleared to practice on December 10 after undergoing surgery for a broken wrist at the beginning of November.

Although he is not allowed to participate in contact drills yet, the Kings’ second-rounder last year has been passing and shooting without issue this week and, according to Team Canada brass, still has a realistic chance to make the final roster.

Keep an eye out for JAD when Canada’s roster is officially announced.

2018-19 – Spokane (WHL)

GP: 2 | G: 2 | A: 0| PTS: 2 | +/-: -1


Matt Villalta – G – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

Villalta made his return to the OHL Soo Greyhounds’ lineup on November 23 after missing 6 games with a leg injury.

In his first appearance in exactly 3 weeks, the Kings’ 2017 third-rounder gave up 5 goals in a 5-4 overtime loss in Guelph. Since his return, Villalta has been shaky, compiling a 5-3 record to go along with a 3.38 GAA and underwhelming .885 SV%.

Villalta is currently at Team Canada’s National Junior Selection Camp with two of his Greyhounds teammates. The Godfrey, ON native is in a goaltending duel with two other Canadian Hockey League netminders: Michael DiPietro (Ottawa, OHL/Vancouver, NHL) and Ian Scott (Prince Albert, WHL/Toronto, NHL) at the camp, which is taking place in Victoria, British Columbia.

Villalta, who was an OHL walk-on in 2016, says he is feeling stronger every day since recovering from his leg injury and has his sights set on earning Canada’s #1 goalie job at the upcoming tournament in Vancouver.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
11.23/18 @ GUE L5-4OT L 5 27 0.815 9-2-3
11.24/18 @ OS W7-4 W 4 36 0.889 10-2-3
11.29/18 @ WSR L3-2 L 3 35 0.914 10-3-3
12.1/18 @ SAG W7-4 W 4 33 0.879 11-3-3
12.2/18 @ FLI W5-3 W 3 28 0.893 12-3-3
12.5/18 vs FLI W7-2 W 2 21 0.905 13-3-3
12.7/18 vs GUE W4-3 W 3 32 0.906 14-3-3
12.9/18 vs BAR L4-2 L 3 24 0.875 14-4-3

2018-19 – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

GP: 21 | R: 14-4-3 | GA: 62 | SV: 575 | SV%: .903 | SO: 1


Rasmus Kupari – C – Karpat (SM-liiga)

In the last edition of Kings of Tomorrow we talked about Kupari’s hot start to the season for a 1st-place Karpat team who are 23-4-1.

Well, he’s still red-hot.

LA’s first-round pick this past June performed at a point-per-game pace in his previous six Finnish League games, collecting two goals and four assists to go along with a +7 rating, including this beauty of a goal:

The smooth-skating center also played in two Champions League Playoff games against Salzburg with Karpat, where he went pointless in a 3-2 loss and 1-1 tie.

LA Kings Assistant General Manager Mike Futa recently took a trip overseas to watch some of the team’s prospects in person. When he got a chance to watch Kupari, Futa liked what he saw, noting his excellent skating, high compete level and physical development.

Kupari should be a lock for Team Finland at the World Juniors later this month.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.23/18 vs L6-5 1 1 2 2
11.24/18 @ HEL W5-2 1 1 2 3
11.30/18 @ KOO W4-0 0 0 0 0
12.1/18 @ PEL W3-2 0 1 1 1
*12.4/18 @ SAL L3-2 0 0 0 0
12.7/18 @ HAM L3-1 0 0 0 -1
12.8/18 vs HEL W6-1 0 1 1 2
*12.11/18 vs SAL T1-1 0 0 0 0

*Denotes Champions League Playoffs

2018-19 – Karpat (SM-liiga)

GP: 26 | G: 8 | A: 13| PTS: 21 | +/-: +11


Akil Thomas – C – Niagara (OHL)

Perhaps playing with a bit of a chip on his shoulder after not being invited to Canada’s World Junior Selection Camp, Akil Thomas is trying to prove to team brass they made a mistake.

The slick playmaker has 11 points (3g, 8a) in his last seven games played, highlighted by a four-point effort (1G, 3A) in a 6-1 win over Owen Sound.

Thomas had recently missed six games with an upper-body injury, but since returning to the Ice Dogs’ lineup the 5’11” forward has helped Niagara to six wins in their previous seven games.

Thomas’ recent run and 38 points in 24 games this season (not to mention a whopping +22 rating) make it difficult to believe he was left off Team Canada’s invite list.

Maybe it’s because he’s an 18-year-old and the World Juniors is typically deemed a tournament that heavily favors 19-year-olds.

But then again, as an 18-year-old, Thomas was 9th in the OHL in points-per-game as of December 11 with 1.58 PTS/G, which was more than other 18-year-old World Junior Invitees like Liam Foudy (1.04 PTS/G) and Ty Dellandrea (1.04 PTS/G).

Thomas’ average was also better than the likes of fellow OHLers and camp invites Nick Suzuki (1.54 PTS/G), Owen Tippett (1.43 PTS/G), Alex Formenton (1.23 PTS/G), Isaac Ratcliffe (1.17 PTS/G) and Jack Studnicka (1.14 PTS/G).

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.23/18 vs BAR W6-2 1 1 2 3
11.24/18 @ HAM L5-2 0 0 0 0
11.29/18 vs OS W6-1 1 3 4 3
11.30/18 @ KIT W7-2 1 0 1 3
12.2/18 @ HAM W5-1 0 0 0 1
12.6/18 vs SAG W6-5 0 3 3 1
12.8/18 vs NB W5-2 0 1 1 1

2018-19 – Niagara (OHL)

GP: 24 | G: 11 | A: 27 | PTS: 38 | +/-: +22



Ice Hockey - Winter Olympics Day 16

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Nikolai Prokhorkin – C – St. Petersburg (KHL)

Could we actually be seeing Prokhorkin in a Kings jersey as early as next season?

Maybe, maybe not.

As noted earlier, LAK Assistant GM Mike Futa traveled overseas to do some scouting. One of the players he talked with while on the trip was Prokhorkin, who apparently gave Futa his word that he wasn’t going to be signing a new contract in the KHL once his current one expires at the conclusion of the season.

Prokhorkin has been a fairly consistent producer in his KHL career and is currently having his best season to date. The 6’1” winger has 12 goals through 21 games on the season and recently tallied three points (2G, 1A) in five games for a St. Petersburg team who is tearing up the league with a 28-5-1-2 record.

We mentioned that this would be a situation worth monitoring in our last edition, and Futa’s recent comments fresh off his trip to Russia make this an even more interesting situation to watch.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.22/18 @ SEV W6-1 0 0 0 2
11.24/18 @ CSKA L3-1 1 0 1 1
11.26/18 @ DINR W3-1 1 0 1 1
11.28/18 @ VIT W6-0 DNP
12.4/18 vs TORP W6-0 DNP
12.6/18 vs AKB W5-1 0 1 1 1
12.10/18 @ HCD W2-0 0 0 0 0

2018-19 – St. Petersburg (KHL)

GP: 21 | G: 12 | A: 5 | PTS: 17 | +/-: +13


Bulat Shafigullin – F – Nizhnekamsk (KHL)

Shafigullin’s nightmare start to the 2018-19 season continued over the last few weeks.

He has yet to record a point in 27 games in the KHL and has just two assists in 44 career games. The 6’1” forward has a mere 10 shots through 27 games and hasn’t played more than 10 minutes in a game since September 24, when he played 10:50 in a 2-0 loss to Kunlun.

Adding salt to the wound is the fact that the 2018 third-round pick was left off of Russia’s World Junior Selection Camp roster after representing his country at the recent Canada-Russia series, where he put up one goal in five games.

Yikes. Here’s hoping Bulat can somehow turn his season around.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.22/18 @ TRA L3-2 0 0 0 0
11.28/18 vs LOK L4-3SO 0 0 0 0
12.1/18 vs SEV L3-2 0 0 0 0
12.8/18 @ TOR L5-3 0 0 0 0
12.10/18 @ SOC W3-2 DNP

2018-19 – Nizhnekamsk (KHL)

GP: 27 | G: 0 | A: 0| PTS: 0 | +/-: -4


Aidan Dudas – C – Owen Sound (OHL)

After a stretch that saw him put up 11 points through 8 games, the small and shifty Dudas has just one assist in his previous eight contests.

The low point came on the weekend of November 23/24 where he went pointless with a combined -5 rating in blowout losses to London (7-2) and Sault Ste. Marie (7-4).

The 18-year-old Dudas was just shy of averaging a point-per-game last season and is now at 26 points in 31 games this year.

He should bounce back just fine from this rough patch.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.23/18 @ LON L7-2 0 0 0 -3
11.24/18 vs SSM L7-4 0 0 0 -2
11.25/18 vs SAG L3-0 0 0 0 0
11.28/18 @ ERI W2-1 0 0 0 1
11.29/18 @ NIA L6-1 0 0 0 0
12.1/18 vs BAR W3-1 0 1 1 0
12.8/18 vs LON W5-1 0 0 0 1
12.11/18 vs GUE W3-2 0 0 0 0

2018-19 – Owen Sound (OHL)

GP: 31 | G: 11 | A: 15 | PTS: 26 | +/-: -6


David Hrenak – G – St. Cloud State (NCAA)

Hrenak was listed in the “Who’s Cold” section in the last edition of Kings of Tomorrow after posting a save percentage of .862 in his past 5 games.

He rebounded in a very nice way for #1 ranked St. Cloud State.

The Slovak went 2-0-1 in his next three games while allowing just three goals and a .959 SV%. He registered his second shutout of the year in a 2-0, 18-save win over Nebraska-Omaha, whom he also beat 7-1 the next day. The performance earned him the NCHC’s Goaltender of the Week award.

The 144th overall pick in the 2018 NHL Draft knew he had to be better. He told Mick Hatten and The Bemidji Pioneer that he was trying to do too much before eventually turning things around.

Hrenak is now 10-0-1 on the season.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
11.30/18 @ MIA T4-4 DNP
12.1/18 @ MIA T2-2 T 2 27 0.925 8-0-1
12.7/18 vs NEB W2-0 W 0 18 1 9-0-1
12.8/18 vs NEB W7-1 W 1 21 0.952 10-0-1

2018-19 – St. Cloud State (NCAA)

GP: 11 | R: 10-0-1 | GA: 20 | SV: 228 | SV%: .919 | SO: 2


Johan Sodergran – RW – Linkopings HC (SweHL)

In our last update, Sodergran was set to return to Linkopings lineup after suffering a concussion playing for Sweden at the 4 Nations Tournament in the Czech Republic.

He ended up missing 4 games before making his return on November 22, a 3-2 loss to Rogle where Sodergran picked up an assist. In total since coming back from the concussion, the 6’3” forward has three points (2G, 1A) in six games with a -1 rating.

LA’s sixth-round selection in June is now up to 10 points in 21 games after going pointless through 20 games last year.

Sodergran is also attending Sweden’s World Junior Selection Camp where he is a strong candidate to play at the tournament at the end of the month.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.22/18 vs ROG L3-2 0 1 1 0
11.24/18 @ MOR W2-1 0 0 0 -1
11.29/18 @ LUL L2-1SO 0 0 0 0
12.1/18 vs MAL W4-3 1 0 1 1
12.6/18 @ BRY W5-2 1 0 1 0
12.8/18 vs FAR L1-0 0 0 0 -1

2018-19 – Linkopings (SweHL)

GP: 21 | G: 7 | A: 3 | PTS: 10 | +/-: +3


Jacob Ingham – G – Mississauga (OHL)

Ingham was named as one of our “Who’s Hot” players in the last edition of Kings of Tomorrow, where he went 6-2 with a .927 SV% over an eight-game stretch for the Mississauga Steelheads.

This time, however, he’s a candidate for the “Who’s Cold” list.

After this torrid run, Ingham has since registered a 1-6 record to go along with a .871 SV%. The 2000-born goaltender allowed 31 goals over a seven-game stretch – twice allowing seven goals in a game. The only time he surrendered three or fewer goals during that span was when he snapped a five-game losing streak with a 4-2 win over Oshawa on December 7.

The Christmas break can’t come soon enough for Ingham.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
Games Played Result GA Shots SV% Record
11.22/18 @ LON L7-4 L 7 35 0.8 13-7-1
11.24/18 @ SBY L3-2 L 3 34 0.912 13-8-1
11.29/18 @ BAR L4-2 L 4 40 0.9 13-9-1
11.30/18 vs HAM L5-2 L 4 36 0.889 13-10-1
12.2/18 @ SBY L7-0 L 7 32 0.781 13-11-1
12.7/18 vs OSH W4-2 W 2 29 0.931 14-11-1
12.9/18 vs SAG L5-3 L 4 35 0.886 14-12-1

2018-19 – Mississauga (OHL)

GP: 27 | R: 14-12-0 | GA: 84 | SV: 738 | SV%: .898 | SO: 1


Mikey Anderson – D – U. of Minn-Duluth (NCAA)

Mikey Anderson is set to play in his second straight World Juniors Tournament with Team USA, with whom the defender won a bronze medal one year ago.

While he’s currently away for the Selection Camp process after being named to the preliminary roster (Jack Hughes is also at the camp, for those #LoseForHughes Kings fans reading this), Anderson played in four games for his Minnesota-Duluth team over the last couple of weeks. Despite his squad going 1-2-1 in the four games, Anderson had a strong showing before leaving for the World Juniors.

The 6’0” defenseman snapped a seven-game pointless drought when he potted a goal and an assist in a 5-0 win over Notre Dame. He also went +3 in the game. The 2017 fourth-rounder also tallied an assist in a 3-2 defeat at Western Michigan one week later.

Anderson will be relied on to lead Team USA to a fourth consecutive medal when the World Juniors starts on Boxing Day.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.30/18 vs ND W5-0 1 1 2 3
12.1/18 vs ND L2-1 0 0 0 -1
12.7/18 @ WM L3-2 0 1 1 1
12.8/18 @ WM T1-1 0 0 0 0

2018-19 – Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)

GP: 16 | G: 3 | A: 4 | PTS: 7 | +/-: +4


Markus Phillips – D – Owen Sound (OHL)

Phillips was the busiest player in our last roundup and he’s among the more active ones yet again.

Phillips put up two points (1G, 1A) and a -3 rating in seven games since our last update for a competitive Owen Sound team. He missed the Attack’s last game – a 3-2 win over Guelph – as he is yet another Kings prospect who found an invite to the Selection Camp for Team Canada.

Although he may be considered a long shot to crack Canada’s lineup, Phillips has obviously been playing well enough this year to get some recognition internationally.

He hasn’t put up as many points this year as he has in previous OHL seasons (39 points in 68 games in 2017-18, 43 points in 66 games in 2016-17), but he did get picked to play in both of the OHL games in the Canada-Russia series that took place in November.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.23/18 @ LON L7-2 0 0 0 -2
11.24/18 vs SSM L7-4 0 0 0 -1
11.25/18 vs SAG L3-0 0 0 0 0
11.28/18 @ ERI W2-1 0 0 0 1
11.29/18 @ NIA L6-1 0 0 0 -2
12.1/18 vs BAR W3-1 0 1 1 1
12.8/18 vs LON W5-1 1 0 1 0
12.11/18 vs GUE W3-2 DNP

2018-19 – Owen Sound (OHL)

GP: 30 | G: 2 | A: 8 | PTS: 10 | +/-: 0


Cole Hults – D – Penn State (NCAA)

Cole Hults continues to lead the defensive pack on a Penn State team that sits ranked ninth in the country.

The sophomore defenseman put up another five points (2G, 3A) over the most recent 6-game stretch, tying his total goal output from last year (three) in 22 fewer games.

Hults, who was a fifth-round pick by the Kings in 2017, leads all Penn State defensemen with 13 points and tied for third on the team with a +13 rating.

Penn State has been fairly inconsistent in their games this year – just take a look at the table below – but at least one thing has been consistent this year: Colts Hults.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.23/18 @ OHST W4-3 1 1 2 1
11.24/18 @ OHST L5-2 0 0 0 0
11.30/18 @ WIS T3-3 0 1 1 0
12.1/18 @ WIS L8-5 0 0 0 -1
12.7/18 vs NOTRE L5-4 1 1 2 2
12.8/18 vs NOTRE W9-1 0 0 0 0

2018-19 – Penn State (NCAA)

GP: 17 | G: 3 | A: 10 | PTS: 13 | +/-: +13



2016 NHL Draft - Portraits

Photo by Jeffrey T. Barnes/Getty Images

Jacob Moverare – D – Frolunda HC (SweHL)

There’s not a whole lot to update on with Moverare. The 20-year-old LA prospect who is on loan to Frolunda recently went pointless over six games.

While the smooth-moving Moverare continues to find his stride through the initial 17 games in the Swedish League, the good news is that when he’s been in the lineup he has been getting decent minutes, usually ranging in the 12-15 minute mark.

Nov. 21 – Dec. 11

Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
Games Played G A P Plus/Minus
11.23/18 vs FAR W4-1 0 0 0 0
11.24/18 @ FAR L3-1 0 0 0 0
11.27/18 vs ROG L2-1 0 0 0 -1
11.29/18 vs BRY W1-0OT 0 0 0 0
12.1/18 @ MOR L3-0 DNP
12.6/18 @ ORE L7-1 0 0 0 0
12.8/18 vs VAX W1-0SO 0 0 0 0

2018-19 – Frolunda (SweHL)

GP: 17 | G: 1 | A: 1 | PTS: 2 | +/-: -6


Alexander Dergachyov – C – St. Petersburg (KHL)

The giant Russian centerman Dergachyov has missed St. Petersburg’s past 11 games. His last game was on November 5 against CSKA Moscow where he suffered a hematoma, but it remains unclear when he will return to the lineup.

2018-19 – St. Petersburg (KHL)

GP: 19 | G: 4 | A: 2 | PTS: 6 | +/-: +4


Who’s Hot

C Rasmus Kupari – Kupari stays on our Hot List by continuing his torrid pace. The Finn averaged a point-per-game in his last six games with a +7 rating. Oh, and he’s doing all of this as his team’s youngest player.

C Akil Thomas – 11 points in his last seven games. 38 points in 24 games on the season. +22. 9th in the OHL in points-per-game. And still no Team Canada invite.

G David Hrenak – After being on the Cold List last time, Hrenak went 2-0-1 with a shutout and .959 SV% while earning the NCHC Goalie of the Week award. That will get you on the Hot List every time.

Who’s Cold

RW Bulat Shafigullin – Shafigullin is here for the second straight edition. His struggles continued and he’s now up to 27 KHL games without a point. He was also left off of Team Russia’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors. You’ve gotta feel for the kid.

G Jacob Ingham – Doing the complete opposite of Hrenak, Ingham finds himself on the Cold List this time. The Mississauga Steelheads goaltender went 1-6 and allowed six goals in two separate games.

C Aidan Dudas – We’re not expecting Dudas to be in this spot for long. However, when you register one point in your last eight games after hovering around a point-per-game over the past 1.5 seasons, maybe putting him here will give Dudas the spark he needs to bounce back.



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