The LA Kings will continue to have success finding players in the fourth round of the draft. Here are three players they should target.
Looking back at the last several NHL drafts, the LA Kings scouting department has identified talent in the fourth round. In 2019, it was defensemen Jordan Spence and Kim Nousiainen. 2018, Aidan Dudas. 2017, Mikey Anderson and Markus Phillips. 2016, Jacob Moverare.
The 2021 NHL draft offers added complexity with the OHL season canceled and several other leagues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Mark Yannetti and the rest of the Kings scouting department have earned the trust that they will find an impact player. Let’s look at three the organization should consider drafting.
First, a quick refresher of the LA Kings draft picks.
— Ryan Sikes (@LAK_Ryan) July 14, 2021
With the 109th overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, the LA Kings select…
Tyson Galloway, LHD
The first thing you notice about Tyson Galloway is his size. Not only that, but this blueliner is quick. He’s a good skater that can carry the puck through all three zones. Galloway doesn’t have the strongest shot, but he has a very accurate wrist shot, especially in the slot. He’s creative with the puck, using that big body to shield would-be defenders and skates right past them for scoring chances at the net.
A second-round pick in the 2018 WHL Bantam Draft, the Kamloops, BC native, used what he learned in 27 games at the BCHL level during part of the 2019-20 season to take the next step in his development. In the abbreviated 2021 WHL schedule, Galloway accumulated four goals and five assists in only 17 games for the Calgary Hitmen. He finished with the second-most points among Hitmen blueliners.
- Age: 18
- Height: 6-foot-4
- Weight: 214 lbs
- Shot: L
A massive two-way defenseman who improved his skating and positioning to become of the Hitmen’s better defenders, Galloway wasted little time carving out a strong draft-season resume during the shortened WHL season. The 25th overall pick in the 2018 WHL draft, Galloway produced eight points in his first 11 games, and although he was the beneficiary of some crazy puck luck (that includes a 200-foot goal that wasn’t into an empty net), he still played up to his potential and proved that he can be a difference-maker. Galloway still fits into the “raw” category as you’d like to see him take on more responsibility on a top pairing, but he can be a tough customer who consistently neutralizes opposing rushes with either his stick or his physicality. – The Draft Analyst
Carter Mazur, LW/RW
Drafted third overall by the Tri-City Storm in the 2018 USHL Phase I Draft, Carter Mazur might just be one of the best-kept secrets in this draft. He was passed over last season, but the University of Denver commit will surely hear his name called after his most recent campaign.
Mazur went from a six-goal, 13-point campaign in the 2019-20 season to a 20-goal, 44-point season while captaining Tri-City in 2020-21. He looked like a more confident version of himself this past season, scoring goals in bunches within five feet of the net.
- Age: 19
- Height: 6-foot-0
- Weight: 168 lbs
- Shot: R
A top-liner alongside center Hunter Strand, Mazur benefitted from an increase in muscle and quickness to establish a reputation as one of the USHL’s better low-slot threats. The Denver commit also ranked among the league leaders in power-play and short-handed scoring as he helped Tri-City claim the Western Conference’s best record while yielding the second-fewest goals in the USHL. A native of Michigan, Mazur took a significant step forward in his development and displays multiple pro-level traits. – The Draft Analyst
Simon Knak, LW
Another 02-born player passed over in last year’s draft, Simon Knak finished tied for the eighth-most points (29) in the WHL in the abbreviated 2021 season.
The Zurich, Switzerland forward expanded off a promising 2019-20 season, one that saw him tally 34 points in 49 games for the Portland Winterhawks. He captained Team Switzerland at the World Juniors, recording a goal in four games before enjoying a widely successful sophomore year in Portland.
A forward with a knack (pun intended) for scoring, Simon Knak can score in a lot of different ways; he can carry the puck on his own through the neutral zone, but he also excelled in providing support on odd-man rushes, often the recipient for tap-ins.
- Age: 19
- Height: 6-foot-1
- Weight: 194 lbs
- Shot: L
A notable Swiss import who can play center or wing, Knak was a critical piece for Portland by playing on the top line and excelling in all situations, including the penalty kill. After an impressive rookie season in 2019-20 in which he was used as a middle-six option, Knak blossomed into one of the WHL’s most prolific shooters, firing a ridiculous 91 shots in only 24 games to rank 10th in the league, while his 16 goals were good for third.
Knak has been on the international stage for several years, albeit with a Swiss team that’s usually cannon fodder for the opposition.
Nonetheless, he played in his second under-20 world junior hockey championship last winter (1 goal in 4 games) and should be a year or two away from making the men’s national team. Knak returned to his native Switzerland during the shutdown and appeared in 25 games for Davos (3 goals, 5 assists) in the elite NLA against adults.
He has above-average speed for his size but excellent balance and tight-quarter agility, where defenders must respect his quick turning ability. Knak loves to shoot off the pass has a deadly shot-release combination, but he also can roof pucks from in tight or make a move close to the net. – The Draft Analyst
Main Photo via Calgary Hitmen