LA Kings Director of Player Personnel Nelson Emerson joined SiriusXM to talk playoffs, free agent additions, and prospects.
In the LA Kings Team Preview, Director of Player Personnel Nelson Emerson joined the guys on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio to discuss goals for the upcoming season, integrating the prospects into the lineup, plans for Byfield, and all things Kings.
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— SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (@SiriusXMNHL) August 18, 2021
On goals for 2021-22 season
It’s time for us to start moving upward. This year, we should definitely see an improvement in our hockey club. We think we should have an exciting team, a better team, and right there through the whole season.
Emerson on integrating prospects into the lineup
Last year was really good for a lot of these kids because they were able to play in the AHL and develop there. I think it’s really helped those kids out, and when they get a chance to play in the NHL, they’ll be better for it.
His play will dictate which uniform he’ll put on. Our expectations are that he’s going to give Todd [McLellan] a really good opportunity to have him with a spot with our club, but it will be up to him.
Emerson on other prospects who could make the Kings roster this year
Kaliyev can really shoot the puck like a long-time NHLer. His time will come, but he’ll get a good, long look in training camp.
(Also noted that Alex Turcotte and Samuel Fagemo will get a long look)
On Alex Turcotte
Turc is a kid, you watch him over the last year-and-a-half at Wisconsin and his season there and how things worked out. One thing we look at Turc is how he played at the World Juniors. This kid has a motor, he was on pucks, he was relentless on the forecheck, he was making people turn over pucks. He was so successful in that event, and that’s exactly how we want him to play. He’ll play like that in the NHL, but when will be the time for him to come in?
On drafting Brandt Clarke
You look at what he can do on the blue line, the way he’s able to get across his line, his deception. He can shoot, he can find guys on the backside of the net. He makes the forwards better on the ice when he’s out there. Just the way he skates up the ice, he’s got his head up all the time. He’s giving all these messages all around the ice to get the opposition thinking. For us, for our organization, we were so excited to get him [Clarke] at 8[th overall]. He was a player that we watched very closely this season.
On acquiring Viktor Arvidsson
He was always a guy on that club when you turn the TV on, you see him. He has relentless work, always getting into the hard areas, the scoring areas. He’s not overly big, but just the way he plays. He’s in the traffic. He hunts pucks. He can skate. He can score, and we need that. On the right side, he’s really going to help Dustin Brown. That’s a guy that Rob Blake wants, someone who is on it, who hounds pucks.
On signing Phillip Danault
Getting one of the top UFA’s really adds excitement to our hockey club. He’s able to play — like Kopitar — against everyone. It also helps Byfield, Turcotte, and Vilardi. We’re not rushing them into that second hole. They’re able to kind of find their own way, and maybe that way is playing along the wing with one of those guys. It’s just a good time for the Kings because we’re adding to our team, and we haven’t been able to do that the last few years.
Emerson on being in the playoff race
I think with these additions, we can be. That will provide excitement with Kopi and Doughty. We do expect good things to happen this year.