Drafted in the second round of the 2021 NHL Draft, LA Kings prospect Francesco Pinelli is impressed with how Dev Camp has unfolded thus far.
A player that probably should have been selected at the tail end of the first round, Francesco Pinelli fell to the LA Kings early in the second round. Director of Amateur Scouting Mark Yannetti moved up to get the Hamilton, Ontario, native, whose combination of size and stick handling are off the charts.
Pinelli was selected 13th overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection Draft by the Kitchener Rangers. In his first season with the club, the then 16-year-old accumulated an impressive 18 goals and 41 points in 59 games. Without an OHL season in 2021, the young forward played in Slovenia against older competition, tallying five goals with six assists in 13 games. He returned to North America for the U18s, helping Team Canada win the gold medal, accumulating seven points in seven games along the way.
Expected to return to the OHL in the upcoming season, Pinelli is fine-tuning his skills at the LA Kings dev camp this week. Following Day 3, he spoke with the Kings’ media.
On early impressions through the first three days of dev camp
Oh yeah, obviously, meeting all the staff and the players and the prospects. I think the facility’s unbelievable. So everything around me is top-notch and professional. I couldn’t be happier with where I landed, and it’s been a great three days so far.
On how what his offseason has looked like since being draft
I’ve been training, trying to keep in shape, and getting better every day. And then obviously, coming down here to LA, and I’m starting with the development camp. Just flying down, it’s been a really good experience so far. And I can’t wait for the next few days.
On what he feels his biggest challenges remain in his development
Just getting bigger and better every day. I think it starts in the gym, you know, speed, strength, all that kind of stuff plays a huge role in today’s game. And I think to get to that next level, you got to continue working on all those things, and even [the] little details. So I think just nailing down on all the parts of my game and making sure I could be the best player I can be and continue to grow and get better.
On how his time over in Slovenia helped make the transition into dev camp easier
Going to Slovenia helped me, playing against the older guys, so I kind of got a feel for it. It’s a pretty good league. Just meeting all those guys down there, I think I kind of transition pretty nicely into the development camp, meeting all [of] these older guys. So, yeah, it’s been good so far.
Thoughts on his game through the first three days of camp
I think the practice they run and the program they got us on is incredible. I’m liking how these three days have unfolded, and it’s continuing to get better and better. I feel really good here.
On the development staff’s expectations for him
Through practice, we do battle drills, we battle on the wall, picking up puck speed today, and the first day was scoring. So every practice, there’s a new theme and a new thing to focus on. So, whatever they ask, I make sure I do it and making sure I’m picking up pucks properly off the wall or focusing on scoring when that practice was there and just continue scoring. Then also, just battling and competing to the highest level [that] I can.