The LA Kings have made a splash into the university free agency, as they’ve signed Taylor Ward to a one-year entry-level contract which will kick off next season.

The son of former LA King Dixon Ward has spent the last four years of his life playing with the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where he has been appointed the alternate captain for the previous two years.

This year, the 23-year-old led his team in points, recording 39 points in 38 games. In his 131 game career, Ward has notched 57 goals and 115 points. 

Unlike other ELCs, Ward can only sign a one-year entry-level contract due to his age. The contract will kick in next year, but Taylor will join the Ontario Reign of the AHL on an amateur tryout contract. 

Having him in the AHL will let the player soak his feet into the LA Kings’ system. He’ll get to know the fellow prospects, the coaching staff, and the style of hockey. 

Standing at 6’2 and 207 pounds, Ward is known to throw a heavy hit and stand up for his teammates. The Kings have struggled physically all season long, so it’ll be reassuring to see Rob Blake bring in a player who can drop the gloves whenever he has to while scoring a crucial goal from time to time. 

Congratulations to Taylor, and all the best to him in the AHL this season!