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California Kids to Shine at NHL Draft

by Staff Writer / Los Angeles Kings
Top prospect Emerson Etem is one of a handful of players expected to be drafted at STAPLES Center this week that has California ties.

The future stars of the National Hockey League will be on display this weekend at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and the state of California is expected to be well represented, as five players on Central Scouting’s top 100 ranked North American skaters list are from California.

Emerson Etem, No. 8 on NHL Central Scouting’s ranking of North American skaters, grew up in Long Beach. A right wing with the Medicine Hat Tigers, Etem led all first-year Western Hockey League (WHL) players with 37 goals and was fourth with 65 points.

Beau Bennett, ranked No. 32 on their list, is from Torrance. He plays for Penticton of the British Columbia Hockey League.

Jason Zucker, ranked No. 51, is from Newport Beach and played for the U.S. U-18 program.

Jacob Fallon, ranked No. 68, is from Riverside. He plays for Indiana of the United States Hockey League.

Taylor Aronson, ranked No. 88, is from Placentia and played for Portland of the Western Hockey League.

Rancho Santa Margarita native Jonathan Blum became the first California-born and-trained first-round draft pick when the Nashville Predators took him No. 23 in the 2007 Entry Draft.

The Kings have had two players from California play for the club – Noah Clarke, LaVerne, 2003-07, and Gabe Gauthier, Torrance, 2006-08. Gauthier played this past season with the Manchester Monarchs, the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate. Brandon Kozun, who the Kings selected in the sixth-round of the 2009 NHL Draft, was born in Los Angeles. This past season he led the Western Hockey League (WHL) in points (107) and assists (75) while helping the Calgary Hitmen as a team captain to the WHL Championship and a trip to the Memorial Cup. He signed a three-year entry level contract with the Kings on April 3.
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