LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Kings have selected defenseman Derek Forbort in the first round (15th overall) of tonight’s NHL Entry Draft, hosted by the Kings, before 11,052 at STAPLES Center. Rounds two through seven will take place at STAPLES Center tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. The Kings currently hold seven more selections. The Kings originally held the 19th overall pick, but traded that selection (along with the 59th overall pick) to Florida for the 15th overall selection.
"I want to play in the NHL," Forbort said. "That’s my dream. Just getting drafted by the Kings, it’s a great organization. I’m excited to get after it and come and play here."
Forbort, 18, played the last two seasons in the U.S. National Development Program and was the highest rated USHL skater (ninth) in the final rankings of NHL Central Scouting.
“The draft shotgunned pretty fast. He was next on our list and we didn’t think he would get to us (at No. 19) and he was pretty well separated from what we thought we would be able to get at our pic," LA Kings GM Dean Lombardi said of dealing up to get Forbort. "Before the draft, you always think about that value analysis. `Would you give up this and this in order to get this?’ Clearly this guy was in that layer where we would say, `OK, we’ll pay for it.’ So I was trying to pay for it. I had tried to move up about three or four picks before, and then finally I got it. He was the last player left who was in that bracket.
"If he wasn’t there, it wasn’t going to happen. It just all goes into valuing the slot. That’s how it’s done."
In 26 games played against USHL competition in 2009-10 he had 14 points (4-10=14), 26 penalty minutes and a plus-12 rating. Forbort also competed in the U-18 World Championships in 2010, recording two assists and a plus-nine rating in seven games en route to earning a gold medal. Overall he played 56 games with the U.S. U-18 team, recording 25 points (5-20=25).
The 6-5, 198-pound native of Duluth, Minn. made the jump to the U.S. National Development Program in 2008-09 after completing his senior year at Duluth East High School. In nine games played against USHL competition that season he had six points (1-5=6) and 10 penalty minutes.
Forbort has committed to the University of the North Dakota for this fall.
“Derek is a big defenseman who skates very well and has a well-rounded game,” Kings amateur scout Tony Gasparini said from the Kings’ draft table at STAPLES Center. “In time, as he matures as a young man physically, he is going to be a player who has the ability to eat up a lot of minutes in every area of the game.”