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Kings stock up along blue line

by John Kreiser

OTTAWA – After finishing with the worst record in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Kings knew they couldn't stand still. With serious needs on the blue line and 15 picks in their pocket, the Kings had plenty of chips for drafting and dealing.

They did both.
The Kings dealt away many of their extra later-round picks, but kept two first-rounders and used them both on defensemen, the team's biggest area of need.

"We think we helped ourselves a lot," assistant GM Ron Hextall said. "I think our defense needed to be rebuilt, and we feel like we're on the way to getting that done."

The Kings had the No. 13 pick after a pair of trades that wound up sending center Michael Cammalleri to Calgary. Los Angeles also landed the Flames' second-rounder next year, as well as a third-round pick from Buffalo in 2009 for dropping from 12 to 13.

They dealt the second-round pick (No. 61) they received from Detroit for Brad Stuart to Colorado for defenseman Brad Richardson.

Here's a look at the Kings' 2008 NHL Entry Draft class:

No. 2 Drew Doughty, D, Guelph (OHL) - The Kings have plenty of openings on the blue line, and they're counting on Doughty to turn into a top-pair defenseman.

The 18-year-old has plenty of skill, scoring 13 goals and 50 points in 58 games for the Storm. His point total was ninth among OHL defensemen and third on the Storm. He was named the top defenseman at the World Junior Championships, where he helped Canada to the gold medal.

"Doughty's hockey sense is off the charts," GM Dean Lombardi said of the 6-foot, 219-pounder. "I think everyone has a handle of what type of player he is and the special player he could become."

Doughty is the Kings' highest pick since they chose Jimmy Carson with the No. 2 selection in 1986. He says he hopes to be in the NHL this season, though he may wind up returning to Guelph for another year.
No. 13 Colten Teubert, D, Regina (WHL) - While Doughty's NHL calling card will be his skill and ability to move the puck, Teubert is being counted on to provide toughness. He had seven goals and 23 points for Regina, but piled up 135 penalty minutes in 66 games. However, the 6-4, 185-pound defenseman is also rated as a solid puck-mover and skater.

No. 32 Vjateslav Voinov, D, Chelyabinsk (Russia)
- The 6-foot, 190-pound defenseman had one goal and four points with 20 penalty minutes in 36 games with Chelyabinsk. The 18-year-old has played for Russia in each of the last two World Junior Championships. He's strong in his own zone and moves the puck well, but will need time to develop and must get stronger to play in the NHL.

No. 63 Robert Czarnik, C/RW, U.S. U-18 (NTDP) - Czarnik is headed for the University of Michigan after a solid season with the U.S. Under-18 team. He scored 15 goals and added 15 assists in 49 games. Czarnik is a good skater with a nice wrist shot who must improve his puckhandling skills.

No. 74 Andrew Campbell, D, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) - Campbell wasn't ranked by NHL Central Scouting, but played his way onto the draft board with a solid season for the Greyhounds, scoring 13 goals and 35 points in 68 games, along with a plus-20 rating.

No. 88 Geordie Wudrick, LW, Swift Current (WHL) - Wudrick had a good first season with the Broncos, scoring 20 goals and adding 24 assists in 66 games. At 6-3 and 204 pounds, he's good at creating space for teammates and taking the puck to the net.

No. 123 Andrei Loktionov, C, Yaroslav 2 (Russia) - The Kings took a flyer on Loktionov, a 5-11, 187-pound center from Russia, with their fifth-round choice. He played in five games with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl of the Russian Super League and managed one assist. He was also the second-leading scorer for Russia's silver-medal winning squad at the 2008 Under-18 World Junior Championships with eight points.

No. 153 Justin Azevedo, C, Kitchener (OHL) - The only reason Azevedo, 20, was available in the sixth round was his size – at 5-7 and 183 pounds, he's small. But there's no question he was productive in juniors; he had 43 goals and a league-leading 124 points to help Kitchener make the Memorial Cup championship game. He was the Canadian Hockey League Player of the Year.

No. 183 Garrett Roe, C, St. Cloud State (WCHA)
- The Kings used their last pick on another small scorer. Roe, a 20-year-old who's all of 5-8 and 160 pounds, excelled at St. Cloud State as a freshman with 18 goals and 45 points in 39 games.

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