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31 in 31

Top prospects for Los Angeles Kings

Turcotte ready to skate at Wisconsin; Vilardi on track to play in NHL if healthy

by Brett Amadon / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the Los Angeles Kings, according to NHL.com.

 

[Kings 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]

 

1. Alex Turcotte, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 5 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: USA U-18 (NTDP): 37 GP, 27-35-62

The 18-year-old center stood out for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team, which had eight players selected in the first round in 2019. Turcotte showed an ability to play on each end of the ice and had nine points (four goals, five assists) in seven games to help the United States finish in third place at the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Turcotte (5-foot-11, 185 pounds) will play at the University of Wisconsin this season, and it will be up to him whether he spends one season or two at the school.

"He plays with speed, he plays with skill, and he plays with a high level of compete," Kings director of amateur scouting Mark Yannetti said. "Everything he does is pace-based. But the thing about him is his overall game is really mature. He's really strong defensively … that part of his game is there, that part of his game is defined.

"He'll be ready sooner rather than later."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: Kings draft F Alex Turcotte No. 5

 

2. Gabriel Vilardi, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 11 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Ontario (AHL): 4 GP, 0-1-1

Vilardi (6-3, 201), who turns 20 on Aug. 16, played four games for Ontario of the American Hockey League before being shut down because of a back problem that was a combination of a muscular and disk injury. The center was unable to participate in Kings development camp in June.

When healthy, Vilardi has shown he can produce. He had 58 points (22 goals, 36 assists) in 32 games for Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League in 2017-18.

"His potential is as sky high as anybody's in that draft," Yannetti said. "However, in terms of uncertainty, it's higher than anyone's in that draft. But if he's healthy, he's in the NHL. He's that good. A high, high, high level talent, but as of now, he's just that. He's just potential."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: Kings land at No. 10 in Prospect Pipeline

 

3. Jaret Anderson-Dolan, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 41 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Los Angeles (NHL): 5 GP, 0-1-1; Spokane (WHL): 32 GP, 20-23-43

After getting a taste of the NHL last season, the 19-year-old center could stick around this time. Anderson-Dolan (5-11, 188) is a strong finisher on the inside, has a good shot, and could provide a veteran Kings team with some much-needed youth.

"What he showed last year is that he's ahead of the development curve," Yannetti said. "And while I think that Anderson-Dolan is probably good enough to play in the NHL right now, you have to make sure that it's the right time. He certainly put himself in a position to compete for a spot on the team this year, there's no question about that."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: 31 in 31: Los Angeles Kings 2019-20 season preview

 

4. Rasmus Kupari, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 20 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Karpat (FIN): 43 GP, 12-21-33

The 19-year-old took a big stride in his second season with Karpat in Liiga, Finland's top professional league, after he had 14 points (six goals, eight assists) in 39 games in 2017-18. He also gained experience at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship, when he had five points (one goal, four assists) in seven games to help Finland finish first.

Kupari (6-1, 183) will have to adjust to the smaller rinks in North America. Although he's likely to start the season in the AHL, the NHL isn't too far off.

"I think he surprised all of us by how quickly he started to develop," Yannetti said. "His game is just matured. He used a collection of tools last year. He could skate like the wind; his individual skill is excellent … there were very few holes in his game. He kind of rounded it out."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

5. Tobias Bjornfot, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 22 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: Djurgardens (SWE-JR): 39 GP, 11-11-22; Djurgardens (SWE): 7 GP, 0-0-0

The 18-year-old got his first taste of the Swedish Hockey League last season and was the captain for Sweden at the 2019 Under-18 Worlds, when he had one assist in seven games to help his country finish first.

Bjornfot (6-0, 202) will play this season in the SHL, but the Kings said he'll be in North America next season if everything goes according to plan.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: Kings draft D Tobias Bjornfot No. 22

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