Just five years ago, the NHL Draft marked the most anticipated time of the year for the Los Angeles Kings and their fans. While the annual event always bears a significant deal of importance for all 30 clubs, it is safe to say that the draft isn't at the top of the radar like it used to be for the Kings. But with all the steals and hidden gems that have been selected, the draft is never an event to take lightly, regardless if your team finished dead-last in the overall standings or if they had just won the Stanley Cup.
With that, the National Hockey League released its draft order on Thursday in preparation for the Draft to be held in Philadelphia beginning on June 27.
For the first time since 2012, the Los Angeles Kings will have a first-round selection, as they were given the penultimate pick of the opening round at No. 29, eight picks better than their first choice last June at 37.
From there, the Kings will select last in each of the next six rounds - 60, 90, 120, 150, 180, 210 - but will also receive the penultimate draft pick of the entire event. Picking 209th and 210th, it seems fitting that the reigning Stanley Cup champions close out the draft with a little more time on their hands.
Judging by the state of the Los Angeles Kings right now and general manager Dean Lombardi's penchant for patiently developing players, it is most likely that we will see any of Los Angeles's draftees suit up for the big club within the next few years. Then again, the team's last first-round selection (Tanner Pearson, 2012) was playing for the Kings during the 2013 playoffs and while he was sent back to the AHL this season, he returned with a vengeance as he was an integral piece to his team's Stanley Cup victory.
Kyle Clifford, who was drafted in 2009, needed just one year in the minors before starting the 2010-11 campaign with the Kings. From there, the Big Red Dog never looked back. Drew Doughty, meanwhile, began his NHL career right away, starting the 2008-09 season in Los Angeles just months after being taken 2nd overall. Of course in Doughty's case, it was evident he was NHL-ready even before he was drafted. Whether any of their selections this year will be in Los Angeles in October will obviously be determined at a later date, but until then, it will be a time for the Kings and their fans to look forward to their future - more so.
Of course, while Kings fans will be going through a summer-long celebration for their team's ultimate victory, you can be sure that they will be tuning into next weekend's draft. Hopefully this year's version will be a bit more exciting as last year in Newark, the Kings had wait for 66 selections before making their second choice.
The 2014 NHL Draft will take place at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28. On Friday, the first round will commence at 7pm EST and will be broadcast in the United States on NBCSN and in Canada on TSN and RDS. Rounds two through seven will be held on Saturday beginning at 10am EST with the NHL Network providing coverage to its fans across North America. The entire draft can only be seen online at NHL.com.