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Even though the Los Angeles Kings roster looks set for the next season, there are still some prospects that can be a surprise come training camp or in the future. These prospects may or may not make the roster for the 2012-13 season, but have potential to become solid players in the near future with the big club. I will focus on prospects who some may not be familiar with and are not at the pro level.
Tanner Pearson – The 1st round pick for the Kings went undrafted in the 2010 and 2011 drafts, but after a tremendous season with the Barrie Colts, he worked his way into a top forward prospect in 2012. This year Pearson managed to collect 37 goals and 54 assists in just 60 games, while also maintaining a +21. He ranked 3rd in scoring in the OHL with 91 points. He turns 20 in August and at 6’3 and 200 lbs, his size can be considered NHL ready but may stay in the OHL one more season to build on some skills.
Tyler Toffoli – The former 2nd round draft pick in the 2010 draft has been nothing short of spectacular during his OHL career. In the 2011-12 season with the Ottawa 67’s, Toffoli led the the OHL with 52 goals and second with 100 points. At 6’1 and 186 lbs, the 20 year old has tremendous skill, but may need to bulk up a bit. If he can reach his potential, he can become a great offensive weapon in the future for the Kings, however he may take the next year to boost his skating to the pro level.
Derek Forbort – The big 6’5 defenseman out of the University of North Dakota plays a solid game in his own end. He is relied on as the teams shutdown D-man and is tough to get around with his size. The former 1st rounder has good speed and agility for his size, and he can make those tape to tape passes out of the zone. However, at only 198 lbs for his size, he could add some weight and grit to his game.
Nick Shore – This kid had a great year with the University of Denver by collecting 41 points in 43 games as a sophmore. At 6’0 and 190 lbs, he is close to filling his frame. Shore has tremendous hockey sense and makes the smart plays at both ends of the ice as well as a great set of hands. He could work on shooting the puck more as well increasing his skating to NHL speed.
On to the Jonathan Bernier update. Recently it seems as the Toronto Maple Leafs have been shying away from Roberto Luongo and now focusing on Bernier. Matt Frattin looks to be a key piece to the deal and it looks as if a 2nd round pick was offered as well. Also, hearing the Kings possibly want to keep Bernier around in case Jonathan Quick gets injured and using Bernier more often during the regular season. There is no rush to trade him unles the price is right.