While it has been a very quiet offseason, the Los Angeles Kings have decided to not waste any time with their #1 pick in the 2012 draft and sign Tanner Pearson to a 3 year entry level deal. Now the Kings fans may know who Pearson is, but this kid went undrafted in the last two drafts. However, this year he made a statement for why he should be not only drafted in 2012, but to go in the first round as well.
Pearson has played two seasons with the Barrie Colts and in the 2011-2012 season he managed to put up 37 goals and 54 assists in just 60 games. He led the team in points and ranked 3rd in the OHL which led him to be named to the OHL second all star team. Pearson however missed the playoffs due to a broken fibula, but is recovering nicely and should be ready for the 2012-13 season. While he went undrafted the past 2 years, he will turn 20 in a few days and has shown to possess great potential.
While Pearson may be aiming to make the NHL this year, it will be extremely difficult as the Kings have kept the same roster when they won the Stanley Cup in June. Dwight King and Jordan Nolan stepped up in a big way to earn a permanent spot with the Kings. Pearson will have to battle guys like Colin Fraser, Trevor Lewis, and Kyle Clifford to earn a roster spot, let alone the other prospects of Tyler Toffoli, Andrei Loktionov, and Jordan Weal. These propsects will also be hungry to earn a spot on the roster.
In reality, Pearson will most likely start the 2012-13 NHL season with the Manchester Monarchs and may get a call up if and when injuries hit. The Kings will most likely expect Pearson and the other prospects to step up and take a spot in the 2013-14 season when Simon Gagne, Dustin Penner, and Brad Richardson all enter UFA and may not resign. Unless these three players play incredibly well, there is a good chance the Kings will have their young offensive talent step up and take a spot.