One of the biggest benefits of development camp is getting eyes on the Los Angeles Kings’ newest draft picks.
All of the Kings’ 2023 picks, Jakub Dvorak, Koehn Ziemmer, Hampton Slukynsky and Ryan Conmy are all in attendance this year. And Ziemmer has stood out early.
It’s important to not get carried away or jump to conclusions at this stage, but seeing Ziemmer in the flesh reinforces a thought I had at the draft.
How did this kid fall all the way to the third round?
Yes, he needs a lot of work on his skating, and yes, he needs to work on becoming a more physically fit player for the NHL level. But those two things haven’t stopped him from producing at every level he’s played at.
This is a player who scored more than any draft eligible not named Connor Bedard in the WHL and finished ninth amongst draft eligible in points.
Falling a little in the draft has built a small chip on Ziemmer’s shoulder, but being drafted by the right organization was more important than draft spot for him.
“Yes and no,” said Ziemmer when asked if falling into the third round puts a chip on his shoulder. “You’re at the draft and you know you’re supposed to go in a certain area. But looking up at it, it doesn’t really matter where you go, it’s just what team you get drafted to. I think I have a really good opportunity (in LA) development sounds like it’s great here, so I’m very fortunate to be with the Kings. I think it was best case scenario for me.”
Despite just two days of camp so far, Ziemmer’s already learning the step up from playing in junior to playing with players like Martin Chromiak, Brandt Clarke and Cole Krygier who have all experienced the pro game.
“Everything just has to be harder,” said Ziemmer. “You look at the passes, everyone’s passing it hard and if you don’t pass it hard it won’t get through. That was the biggest thing I noticed and obviously the pace of the play is another step up from juniors.”
And in these early days of camp, Ziemmer’s made an impression on the coaching staff.
“I like his shot, I like his hands, he’s got a good skill level you can tell,” said Jarret Stoll on what he’s liked out of Ziemmer. “There’s a reason he scored so many goals for Prince George, 41 I believe. He just needs to, like all these young guys, just needs to get stronger. Play, go back to Prince George get 50-goals try to get 100-points, stuff like that. Continue to get confidence, continue to grow his game. And eventually, once he turns pro, you keep working on other parts of is game. Defensively, and yeah, just continue to grow. I like what I see so far, for sure.”