On Monday, the hosting Vegas Golden Knights announced the schedule for the upcoming Rookie Faceoff tournament. The Los Angeles Kings play three games against the San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes and Anaheim Ducks.
Here’s the schedule:
Friday, Sept 15. – SJS vs. LAK, 1 p.m. PT, City National Arena (Summerlin Hospital Rink)
Saturday, Sept 16. – LAK vs. ARI, 3:30 p.m. PT, City National Arena (Summerlin Hospital Rink)
Monday, Sept. 18 – ANA vs. LAK, 12:30 p.m. PT, City National Arena (GHOST Energy Rink)
While the rosters haven’t been released yet, we can take some early guesses at who’s going to attend for the Kings and what players to watch for.
One thing to remember is that players returning to college like Jared Wright and Jack Hughes won’t be eligible. And that players returning to Europe usually don’t, as they’ve returned to their respective teams by the tournaments start. So, likely no look at Jakub Dvorak.
Still, there are some good players to look forward to watching.
I would expect Brandt Clarke to play in this tournament again, and likely for the last time.
As always, Kings fans should be excited to watch Clarke. He’s arguably the team’s best prospect and electrifying to watch.
He should also be dominant at this tournament. He should be the best defensemen at the tournament and might be the best player there outright given his age and experience.
It will be particularly interesting to see Clarke defend some of the top forward prospects in the division. Players like Dylan Guenther, William Eklund and Sasha Pastujov, assuming they play too.
A strong tournament would be the first step in beating out Jordan Spence for a spot on the Kings’ third-pair in training camp.
This is going to be an interesting tournament for Francesco Pinelli, there’s a good chance he’s the Kings’ top center in Vegas, which will pit him up against some high-end prospects.
His puck skills and vision should be on full display, but his 200-foot play will be put to the test against other forwards, like the ones mentioned above.
I’ll also be keeping an eye on his ability to penetrate the interior and attack the middle of the ice. Something Jarett Stoll and Pinelli himself highlighted as an area to improve as he transitions into the professional game.
Pinelli is expected to fight for a spot on the Ontario Reign next season and this tournament will be good chance to develop chemistry with future teammates.
I’m unsure if Martin Chromiak will play at this tournament, he’ll be 21 by the time this tournament starts and it’s possible he stays back in Los Angeles.
But, the Kings usually take a few more experienced players and Chromiak might be apart of that group.
If Chromiak attends, the expectations on him will be high. He should be one of, if not the best Kings forwards there and should rack up points.
Chromiak’s impressed at every one of these tournaments he’s attended and I’d expect this year to be no different.
He proved he can score at the professional level, although it came in streaks, and he can offer some much needed help for players like Pinelli.
Because he’s spent the last two season in college, Alex Laferriere hasn’t attended one of these tournaments. So, I’m guessing the Kings will want to send him to Vegas.
Laferriere always impresses regardless of where he plays and this tournament will be no exception.
He won’t have the dazzling skill of some high-draft picks in attendance. But expect him to be productive and a thorn of the side of every defenseman he play against.
Like Pinelli, he’s prepping for a season in Ontario and I wouldn’t be surprised those two played on a line together.
Laferriere’s quickly become one of the top prospects in the Kings’ system and he can put the division on notice with a strong performance here.
Like Chromiak, I’m not sure if Alex Turcotte will attend this year. However, given the amount of hockey he’s missed due to injury in the last few seasons it would make sense to get him into more games.
Turcotte needs two things, health and confidence. While playing in Vegas can’t do anything for the first issue it can definitely help the second.
He’d be one of the oldest, most experienced players at this tournament and can take on a leadership role.
Turcotte’s future is very much an unknown, but a strong showing in Vegas could kickstart a strong push for an NHL roster spot.