There have been just two goaltenders selected in the first round over the last five drafts, and none higher than 22nd overall. That’s where Ilya Samsonov went to the Washington Capitals in 2015, with Jake Oettinger following two years later at No. 26. Spencer Knight is set to break that mark this season as arguably the highest touted goaltending prospect since Andrei Vasilevskiy in 2012. Knight is drawing plenty of interest, and Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider tweeted today that the Kings are high on the American goaltender.
The Kings are one of five teams with two first round picks this year, but their second selection—22nd overall—may be too late to grab Knight. It’s also very unlikely that they use the fifth-overall pick on him, meaning if they are set on bringing him into the organization they would likely need to make a trade of some sort.
- There hasn’t been a bigger draft riser of late than USNTDP sniper Cole Caufield, and his name was mentioned today by Matt Larkin of The Hockey News in an informal Q&A on Twitter. Larkin suggested that if the Kings really wanted to make a bold move in the draft they could snap up Caufield at No. 5, though he believes they are more likely to go with someone else. Caufield had 72 goals all told over this year of hockey, breaking records basically wherever he went. The 5’7″ forward is going to bring excitement wherever he ends up, and could very well be off the board higher than many believed just a few months ago.
- The Edmonton Oilers know they have to start hitting on their high picks, and with the eighth selection this season the pressure is on for new GM Ken Holland. He spoke to reporters at the scouting combine in Buffalo, explaining that there are arguments for both defense and forward where he’ll pick. Perhaps in the most telling line however, Holland noted that “there’s some good defensemen there, but there’s some really good forwards.” The only defenseman consistently ranked above the eighth spot is Bowen Byram, who is usually followed by a run of forwards sometimes ten names long.