Mark Yannetti, Director of Amateur Scouting for the Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, was very pleased with the way the NHL Draft worked out for his team last weekend in Philadelphia.
When Yannetti was hired seven years ago the Kings were a last place team and things were in disarray. Since then he has helped build a strong franchise that won the Stanley Cup two of the last three years. The scouting staff looks for players with a compete attitude, and that philosophy has paid off.
They drafted 29th in the first round and selected Swedish power forward Adrian Kempe. They traded Linden Vey to the Vancouver Canucks to move up to 50th, where they landed defenseman Roland McKeown, somebody they had on their radar. In all, the Kings made 10 selections, the most by any Cup champion since the Chicago Blackhawks drafted the same number of players in 2010.
“I’m very happy with our picks,” said Yannetti. “Of course, right now every team thinks they had a great draft; only time will tell if they’re correct.
“We managed to trade one of our young players to move higher in the second round to get McKeown. In fact, we were very surprised he was still around because he had been rated as high as 15th or 16th and was projected to go pretty early in the first round by everyone. When he was still available after the first round. we tried to move up and were able to do it. We knew there was no chance he’s still be there at No. 60 where our next selection was.
“Personally, I believe this was our best draft,” added Yannetti. “We were being proactive and it paid off.”
The Kings drafted another defenseman in the second round, Alex Lintaniemi, with their 60th pick and added center Michael Amadio (90th), Steven Johnson (120th), goalie Alec Dillon in the fifth round, Jake Marchment and Matthew Mistele in the sixth, and both and Spencer Watson and Jacob Middleton (with the 210th and final pick) in the seventh round.