Ontario Kings affiliates provides basic work for NHL reconstruction


The scene was too familiar. Mike Stothers had to tell someone.

It was in early October and the Kings were in Calgary, playing his second game of the season. Stothers, a long-standing coach at the affiliated elite league, was the Reign Ontario, watching from home.

Minutes in the game, deja vu striking.

Rookie Sean Walker, a former three-year squad of Stothers' squad scored with the Reign, a goal from a sharp angle, taking banks in a shot from the corner of the ice from the back. During the steady development of the swift defendant in the American Hockey League, the comical trick was that of a smart trademark – “king of real goals,” Stothers said with a smile.

When Stothers Walker saw doing it at the NHL level, he took his phone and sent Tex captain Brent Sutter to the text: “Oh, yes. There are Walks. ”

Moments like this were common for Stothers this season. Of the seven players from last year's Reign team on the Kings roster, Walker and the center Michael Amadio are perhaps the most impressive. Together, they become more than a few promises in the future – two templates for the rest of the diplomatic talent to come.

“Most of these guys need a year or two, sometimes three years of plastering,” said Stothers, “before everything falls into place.”

The current Stothers ’Reign roster contains many potential faces tomorrow.

Centers Jaret Anderson-Dolan (pick the second round 2017) and Rasmus Kupari (pick the first round 2018) offer two of Ontario's anchor lines. Tobias Bjornfot (first round 2019 pick) and Mikey Anderson (fourth round 2017 pick) are the headline of the defense. Goaltender Cal Petersen, who signed a three-year extension to the Kings this show after a short period of NHL last season, has been cleared. Gabe Vilardi (pick the first round 2017) is returning to Friday from long-term back injury.

Together, they form a large part of the future future of the Kings. But before they are put on the NHL, the club is asking them to make their craft perfect at AHL level.

In the center of King Michael Amadio (10) eyes the puck in front of a pack of Red Wings during game November 14 at Staples Center.

In the center of King Michael Amadio (10) eyes the puck in front of a pack of Red Wings during game November 14 at Staples Center.

(Harry How / Getty Images)

“This change is for them all, and it's perfect,” said Stothers, who is in the sixth season who is training the best farm team in the King. “Everyone accepts that these guys will be ahead. Well, it rarely happens. It is part of the patience, part of the process. ”

This season, Walker and Amadio are prime examples.

While it was a little too small at 5 feet 11 and 196 pounds, Skater was already dominant by Walker when he turned into a free agent without repayment in 2017. Two parts in the AHL secured the rest of his game.

He learned to dictate a play in the protective zone with his stick. Instead of skating soon before the ice's break out, he used his speed to stay more stable. Most of all, he discovered how he fit into a pro game flow.

Walker had a success with 45 points and a plus-22 rating in 86 AHL career game. This season, there are nine points, best rated with four teams and is one of the most consistent defense men of the King.

“If you are to rely on him then to go out and play in every case and succeed in those cases,” Walker said about their AHL time, “you just take confidence.”

Amadio needed three seasons with the Reign to find out he was afraid of his game. In juniors, elite stick skill of the soft speaking center made compensation for their less dominant skating, leading to a 50-goal explosion, 98-point in his last season of Oocói Hockey League.

But time to adapt to the game pro took faster, more physical. The small spaces that he worked at the lower levels suddenly disappeared. Sometimes it seems that his confidence has gone.

“Whenever I saw Mike when he was at the level of the Hockey League in America, he would do all these things I knew he could do,” Stothers said. "But then, if he called him, he did not need to play that way, or he did not intend to have the confidence to pull him out."

That's not the case anymore. Amadio has achieved a full-time role in the NHL this season. Through the early weeks of the season, it was one of the best forwarders. After two healthy scratches at the end of October, its consistent form is rediscovered in the lineup.

Coach Todd McLellan Amadio used the two special staff units. Amadio has the best Corsi-For percentage (metric possession of puts that traces team shooting efforts for and against that player on the ice) is one full time center of the King. And when Stothers of Amadio looks to transport the ice and chances of creating an abusive end, he sees “the man who was doing the right right in the American Hockey League.” T

In relation to a franchise in transition, these stories are evidence of how their potential development process can be achieved. After all, the current figures of the Kings are rebuilding like a high rise. Before a struggling NHL squad can start work again, their AHL team must help you set the foundations.

The service time with the reign gives benefits that can not hectic speed of the NHL season. The mini-schedule is focused on the majority of weekend games, with additional development time in the middle of the week.

Once a month, the Reign runs “development days” with the King's players development team, spending extra time on the ice to improve skills. In Stothers, the club has a coach who can benefit from almost two decades of junior and AHL coaching experience.

Nelson Emerson, director of the King's personnel, sees another important AHL thread, one that is perceived to be true.

“Nothing was given to them,” he said. “If the player is given things and suddenly they go to the NHL, and then things start to go badly in the NHL and they go back, sometimes it has a negative impact on the athlete. If they start at the top, then they go back, sometimes you can't get that player back to the top. ”

That is why, because it depends on the Kings begin their rebuilding and relying on their rookie expectations in the NHL now, they want to stay on the course, confident that the approach will be careful and calculated by paying off. future.

“History shows that if you spend your time in the AHL, you play there and get your craftsmanship and become a good player, you will work on what you need to work on , ”Said Emerson,“ when you get the NHL you will be so much better on a player. ”


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