All those draft picks so painstakingly hoarded by Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi came in quite handy Sunday.
The Kings were able to trade the 57th, 88th and 96th selections to the Edmonton Oilers to move up to the 37th spot in the draft, which was a high second-round pick. With that, they took a high-scoring 18-year-old Russian named Valentin Zykov. The winger had 40 goals and 75 points in 67 games with Baie-Comeau of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, winning Canadian Hockey League rookie-of-the-year honors.
Earlier, the Ducks took skilled defenseman Shea Theodore with their first-round selection, at No. 26. Theodore, 6 feet 2 and 180 pounds, has played junior hockey the last two seasons with Seattle of the Western Hockey League.
"Shea is a great skater and can really move the puck," said Ducks General Manager Bob Murray. "The way the game is played now, that's really important. You need players like that. We are really excited."
Theodore, who had 19 goals and 50 points in 71 games last season, is attempting to add some bulk. "I'm looking to maybe hit 190 before I go to Seattle next year or wherever I end up, just get bigger and stronger."
Zykov said he was surprised the Kings selected him, even though they had interviewed him twice. Of course, they had been slotted to pick at No. 57 before moving up with the trade.
"They said they liked me, but I didn't expect they would take me," he said in a telephone interview from Newark, N.J. "I didn't think I would be available."
Zykov, 6 feet and 210 pounds, has an inspirational back story. The Canadian TV network TSN reported that his father had passed away when Valentin was a youngster and that he joined the Central Army youth hockey program and lived in a dormitory at age 8.
Zykov clarified those points. His father died when he was 7 and he moved away from home to play hockey at age 10. One of his two older sisters came with him to Newark.
"My mom, I didn't want [her] to come," he said. "It would be very hard for her. I didn't want to stress her."
Said TSN draft analyst Craig Button: "When you start to think about a team like the L.A. Kings that struggled to score at those timely moments, you get a guy like this. You need that one chance to score.
"He has that type of release like a Jeff Carter. ... When you have those types of players that are threatening, as a defensive team, you've got to always have your eyes on him. That's what he brings."
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