Los Angeles Hockey: Dany Roussin

Kings must dig deep in this draft

June, 23, 2011
As the clock ticks on the NHL draft, nearly every team has zeroed in on its main targets heading into Friday’s first round.

Somewhere in a back room at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn., members of the Kings front office are making different preparations.

First order of business: Find the snooze button.

Because the Kings traded away this year's first-round pick (19th overall) to Edmonton in a bust-move that brought over Dustin Penner at last season’s trade deadline, they are sitting out Friday's festivities. They won't make their first pick until Saturday's second round, 49th overall.

That's OK for long-suffering Kings fans, who likely began their July 4 celebration a little early Thursday with the shocking news that the Kings acquired high-scoring forward Mike Richards from the Flyers in a trade for Brayden Schenn, the fifth overall pick two years ago, and third-year wing Wayne Simmonds.

One less chore to get done this offseason.

Next and foremost on the get-it-done-already list is re-signing soon-to-be restricted free-agent Drew Doughty, one of the top young defensemen in the league. Negotiations are reported to be heating up between the Kings and Doughty, the second overall pick three years ago who is expected to be a cornerstone of the team as it attempts to mature into a Stanley Cup contender.

Then there's the recent news that top six forward Ryan Smyth is reportedly seeking a trade back to Edmonton so he can finish his career where it began. No wonder the draft has become somewhat of an afterthought.

What should make Friday's wait even easier is the lack of blue chippers to choose from. That's not to say some nuggets can't be found deep in the second round, however.

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