Monday, June 18, 2007

LA Kings 2004 Draft: Who? Why? Where is He Now?

The 2004 Draft picks are an interesting bunch:

  1. Lauri Tukonen (R1)
  2. Paul Baier (R3)
  3. Ned Lukacevic (R4)
  4. Eric Neilson (R5)
  5. Scott Parse (R6)
  6. Mike Curry (R7)
  7. Daniel Taylor (R7)
  8. Yutaka Fukufuji (R8)
  9. Valtteri Tenkanen (R9)
Lauri Tukonen is a Finnish player who has actually decided to try his hand at pro hockey in North America. Already, I like him! His past two seasons with Manchester have been good and due to the Kings’ depleted roster this past season, he played 4 games in a Kings jersey. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, I call it a jersey because there’s no way in hell someone in SoCal wears a sweater.) Look for Lauri to develop for at least another season with Manchester with occasional stints in LA. If he keeps up the good work I expect to see him on the Kings roster as a full-time player by the 2008-2009 season. That is, unless we trade him, but hopefully DL won’t trade such a promising hockey player.

I’ve never heard of
Paul Baier and it’s probably because he’s been playing at Brown University the past three seasons. I don’t even know what to say about him.

I’m not really sure what’s going on with
Ned Lukacevic. His stats show that he played fairly well for a couple seasons, but then didn’t do as hot this past season. In the ’06-’07 season, he split his time between Manchester and Reading. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t know what the difference is between the AHL and ECHL and I’m not sure if one is considered to be at a lower playing level than the other or if the Kings organization just places players where they’re needed. It’s probably something I should look into so I won’t sound so hockey-uneducated when I claim to be such a solid, die-hard, hardcore hockey fan.

Eric Neilson played one season in Bakersfield (I am really sorry you had to live there) and one season in Long Beach. Soooo…maybe he’s still within the Kings organization, but I’m not quite sure.

Scott Parse’s bio bores me.

Mike Curry plays for U of Minnesota – Duluth but hasn’t been playing too hot for a winger.

Danny Taylor played for three different ECHL teams this past year. That doesn’t seem like a good sign.

My favorite,
Yutaka Fukufuji, was placed in an unfortunate situation this season when he was called up after Cloutier and Garon went down with injuries and the team did not want to call up LaBarbera, fearful that another team would claim him off waivers. Nevertheless, Fukufuji did make NHL history by becoming the first Japanese-born player to play in an NHL game. When the Kings were playing the Blues and Barry Brust, the other rookie netminder called up during the goalie emergency, was playing terribly, I quickly called my mom, a native Japanese, and told her to turn on the TV to watch her fellow countryman make history. It was an exciting moment and I cheered for him extra hard because I really wanted him to play well. He wasn’t ready to play in the NHL and it was unfortunate that he was rushed into the league. One can only hope that his confidence wasn’t beaten down too badly. Hopefully he’ll keep getting better while playing in Manchester, Reading, or elsewhere because I would like to see him in the NHL again.

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner!
Valtteri Tenkanen has been playing in a Finnish league for the past four years. It wouldn’t be a Kings Draft if at least one player stayed in Europe and what a great way to end the LA Kings 2004 Draft analysis.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Awh I love Fukufiji!! I remember that. I watched that game it was pretty exciting.