The Los Angeles Kings continue to toil in the Western cellar, but with up and coming stars such as Mike Cammalleri, Alexander Frolov, Anze Kopitar and Patrick O’Sullivan – not to mention a full cupboard of impressive prospects - there is plenty of excitement on the horizon.
But that isn’t all Kings fans should be giddy about. The team has two former college players who have put up good numbers on the farm in Manchester and have had an impact in brief call-ups to the big club. Both look to be on the verge of becoming full-timers.
Teddy Purcell and Brian Boyle - one from the University of Maine, the latter from Boston College - are both late-bloomers and sit first and third respectively on the AHL’s Monarchs in scoring.
Quietly, the Kings have brought them both up for a cup of coffee and while their play has been noticeable, the team isn’t quite ready to throw them into a losing – and frustrating - environment.
Purcell was first called up to the pro roster for 11 days in January. And although his production – one assist in five games – doesn’t make it seem like he belongs in Hollywood, he did hit about three posts and coach Marc Crawford believes, as long as he continues to bulk up, they have another Alexander Frolov on their hands.
An undrafted free agent signing, the Kings may indeed have unearthed a gem in the 6-foot-3, 177-pound Purcell. He was leading the American League in scoring before his call up and has averaged more than a point-per-game in each league he’s played in – USHL, NCAA, AHL - since 2004-05. Not to mention he scored the game-winning goal and was named MVP of the AHL All-Star Game (read more about Purcell HERE).
Brian Boyle, on the other hand, was a first round selection by the Kings in 2003 and in his first full season of pro hockey has 43 points in 47 games with Manchester. The Monarchs briefly experimented with the 6-foot-7, 220-pound Boyle on defense, making his totals all the more impressive.
Boyle was called up to the Kings Feb. 2 and has two goals and an assist in two games. Not bad for a guy playing college hockey only a year ago.
What Boyle ultimately develops into is still unknown and power forwards notoriously take longer to reach their full potential, but with his big frame and decent scoring touch, fans should start taking notice of him.
Foppa to Philly?
The Peter Forsberg sweepstakes are heating up and the Philadelphia Flyers are expecting him to decide whether or not he is healthy enough to return this season by the weekend.
After Forsberg eliminated a few teams Wednesday – Detroit, San Jose, Dallas and Nashville among them – Tim Panaccio of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote that a source in Sweden close to Forsberg said he would commit to the Flyers once he deemed himself fit to play.
If you weren’t already looking, watch out for the Flyers. Their rough-and-tumble style of play along with their collection of skilled players is in line with the make-up of last year’s Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks…so long as the goaltending can hold up.
Rory Boylen is THN.com's web content specialist. His blog appears Thursdays.
For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.