After letting go of ex-Head Coach Mike Stothers, the Ontario Reign gave the important job of head coach to John Wroblewski. The Reign will be loaded with talent this season, and after a thorough search, the Los Angeles Kings organization decided that John Wroblewski is the best fit to help develop that talent for the future of the Kings.
John Wroblewski Developing Los Angeles Kings Future
Who is John Wroblewski?
Coming to the Reign, Wroblewski will be leaving his job as head coach of the USNTDP U17 team. He also coached the program’s U18 team in 2018-19, coaching Kings 2019 fifth overall selection Alex Turcotte. He has a long coaching career as well as a playing career, where he played in both the NCAA and ECHL.
Overall, Wroblewski is used to coaching young players and has worked with some very talented ones. He’s no stranger to developing young talent, and that’s exactly what the Kings hired him to do.
A Look At Wroblewski’s Team
For the 2020–21 season, the Reign should have a roster filled with young, talented players. The team will be mainly made up of top prospects in the Kings organization. Here’s an idea of what it could look like at the start of the season:
Thomas – Turcotte – Madden
Eyssimont – Kupari – Fagemo
Byron – Doty – Rempal
Imama – Sutter – Dudas
Bjornfot – Durzi
Hults – Moverare
Philips – Strand
Some Roster Notes
Tons of Talent
The first thing that stands out about this roster is how talented the players are. The Kings have one of the top prospect pools in the NHL, and this team is a reflection of that. The roster is comprised of a total of six players drafted in the first two rounds. It has three first-round picks (Turcotte, Kupari, and Bjornfot) and three second-round picks (Thomas, Fagemo, and Durzi).
On top of the high draft picks, Tyler Madden was a Hobey Baker candidate in the NCAA, and Cole Hults anchored the Penn State blue-line earning himself the honor of Big Ten Player of the Year. Jacob Ingham was also named a Second Team all-star in the OHL.
John Wroblewski is no stranger to talent. The 2018–19 NTDP U18 team he coached was absolutely loaded with players like Turcotte, Jack Hughes, Trevor Zegras, and Cole Caufield. The team had a total of eight first-rounders, three of which went in the top ten. The Kings are hoping that this experience will help him develop their Reign players into contributing NHLers.
Something that gets overlooked a lot is when players are capable of playing multiple positions. It’s a valuable attribute to have and is underappreciated. In the Reign forward group, nine of the 12 forwards have played centre. Obviously some need to shift to wing. This is an adjustment that isn’t too difficult for players to make, as shifting from centre to wing is much easier and more common than wing to centre.
Akil Thomas, for example, has played just about every position to offer. While mainly a centre, he’s played on the wing as well, which is where many project he will end up in the NHL. On top of being a forward, Thomas actually played some defense for the Niagara Ice Dogs in the OHL while they had some injuries. Right-handed defensemen might be a little hard to come by, but playing your top forward on defence might not be the best solution.
The Reign also have some defensemen who are versatile. After Mike Stothers had Tobias Bjornfot play both the left and right side in 2019–20, he feels comfortable playing both. Similarly, Jacob Moverare, a left-shot defenseman, mainly played on the right side last season for the Frolunda Indians in the SHL.
With such a versatile roster, Wroblewski is going to be making very important decisions. The lineup listed above is not a guarantee, just a projection, so it’s likely going to change. Wroblewski will face the decision of moving some of the wingers to centre, or some of the centres to the wing. He’ll also have to decide if he wants strictly right-handers playing the right-side on defence, or if he’s fine having a lefty or two over there.
While there is no limit to the number of players on an AHL roster, there will also be a few extra skaters on the roster. Wroblewski should end up giving everyone at least a few games, as these extras need to develop as well. Some names to look out for are Drake Rymsha, Brad Morrison, Daniel Brickley, and Chaz Reddekopp. There’s also the uncertainty of call ups that Wroblewski will have to deal with, which should affect some players’ playing time.
Most of the top prospects in the Kings organization are now finally coming over to California. To make sure this talent is developed correctly, the Kings went to John Wroblewski, a coach with plenty of experience developing elite talent. The goal is for Wroblewski to turn these prospects into the best players they can be. It’s his job to make sure that these players are ready for the NHL when called upon. The future of the Los Angeles Kings is now in the hands of John Wroblewski.