LA Kings: Three excellent options with 35th overall pick

(Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Tanouye/Getty Images) /
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LA Kings Draft Shakir Mukhamadullin
(Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images) /

Shakir Mukhamadullin

Along with Yan Kuznetsov, Shakir Mukhamadullin is one of the best Russian defenders in this draft. He stands at a skinny 6-foot-4, 179-pound frame that should fill out as he physically matures. The 18-year-old is a left-handed shot with a rocket snipe from the blue line. He’s more of a stay-at-home defenseman and didn’t see a ton of ice time for Salavet of the KHL this past season, with no goals and one assist registered in 27 games.

Mukhamadhullin tallied two goals with eight assists in 13 games for Kolpar of the MHL this year as well. In international play, he scored the game-winning goal for Team Russia in the U-18 World Championship. He falls in line with his fellow countryman, Kuznetskov, and also USA’s Tyler Kleven as enforcers in the defensive zone, checking forwards into the boards, clearing the puck out of their own zone, and wreaking havoc on the opposition.

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He skates so well for a guy his size and, as noted, features a big shot from the top of the point, but his bread and butter is physically imposing his will on players. He projects to a Nikita Zadorov-like player, someone who will score 5-to-10 goals but consistently log over 200 hits and close to 100 shots blocked per year.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie has him ranked as the 42nd best prospect in this class, so while he might be a bit of reach with the 35th overall pick, the Kings would be getting a true stay-at-home defenseman to pair with an offensive-minded guy.