Los Angeles Kings: Undrafted forward Alex Iafallo may skate on top line

LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 26: Alex Iafallo
LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 26: Alex Iafallo /

It’s been a heck of a ride for Alex Iafallo, who didn’t have a job in March but could begin the season on the Los Angeles Kings top forward line.

Even at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, rosters and line combinations are still not set in stone. There are often pieces in motion throughout the season. This is the case for many NHL teams, 15 of whom are trying to bounce back from disappointing, non-playoff seasons. At the Los Angeles Kings‘ El Segundo practice facility, there is uncertainty but no panic.

Instead, there is curiosity, intrigue, and even hopeful optimism. The Kings had their share of expected training camp battles, from rookies trying to make the jump to the big club to new draftees hoping to impress. There were even several veterans on PTO’s trying to extend their career for at least another season.

And then there is Alex Iafallo.  When training camp opened, Iafallo was not even listed on the Kings training camp list released to the media.  The 23-year-old forward who played four years at the University of Minnesota – Duluth had a distinguished college career.

In 152 games, Iafallo accumulated 48 goals and 73 assists, good for 121 points. During his senior year, everything seemed to click as he posted a 21-30-51 line. The accolades followed – NCAA  (Championship) All-Tournament Team, NCAA (NCHC) All-Tournament Team, NCAA (NCHC) Champion, NCAA (NHCH) First Team All-Star,  NCAA (NCHC) Tournament MVP and NCAA (West) First All-American Team.

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So, you might ask, why wasn’t he drafted? Good question. It might be a crushing blow to a player who had no place to play since graduation was behind him. However, Alex managed to squeak in, becoming one of the last adds to a Kings team already full of forwards trying to make the cut.

And this is the part of the story where things get good. You see Alex got his chance and every day, every practice, every exhibition game he kept catching the eye of coaches and started creeping up the depth chart. Here’s what Kings assistant GM Mike Futa had to say about him.

"“He clearly bought into what we were selling with regards to opportunity and development. He’s had an amazing summer, and every chance our development group has had to spend time with him, he’s just continued to impress.”"

Here we are, less than 48 hours from Opening Night at Staples Center. Iafallo is on the Los Angeles Kings roster. Not just any scrub rookie who will probably be scratched every night. No, Alex was assigned a REAL number, 19, which was worn by previous Kings luminaries including Larry Robinson and long-time Kings TV color analyst Jim Fox. And on Tuesday, he was skating with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown on the top forward line.

So is Iafallo overwhelmed by what has happened in the space of one month? Hardly.

"“It’s going well, so far,” he said. “I’m just working hard every day. That’s been my mindset throughout the whole camp. I’m going to keep doing that, and whatever happens, I’ll be prepared for it. So far, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve had a lot of fun.”"

Next: 3 Burning Questions For The Kings

A lot can happen between now and Opening Night. For now look for Iafallo, lining up with such illustrious Cup winning numbers as #11 and #23.