Kings trade for forward Lias Andersson, draft two defensemen in second round
Entering the second day of the NHL Draft for rounds 2-7, the Kings on Wednesday were looking at three picks in the second round. That turned into two when they acquired forward Lias Andersson from the New York Rangers, who received the Kings’ third pick of the round — No. 60 overall.
The Kings selected defenseman Helge Grans out of Sweden at No. 35 overall, then traded up, sending their 51st and 97th picks to Detroit, and picked defenseman Brock Faber of Maple Grove, Minn., at No. 45 overall.
The rest of the selections on Day 2 included forward Kasper Simontaival (No. 66 overall, third round) of Finland, forward Alex Laferriere (No. 83, third round) of New Jersey, goalie Juho Markkanen (No. 112, fourth round) of Canada, forward Martin Chromiak (No. 128, fifth round) of Slovakia, defenseman Ben Meehan (No. 140, fifth round) out of Massachusetts and forward Aatu Jamsen (No. 190 overall, seventh round) of Finland.
The Kings, who have missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons and four of the past six, on Tuesday selected forward Quinton Byfield No. 2 overall in the first round.
Andersson, of Sweden, was taken seventh overall by the Rangers in the 2017 draft. Things did not go well for him in New York. After playing in seven games in 2017-18, he got into 42 in ’18-’19 and had six points while playing to a minus-13. This past season, which was shortened by the coronavirus pandemic, he played in just 17 games and had one assist and was at minus-8.
Andersson said he was shocked by the trade, but he was more than happy when he got a call from L.A.
“I just answered and I found out that I got traded,” he said. “So super excited and it feels a little bit like my own draft day.”
Andersson’s last game for the Rangers was Nov. 16. He was loaned to HV71 Jonkoping in the Swedish Hockey League in January and had seven goals and five assists in 12 games. In four games there for the ’20-’21 season, he has a goal and three assists.
Still just 21, Andersson is brimming with confidence.
“I believe in myself and I’m very confident that I can do good stuff on the ice,” said Andersson, who will turn 22 on Oct. 13. “When I went back from New York last year to Sweden, I think I showed myself and everyone that I can play my game still. I think I lost my game a little bit in New York and didn’t do the things I was good at.”
Andersson’s father, Niklas, is a Kings scout.
It sounds like Kings vice president and general manager Rob Blake also still believes in Andersson.
“Lias Andersson was a player we looked hard at a few years ago in the draft,” Blake said. “We were real familiar with him, having his father as one of our scouts in Europe for a number of years now. The relationship he had with his former team for whatever reasons didn’t seem to really be a great fit.
“So when we got to that certain layer of the draft, we were looking at the ability to get that high-end talent for what he was drafted originally for. You know, (it) proved to be something beneficial to us at that time, added some value to what we were doing for the overall day.”
Grans, who is 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds, is currently playing in the Swedish Hockey League, Sweden’s top circuit. This past season he played in 21 games for the Malmo RedHawks and had a goal and two assists and was minus-4. Prior to joining that team, he played 27 games for the Redhawks’ junior team and had 27 points on four goals and 23 assists.
He was thrilled to learn he was taken by the Kings.
“I’ve been waiting for this and it’s been a great day now and I’m very happy,” Grans, 18, said via Zoom from Sweden.
He described what the Kings can expect from him.
“I see myself as an offensive two-way defenseman, just playing good with the puck and having a good passing game and can shoot the puck well,” he said.
As a skater, he said he does well when he gets up to speed but that he needs work on his initial strides. One thing is certain, he can’t wait to get to the NHL.
“Yeah, well of course, getting to the NHL is the dream and I’ll do everything I can to come there,” Grans said.
Faber, 18, is 6-foot, 182 pounds. He gave a glimpse of what can be expected of him when he was asked if he patterns himself after a particular NHL player. That would be Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy.
“I really try to model my game after his,” Faber said. “He’s an awesome player in the NHL and he’s going to be for a really long time. Obviously, that’s my goal, too.”
—– KINGS DRAFT —–
1st round — Forward Quinton Byfield (No. 2 overall)
2nd round — Defenseman Helge Grans (No. 35 overall)
2nd round — Defenseman Brock Faber (No. 45 overall)
3rd round — Forward Kasper Simontaival (No. 66 overall)
3rd round — Forward Alex Laferriere (No. 83 overall)
4th round — Goaltender Juho Markkanen (No. 112 overall)
5th round — Forward Martin Chromiak (No. 128 overall)
5th round — Defenseman Ben Meehan (No. 140 overall)
7th round — Forward Aatu Jamsen (No. 190 overall)