Prospect Update: Ben King

Photo: Red Deer Rebels

By Thomas Harrington

Anaheim’s fourth round pick from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, forward Ben King, played an overage junior season for the Red Deer Rebels of the WHL this past season.

King had been passed over in the previous two drafts; then, after he scored 52 goals and 105 points in 68 games in the 2021-2022 season, the Ducks selected him 107th overall. The hope was he would put up similar or better numbers as an overage player. Unfortunately, he missed about three months of the season with a lower body injury. Overall, he ended up playing in 30 games and scored 17 goals and 35 points. Despite missing so much time, King still finished sixth on the team in goals and tied for eighth in points. For the third consecutive season, he was one of Red Deer’s alternate captains. He played in 10 playoff games for Red Deer and scored four goals and 11 points. The highlight of King’s season came in the playoffs against Calgary, when he scored the series-winning goal in overtime.

While not an elite offensive talent, King clearly has a scoring touch, as evidenced by the 52 goals he scored in the WHL. He’s also good at finding the open man, as shown by his 53 assists that same year. He has strong offensive tools, but will need to work to put it all together if he wants to succeed at higher levels. This coming season he’ll be starting his professional career, and could see time in either the AHL or ECHL. Hopefully the injury he had last year won’t hamper him this season as he faces more difficult competition.

I have a couple of expectations for King this coming year. First, regardless of what league he plays in, to have a mostly healthy year. If he misses a game or two here and there, that’s fine. But missing so much time last season could potentially hurt his development, and a healthy season will go a long way toward putting him back on track. Second, to improve as the year goes on. I don’t want him to start the year in the AHL and then be relegated to the ECHL later on. I’d much rather him start in the ECHL and then play well enough to earn a promotion to the AHL.

King was an overage pick, which puts him closer to the NHL than other late round picks chosen in the 2022 NHL Draft. He’s far from a guarantee to make it to Anaheim some day, but if the scoring touch that he has shown over the last couple of seasons can translate to the AHL, then we could see him with the Ducks some time in the next couple of years.

King is currently not signed to an NHL contract with the Ducks. However, he does not need one to play in San Diego. Instead, he needs to sign an AHL-only deal with the Gulls and he’ll be good to go. If he plays well enough in San Diego, he can be signed to an entry-level deal with Anaheim whenever they want to. The Ducks will be in control of his rights until next June. If they haven’t signed him by then, he’ll be able to sign with any NHL team if he wants to, or he can continue to play for the Gulls or other minor league team on an AHL-only deal.

The next prospect update will be on Drew Helleson.

Related Articles:

Prospect Update: Connor Hvidston

Prospect Update: Lukas Dostal

Prospect Update: BO Groulx

Prospect Update: Jackson LaCombe

Prospect Update: Kyle Kukkonen

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September 12th, 2023


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