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Ernie King Jr Scouting Report


Greg Ernest
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Ernie King Jr - Scouting Report S80 VHLM Draft Eligible

 

       The grandson of former WJHC WCOH General Manager, and AGM of the Philadelphia Reapers and San Diego Marlins of the VHLM as well as The Vancouver Wolves of the VHL legendary Spence King and son of former VHLMer Ernie King, and Nephew of Seattle Bears defenseman Spencer Elsby , Ernie King Jr is looking to carry on the family legacy in the S80 VHLM Draft. Ernie King Jr was drafted by the London Knights in the second round, 25th overall, at the 2021 OHL Priority Draft.

Last season King Jr played for Esberg’s Under-20 Team in the Danish Junior League when the OHL season did not start. After the Covid-Break started to loosen its restrictions in North America, King Jr went on to finish the season with the Brooks Bandits of the AJHL. He scored nine goals and six assists for 15 points in eight games. He also joined Team USA at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships, playing for Team USA and winning a gold medal. Ernie Jr put up two goals and two assists for four points in seven tournament games. Having appeared in an IIHF tournament for USA, Ernie King Jr is still officially un-declared international eligibility. He was born in Kanata, Ontario Canada however spent much of his life in the US of A .

Skating

His ability to change speeds helps King Jr to avoid defenders both with and without the puck. King’s top-end speed is also very good. King Jr can take a defender wide and cut to the front of the net. His edgework and agility allow King to avoid defenders and help him in the neutral zone as well. He has good crossovers and gains speed out of his turns. King is also strong on his skates. His powerful lower body helps his balance and allows King to be strong on the puck.

Offensive Game

King plays a power forward style. He loves to drive the net, both with and without the puck. Ernie Jr can finish when he gets there with the soft hands to make a move and get the puck over the goalie as well the hand-eye coordination for deflections and pounce on rebounds. He gets in on the forecheck quickly, pressuring defenders into mistakes and gaining control of the puck. King Jr is a real pest. He creates havoc in front of the net as well as controlling the puck well in the cycle game.

Ernie Jr is just like his father in the sense that he can play anywhere on the ice and it doesn’t affect his IQ, its incredible. Ernie Jr’s recent change from playing D as a center and a winger to playing exclusively on the wing is the latest news from Ernie Jr’s Agent.

Ernie started the last season playing Defence, He doesn’t have incredible footspeed (can you blame him), but he’s light on his feet and can move around relatively effectively. By all accounts he works hard in all areas of the ice and is an effective penalty killer thanks to his agility and reach. After a plague of injuries to his Junior A club he was asked to move to the wing before being shifted to the middle of the ice later, and the results since then have been nothing short of great.

 

King is also a very good passer. He can make plays in traffic. He has the stickhandling ability to control the puck in traffic. King also has the vision and passing skills to exploit passing lanes and get the puck to an open teammate. He needs work on scoring further out from the net. He has good power and accuracy on his wrist shot but needs work on his release. It can take him too long to “load up” his shot, making it predictable for goaltenders. This is his biggest issue moving up to the next level.

Defensive Game

King Jr has excellent defensive ability beyond his age. His strong lateral movements allow him to maintain good gap control as well as force opponents to the outside. He keeps himself between his man and the front of the net and uses his reach to cut down passing lanes. Ernie Jr is willing to engage in battles on the boards and in front of the net but should be better at this as he gets stronger. He also works well to stay with his man and break things up away from the play. When he gets a loose puck, Ernie is able to skate the puck out of danger or start the transition game with his excellent passing.

Projection and Comparison

Ernie has the skills to be a middle-six winger with strength and size if he can develop to his potential. However his Agent has recently been heard making statements that King Jr looks to follow in his Father footsteps and play in the VHLM for his entire career and no intention of playing VHLE or in the VHL. These are all still unconfirmed rumours however Ernie Himself stated on twitter his excitement to play in the VHLM and be a VHLM “Lifer”. He will need to continue to work on his wrist shot as well as his defensive game to make it happen. King Jr need to also continue to add muscle to his frame. This will help him continue to play his physical game while playing in a men’s league. King Jr needs time to develop. Any team who takes a chance on King Jr will need to be patient as power forwards take time to develop. Ernie King Jr’s game is reminiscent of a young Jordan Tootoo. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential.

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