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A Summerside native was pleased to see the Los Angeles Kings win the Stanley Cup early Saturday morning.
Grant Sonier was the Kings head scout for parts of three seasons under director of scouting Al Murray. During that time the Kings drafted centre Anze Kopitar and goalie Jonathan Quick in 2005 and forward Trevor Lewis in 2006.
“To see them raise the cup again, the second time they’ve done it, it’s certainly a sense of happiness,” Sonier said. “You’re happy for the players.”
In the 2006 draft, the Kings also selected goalies Jonathan Bernier and Jeff Zatkoff.
Murray and Sonier travelled to see all the top players with their regional scouts.
“Where the credit is deserved is for the regional guys to initially identify (the players),” Sonier said. “When it comes to draft picks it really boils down to it’s an entire staff effort.”
Ari Vuori initially identified Kopitar when he was playing in Swedish junior and men’s leagues, as well as for the Slovenian national team trying to qualify for the world championship.
“We had him No. 3 on our list that year and we got him at 11th overall,” Sonier recalled.
Sidney Crosby went first to Pittsburgh, followed by Bobby Ryan (Anaheim), Jack Johnson (Carolina), Benoit Pouliot (Minnesota) and Carey Price (Montreal).
The Kings got Quick with a third-round pick (72nd overall) and Brian Putnam was the team’s regional scout in the area. Sonier said Quick’s lateral mobility helps make him one of the best goalies in the world.
“Luckily, for the franchise we did pick him in the third round because he’s a big reason why they’ve won two cups,” he said.
Murray, Sonier and most of the scouting staff were fired in January 2007. Tony Gasparini and Brent McEwen remain with the scouting staff from Sonier’s days in L.A.
Sonier has been involved with a number of NHL teams and has friends with most teams today.
“I couldn’t be happier where I am,” said Sonier, who is the general manager of the Charlottetown Islanders in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.