From the time he began his junior career in 2012, Michael Amadio has consistently gotten stronger. Drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the third round (90th overall) of the 2014 Draft, the native of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has worked so hard throughout his junior years that he now possesses so many weapons that a pro career is just too inevitable to pass up.
In his first three seasons of junior, Amadio has went from 19 points to 38 to 71. This season, the youngster already has 22 goals for the OHL‘s North Bay Battalion. His career-high was 24, accomplished last season in 68 games. Amadio has played just 36 games thus far which underlines just how lethal of a goal-scorer he has become.
Recently, I spoke with Battalion assistant coach Ryan Oulahen, who has had the privilege of watching Amadio’s on- and off-ice maturation first-hand in his four years with the club.
“The big thing with Michael is that over the course of his career he has continued to improve his overall strength,” Oulahen said. “He has been able to be harder on pucks, win 1-on-1 battles and most importantly, his shot has turned into a weapon. Michael excels with his vision of the ice and is able to put himself in great scoring chances. Add that to the improvement of his strength, you now are seeing an elite goal scorer.”
While they are known primarily as a defensive-minded club, the Los Angeles Kings do boast quite a few offensive assets. In recent weeks, for example, we have seen quite a few of their pairings find scoring success. After all, while the likes of Anze Kopitar, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli are consistently counted on to light the lamp, the Kings receive frequent support from those who aren’t quite as known for their abilities up front. From Dwight King to Trevor Lewis to Nick Shore, the silver-and-black have no shortage of unsung talent ready to step up when needed. In due time, Michael Amadio should find himself to be an ideal fit in this system.
For now, the 19-year-old should know that time is on his side and with that time, expect him to continue to strengthen his many assets.
“As a centerman for most of his OHL career, Michael has done a great job learning how to play in his own end,” Oulahen continued. “He has a great stick that allows him to win a lot of 1-on-1 puck battles down low and has the patience to skate pucks out of danger. He has continued to improve in the faceoff circle and is counted on in important moments of the game. Michael will always be pushed to get stronger as he will move on to play against bigger and stronger opponents. The biggest asset to Michael’s defensive game is once again his hockey sense and being able to read the game at a fast pace.”
I also spoke with Nelson Emerson about Amadio’s game. The Kings Director of Player Development has certainly been impressed with the youngster.
“We like the way Michael has progressed this year,” Emerson noted. “He lost a high scoring winger [with the Battalion] that he usually plays with, but has continued to move forward. We like his responsibility in his own end, and the way he understands a 200-foot game.”
Scouting reports have noted that Amadio can be counted on to kill penalties, take defensive-zone faceoffs and help keep late-game leads in addition to possessing great puck possession skills — all assets that would make him an ideal fit with the Kings. According to Oulahen, while said reports are very accurate, they did neglect to emphasize one area in which the 19-year-old has shown tremendous promise.
“Forgotten a little bit is his offensive abilities,” Oulahen said. “Michael, with his hockey sense, is a big contributor to the power play with his ability to find open ice and passing ability to find the open man. Over the course of his Battalion career, he has really worked on his game to become better each and every day. He is a pro in the way he approaches the game and prepares for the game. There are no doubts Michael will be ready for the next step of pro hockey.”
As far as Nelson Emerson and the Los Angeles Kings are concerned, Oulahen’s latter statement is the most noteworthy.
“It is important for [Amadio] to continue on and finish the season positively,” Emerson concluded.
At 6-foot-1, 192 pounds, Amadio would be a good fit size-wise if he were to suit up for the Kings tomorrow but again, at 19, he has plenty of time on his side. After all, if his progression thus far is any indication, then few, if anyone, should be concerned about the youngster’s progression.
From his 200-foot game, to his ability in finding open spaces to his capacity for dominating in the defensive zone, the amount of areas that Amadio has improved upon in such a short period of time is not only a testament to him but to his coaching staff in North Bay, including Ryan Oulahen.
The Kings have had plenty of cases in recent years where they successfully developed players who, upon joining the organization, were behind Amadio in terms of not only the quantity of assets but the quality as well. The Sault Ste. Marie native already has a leg up and while he may not be a shoo-in to make the big club next year, do expect the center-turned-right-winger to compete at a level that will leave many speaking favorably of him regardless.
If his junior career is any indication, then expect there to be a collective sense of palpable excitement when Michael Amadio makes the next step in his career.