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The Kings Have a Good One in Martin Chromiak

The Los Angeles Kings have a loaded prospect base, and Martin Chromiak is yet another name to watch. He's had a good season thus far, and his performance with Slovakia has been noteworthy.
Martin Chromiak

The Los Angeles Kings have a darn good prospect system. Before long, everything will start to click and the long wait to return to relevancy near the top of the NHL standings will continue.

One of those names that have often been overlooked in the team's impressive next-gen crop is Martin Chromiak, one of the top prospects to come from Slovakia over the past few years. And, to a point, he almost isn't one of the most talked-about players from his own country right now. With top 2022 prospects such as Simon Nemec, Juraj Slafkovsky and Filip Mesar, as well as 2023's Dalibor Dvorsky, Chromiak -- a fifth-round pick by Los Angeles in 2020 -- hasn't generated the same interest from fans outside of Slovakia. 

Slovakians? Oh, they love him, and they know just how important he is as the senior member of the team's latest international effort. Chromiak had a quiet showing last year for Slovakia, recording just one goal in five points as Slovakia failed to produce much of anything. But in just one game, Chromiak's two goals against a much strong American team provided hope for a Slovakian team with a lot of promise and a lot of excitement, and it's a chance for Chromiak to prove he's got a bright future in the game.

His path to this point in his development has been an interesting one. After spending the first half of 2019-20 with HK Dukla Trencin, Chromiak joined the Kingston Frontenacs in hopes of getting more exposure and better opportunities in North America. It worked, and his 33 points in 28 games led him to get drafted by the Kings later that year. 

But the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from finishing his rookie season in Kingston, and he didn't get to play major junior, period, in 2020-21. Chromiak returned back to Dukla Trencin, the team he grew up playing for from the youth level all the way to the top senior team, and had a respectable 19 points in 32 games. as an 18-year-old. He even got a two-game stint with the AHL's Ontario Reign but had nothing to show for offensively. Chromiak was expected to be one of Slovakia's better point-producers at the World Junior Championship, but had just one goal in a 3-1 loss to Slovakia and didn't generate much of anything the rest of the time.

Chromiak is back to playing a pivotal role alongside top 2022 NHL draft prospect Shane Wright in Kingston, entering the tournament with 13 goals and 32 points in 23 outings. Going over game tape from a year ago, Chromiak was more passive when chasing after a puck and tried to keep his game safe and simple. Now, he's putting himself out there to get into more dangerous scoring chances.

“In Kingston, we have a great team and I have a big role on the team. That’s my job also here, is to play a big role and score goals,” Chromiak said after Sunday's game to the United States. 

“I think I’m more confident on the puck. Now I’m (one of) the oldest guys here and I know my role here is scoring goals. That’s why I’m here.”

At some point, the Kings will need to evaluate Chromiak's future in the organization. He wasn't listed as a top 10 prospect in THN's Yearbook earlier this year, a prospect group that already features solid talent on the wings in Samuel Fagemo and Arthur Kaliyev. The team has an abundance of talent down the middle, so something will have to give.

That's a future problem for the Kings and Chromiak. Right now, his season has given Kings fans hope that he can pan out as another prospect worthy of an NHL shot one day. And for Slovakia -- a nation obsessed with its hockey talent -- it could add further proof that the country is capable of developing quality players.

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