The Los Angeles Kings obtained a sniper and a fighter when they signed former TampaBay Lightning draftee Bokondji Imama to a three-year entry level contract Thursday.
Left wing Bokondji Imama was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015.
Imama, 20, recently completed his final season with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The left wing’s 41 goals led the Sea Dogs and ranked seventh in the QMJHL. He was fourth on the team in scoring with 55 points – the combination of 41 goals and 14 assists.
He helped lead the Sea Dogs to the QMJHL championship, scoring 8 goals and 7 assists in 18 playoff games. Saint John lost in the semi-final of the Mastercard Memorial Cup to the Ontario Hockey League champion Erie Otters.
Imama also displayed toughness with his scoring touch, finishing third on the Sea Dogs with 105 penalty minutes. He was regarded as one of the best and most feared fighters in the QMJHL.
Former Saint John Sea Dogs left wing Bokondji Imama hopes to make the Los Angeles Kings after signing a three-year deal with the team (Photo/David Connell/Saint John Sea Dogs).
The French Canadian-born son of immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Imama was chosen by the Lightning in the sixth round with 180th overall pick of the 2015 NHL Draft.
Kings have signed forward Bokondji “Boko” Imama to a three-year entry-level contract, Details here: https://t.co/vnzVY4sZAD
Addison scored a hat trick – 3 goals – to lead the Spitfires past the Erie Otters 4-2 and to a spot in the Mastercard Memorial Cup final. The tournament, which Windsor is hosting, features the winners of the Ontario Hockey League, Western HockeyLeague, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championships.
The Montreal Canadiens selected Addison in the seventh round of the 2015 NHL Ddraft with the 207th overall pick. He scored 24goals and 19 assists in 51 games for the Spitfires in 2016-17. He’s tallied 5 goals in five OHL playoff games and 5 Memorial Cup goals.
Jeremiah Addison of the Windsor Spitfires (Photo/Terry Wilson/OHL Images).
Windsor now awaits the winner of a semifinal game between OHL Erie and the QMJHL Saint John Sea Dogs.
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Saint John Sea Dogs forward Mathieu Joseph was second on his team in scoring in 2016-17 (Photo/David Connell/Saint John Sea Dogs).
The offensively-potent Sea Dogs are powered by right wing Mathieu Joseph and left wing Bokondji Imama.
Joseph, 20, a 2015 Tampa Bay Lightningfourth-round draft pick and a member of the Silver Medal-winning 2017 Canadian World Juniors team, was the Sea Dogs second-leading scorer in 2016-17 with 36 goals and 44 assists in 54 games.
Saint John Sea Dogs’ Bokondji Imama showed he’s more than a fighter by scoring 41 goals in 2016-17 (Photo/David Connell/Saint John Sea Dogs).
Imama, a Tampa Bay sixth-round selection in 2015, accepted the Lightning organization’s challenge to prove that he’s more than the feared fighter that he’s been throughout his QMJHL career.
The 20-year old showed that his shot is as hard as his fists by being the Sea Dogs’ fourth-leading scorer with 41 goals and 14 assists, all while accumulating 105 penalty minutes in 66 games.
Seattle Thunderbirds defenseman Ethan Bear was a scoring threat from the blue line in 2016-17 (Photo/Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds).
The Thunderbirds also reached the Memorial Cup tournament because of their impressive offense – from the blue line by defenseman Ethan Bear and up front by right wing Keegan Kolesar.
This was the view a lot of Western Hockey League goaltenders got of Seattle Thunderbirds forward Keegan Kolesar during the regular season (Photo/Brian Liesse/Seattle Thunderbirds).
Bear, 19, who is Ochapowace First Nation, was the definition of an offensive defenseman. He finished third on the Thunderbirds in scoring with 28 goals and 42 assists in 67 regular season games. The Edmonton Oilers 2015 fifth-round draft pick also tallied 6 goals and 20 assists in 17 WHL playoff games.
Kolesar, 20, a third-round draft pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2015, was the Thunderbirds fourth-leading scorer in 2016-17 with 26 goals and 34 assists in 54 games. He had 12 goals and 19 assists in 19 WHL playoff contests.
Jeremiah Addison of the Windsor Spitfires. (Photo/Aaron Bell/OHL Images).
When it comes to leadership on the Windsor Spitfires, there’s “Addy” and “Chatty.” Left wing Jeremiah Addison, 20, and defenseman Jalen Chatfield are such integral parts of their team that they both were voted captain toward the end of the regular season and alternated wearing the “C’ on their jerseys every other game.
“Our players selected these guys equally. They’re two great people,” Spitfires HeadCoach Rocky Thompson said in March. “They are both deserving and both represent what it takes to be a leader.”
Windsor Spitfires defenseman Jalen Chatfield provided offensive pop from the blue line (Photo/Aaron Bell/OHL Images).
Addison was the team’s third-leading scorer with 24 goals and 19 assists in 51 games. Addison, a seventh-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens in 2015, pitched in 5 goals in five OHL playoff games.
Though not as prolific as Seattle’s Bear, defensemanChatfield, 21, provided some offensive pop from the Windsor blue line. He had 8 goals and 20 assists in 61 regular season games and 2 assists in seven playoff games.
The Vancouver Canucks were impressed enough with Chatfield’s game to sign him to a three-year entry level contract in March.
Windsor’s Cole Purboo, left, is ranked as the 189th-best North American skater eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft (Photo/Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
Windsor right wing Cole Purboo contributed 11 goals and 6 assists in 68 regular season games. The National Hockey League’s Central Scouting ranks Purboo, 17, as the 189th-best North American prospect eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft June 23-24 at Chicago’s United Center.
There are no minority players on the Erie Otters roster.
The 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup games will be televised live in Canada on Rogers Sportsnet and on tape delay on the NHL Network in the United States. However, the network will carry the championship game live on Sunday, May 28.
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Saint John Sea Dogs left wing Bokondji Imama has gone from scrapper to sniper.
The rugged 20-year-old, the Tampa Bay Lightning’ssixth-round pick in the 2015 National Hockey League Draft, has a reputation as one of the fiercest fighters in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
But these days, Imama is scaring QMJHL goaltenders as much as opposing skaters. He has 27 goals and 10 assists in 40 QMJHL regular season games, up from 7 goals and 19 assists in 47 games during the 2015-16 season.
“I always try to prove to everyone that I’m not just a fighter, I’m also a player” Imama told me recently. “I consider myself as a power forward. This year, I’ve had a chance to prove it with the ice time that the coach gives me.”
Thanks to summer work on his shooting and skating, Saint John Sea Dogs forward Bokondji Imama is a serious scoring threat this season (Photo/David Connell/St. John Sea Dogs).
Imama is the Sea Dogs’ top goal-scorer this season, one ahead of right wing Mathieu Joseph – a Tampa Bay 2015 fourth-round draft pick who played on Canada’s Silver Medal-winningteam at the 2017 International Ice Hockey FederationWorld JuniorChampionship – and center Matthew Highmore.
Imama’s 37 points – the combination of goals and assists – makes him the team’s fourth-leading scorer. Highmore’s 65 points – 26 goals and 39 assists in 42 games- tops the team. Joseph, who signed a three-year, entry-level deal with the Lightning before the World Juniors, is second with 26 goals, 24 assists in 31 regular season games.
Imama’s evolution from a bare-knuckled brawler to bar down goal scorer is also reflected by fewer trips to the penalty box. He has 62 penalty minutes so far this season.
What’s most striking is that Imama is fighting less this season. The website hockeyfights.com notes that he’s fought only three times in QMJHL games so far this season. He had one scrap for the Lightning in a September 2016 preseason game against the Nashville Predators.
Imama had five fights in 2015-16 and a whopping 15 bouts in the 2014-15 season, according to hockeyfights.com.
The change in Imama’s game is part of a plan to show that the Montreal native, the son of immigrants from the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa, is more than just a pair of fists as he completes his final QMJHL season and embarks on a professional hockey career.
“It started from my summer training, pretty much. I hired a skills coach, working on my offensive side, working on my power skating, working on my hands, working on my release,” the French-Canadian Imama told me recently. “The Saint John coach (Danny Flynn) has given me more responsibilities, putting me on the power play, putting me in different places. I’m doing great going to the net, putting puck on net.”
Lightning officials were impressed with what they saw of Imama offensively at the team’s development camp in Florida June 2016. He led a camp 3-on-3 tournamentwith 8 goals and tied Sea Dogs teammate Joseph for overall points in the tourney with 10.
Saint John Sea Dogs forward Bokondji Imama is putting the puck in the net more and fighting less, per instructions by the Tampa Bay Lightning (Photo/David Connell/Saint John Sea Dogs).
Still, Tampa Bay cut Imama during September’s training camp and sent him back to Saint John, the largest city in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. But the ‘Bolts organization gave him to-do list for his return to the Q.
“From the first day they released me from camp, it was clear: they don’t want to see me fight, they don’t want to see me get suspended,” Imama said. “They want to see me on the ice, working on my game, scoring goals obviously, making some good plays, being an effective hockey player for my team.”
By following their prescription, Imama says this has been his most rewarding season in the QMJHL.
But the 6-foot-1, 217-pound forward has no illusions about what will be expected of him in his pro career, whether it’s with Tampa Bay or its farm teams in the American Hockey Leagueor the ECHL.
“To be realistic, when I’m going to pro level, I’ll have to come back to myself, to be more of a grinder, more of a fighter,” he told me. “Right now, as a 20-year-old, I have the chance to play a more offensive dimension. So I’m pretty grateful and I’m having a lot of fun. But once I start playing pro, I have to get back to the old me, if I can say that.”
To that end, Imama looks to Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds and Edmonton Oilers left wing Milan Lucic – tough customers who are also elite goal scorers – for inspiration.
“Those kind of players, I love to watch them play,” he said. “They’re big guys, tough players, they bring size and meanness to their team. But also, the coach will put them in different situations.”