Derek Forbort almost got his chance last February.
With the Los Angeles Kings in Columbus and defenseman Robyn Regehr battling food poisoning, the 15th pick of 2010 Draft was about to be called up and finally make his NHL debut. One problem: a Boston snowstorm stranded Forbort, so Regehr ended up playing.
This time, however, Mother Nature didn’t get in the way.
With Matt Greene out with injury for Friday night’s game against the Wild at Staples Center, the door opened for Forbort, a Minnesota native, to finally reach The Show in the building where he was drafted.
“I think I always knew if I stayed the course and kept working hard and kept working on my game and developing that it would eventually come,” Forbort said, via Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider.
Hey, his wait could have been longer. Like eight years. Just ask Hugh Jessiman.
The 23-year old Forbort is now the final player from the first-round of the 2010 Draft to reach the NHL. Tyler Seguin (358) and Cam Fowler (348) lead all first-round picks from that year in games played, while Forbort will join goaltenders Mark Visentin and Jack Campbell with “1 GP” next to their stat lines.
After being drafted, Forbort played three years at the University of North Dakota; repped Team USA at the U-18 World Championship where he won gold; and spent the last three seasons with the Kings’ AHL affiliate in Manchester.
It’s taken some time, but Kings head coach Darryl Sutter has seen plenty of change in Forbort’s game, which has led him to this moment.
“He’s a more assertive player than he was. I think he’s a little bit more attention-to-detail,” Sutter said. “One mistake’s not going to define your career. Just don’t do it over. That’s what we’re trying to get out of all young players’ games, is the mental error or the bad decision, that sort of thing.
“He has a pretty good grasp on that, so the next part is obviously playing at this level, see if he can.”
– – – – – – –
MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY: