First-line changes - LA Kings Insider

As previously posted, Alexander Frolov returns to the first line tonight, in place of Teddy Purcell. After Ryan Smyth suffered his upper-body injury, Frolov had one goal in two games on that line before he moved down to partner with rookies Andrei Loktionov and Brayden Schenn over the next two games. Purcell stepped up to the first line but did not generate a point and missed a golden scoring opportunity against Vancouver, when he essentially shot into Roberto Luongo’s glove with the net otherwise empty.

Here’s what Terry Murray said this morning about the Frolov-for-Purcell swap.

MURRAY: “Well, I wanted to give Teddy the opportunity to play there, because I liked what I was seeing in the practices. He had good jump, and whenever I see that kind of energy, normally there is some offensive result. He had some opportunities, as we know, but statistically, at the end of the day there was nothing there to look at. That’s why I’m making the change.”

Murray was asked about Frolov’s previous two-game stint as the first-line winger, and what he might have seen in those games that lead him to believe Frolov is once again the answer…

MURRAY: “I still come away, at the end of the day, saying that we put a pretty good hockey player (in Frolov) up there in the replacement of Ryan Smyth, but I feel I need more. The opportunities were there and the shots on net were there, as far as the line was concerned, but I need more, to where I can look up at the clock and actually see it up there as a statistic. We’ll keep pushing it.”

Murray was then asked if, even knowing how much Smyth brings to the line, he could have anticipated that Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams would fall into such a rut. (Kopitar and Williams each have one point in their last four games).

MURRAY: “I didn’t anticipate that, quite honestly. I actually had a little chat with Kopi here this morning, here in the hallway, about getting back to those areas that he was in previously. I think Smytty brings his teammates to those areas. I watched his games in Colorado over the years, and that’s the style that everyone on that line played. I think that when you’re not forced into those areas, sometimes you have a tendency to drift away and play a little bit more on the outside. I tried to bring some attention to that this morning. We’ll keep talking about it and get Kopi, in particular, back driving to the net and in those hash-mark areas. It’s hard, but that’s where good things can happen for you.”

Finally, here’s what Kopitar said when asked what, in particular, the line needed to do in order to get going again…

KOPITAR: “It’s hard to say. It’s definitely a mix of everything. … It’s just a matter of working hard. We’re not getting great chances, but we’re getting some chances. It’s still frustrating, but at least we’re doing something. I have about four shots per game, but it’s just a matter of keeping it simple. Once we break through, it will just go up from there.”

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.