Player evaluation: Cliche
This season: 1 game, 0 goals, 0 assists, 0 penalty minutes, 7:23 ice time.
The good: If it’s difficult to deduce anything from three games (Bernier), it’s all but impossible to make judgments based on on game. Cliche played one game, March 2 at Dallas, in the fourth-line center role, which is the role he would likely fill if he ever made it to the NHL on a full-time basis. Cliche has earned attention from Kings management more for his ability as a defensive forward than as a top-level scorer and was voted the “unsung hero” of the Manchester Monarchs by his teammates this season.
The bad: While Cliche was able to fill in — when injuries hit the Monarchs hard — in a top-six forward role this season, he hasn’t showed much offense since turning pro. This season with the Monarchs, he had 11 goals in 66 games. The question for Cliche might be whether he shows enough on the offensive side of the game to earn a long look from the Kings.
Going forward: Cliche will be one of the most interesting players to watch going into next season. His short-term future with the Kings probably depends on the answers to two questions: What do the Kings want to do with their fourth line, and where do they see Brad Richardson playing? Cliche will have a chance to claim that fourth-line center spot, if it’s open and if he shows enough in training camp to earn it. Next season will be a big one for Cliche.