Player evaluation: Elkins
This season: 3 games, 1 goal, 0 assists, 0 penalty minutes, 11:54 average ice time.
The good: Elkins had a solid season in Manchester, showing the ability to play a decent two-way game. He’s a big guy (6-foot-3, 216 pounds) who can play a fourth-line center role but who can also move and score some goals. He earned a December call-up to the Kings and scored his first NHL goal in a 2-1 loss to Calgary.
The bad: The final image of Elkins is not a good one. The Kings were tied with Phoenix in the third period on Dec. 26 when Elkins took the puck into the offensive zone and…stopped. He didn’t keep skating, or dump the puck in, or look for a teammate. He appeared to simply freeze, just before the puck was stripped and went the other way for Phoenix’s game-winning goal. The next day, coincidentally or not, Elkins was on his way back to Manchester.
Going forward: After that disappointment, Elkins finished the season strong with Manchester. He figures to be in the conversation, with Marc-Andre Cliche, for a fourth-line center spot, but it’s unlikely that he would be able to fill any role higher than that right now. Elkins did have 21 goals for the Monarchs this season, and has three goals in eight playoff games. If the Kings can count on offensive production from Elkins, it would raise his profile significantly.