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March 15, 2011 12:30 pm

Is Lewis `most improved’?

We’ve reached the point in the season at which those of us in the media/broadcast camp start to toss around ideas for the Kings’ unofficial “awards,” among them being most-improved player. A number of names have been debated — Jonathan Bernier, Kyle Clifford, Alec Martinez among them — but one that gets continued support is Trevor Lewis. After starting the season as a healthy scratch in 10 of the Kings’ first 13 games, Lewis has been a lineup staple since. As the fourth-line center, Lewis’ point totals and ice time are both modest, but he’s been a steady, responsible player who has been entrusted, by Terry Murray, for significant minutes on the penalty kill. That’s a big indication of a coach’s confidence level in a player. Murray was asked whether he would include Lewis in the “most improved” camp this season…

MURRAY: “Absolutely. What else can I say? He has really improved. His composure, his penalty-killing in particular has taken a big step. I rely on him big time, now. He’s one of the first two forwards out, and I’m coming back with him now, after the second group. I have a lot of confidence in his special-teams play, and his composure in his own end is what really stood out, from the start of training camp, and it has improved. When you get to this time of year, any time things are getting hectic, he has that ability to get a hold of the puck, show composure, get his feet moving. There was a play in Columbus that was exactly what I’m talking about. He grabs the puck in the second period, and he carried it the whole length of the ice. And he’s under pressure the whole time. That shows a lot of confidence. Russell, I think, was the defenseman, and he’s one of their quicker guys back there. (Lewis) actually blew around him, and he was scrambling to make his pivot and recover and get to him. So, there are a lot of good things with Lewis. He has really become an important player for us.”

Lewis, a former first-round pick, has two goals and six assists in 59 games entering tonight, and Murray was asked whether, in the long term, he saw the potential for more offense in Lewis’ game…

MURRAY: “When he watch him in practice, in the shooting drills, he’s got a great release, a quick release. He hits the spot that he’s looking for. It’s a little bit different in a game situation, as we know, but I think that will come along. You’ve got to be able to do it, to begin with, and I see that.”

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