How did the Kings fare with various defensive sets? - LA Kings Insider

Before the Kings landed Christian Ehrhoff, I had been planning on putting a quick project together detailing the team’s record with different sets of defensive personnel. What were their records when the defensive corps was fully healthy? How many different defensive combinations did they use? The importance of such a project has decreased (from a low perch) with the addition of Ehrhoff, but I had time to kill and sorted through the results to see if the data indicated anything interesting. It did!

Kings Defensive Groups / Games Played / Record:
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr: 28 GP, 11-12-5
Greene-McNabb-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Regehr: 15 GP, 11-3-1
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Sekera-Doughty-Regehr: 11 GP, 5-4-2
Greene-McNabb-Doughty-Voynov-Martinez-Regehr: 6 GP, 4-1-1
Greene-Muzzin-Sekera-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr: 5 GP, 3-2-0
Greene-McNabb-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez: 5 GP, 2-1-2
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Schultz: 5 GP, 1-1-3
Greene-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Schultz: 4 GP, 1-2-1
Greene-McBain-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr: 2 GP, 1-1-0
Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez: 1 GP, 1-0-0


-The sample sizes for all but the three most frequent defensive combinations are small and probably irrelevant. Still, it’s hard to ignore the results when Jamie McBain was in uniform. Though the offensive defenseman averaged only 12:41 of ice time per game, the Kings were 15-7-4 when he dressed, and the club’s 11-3-1 record when he skated alongside Greene, McNabb, Muzzin, Doughty and Regehr was the clear-cut winner amongst the different combinations (and the 55.8% Corsi-for rating was higher than the club’s 55.3% season-long and league-leading Corsi-for). I’m not sure what this says about what appears to be a Jamie McBain / Jeff Schultz camp battle to open the season as the seventh defenseman – Schultz did average over six minutes of ice time per game more than McBain – but Los Angeles was 15-7-4 when McBain dressed and 2-3-4 when Schultz dressed. (There were four games in which they both dressed.) Note that this presents a widely independent set of circumstances that won’t be replicated this coming season, so there’s really not much use drawing any firm conclusions from these numbers. But outliers are always fun, and who doesn’t love a good factoid or two?

-Interestingly, when the Kings operated with the full assortment of defensemen available, they posted a winning percentage below .500. Some would argue that the Kings never had that luxury this season; when Slava Voynov was available, Jake Muzzin was injured, and Muzzin’s first game back was the first game in which Voynov was suspended. But when the team did not have any players miss a game due to injury (this includes 22 games of Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Doughty-Martinez-Regehr prior to Andrej Sekera’s arrival and the five games of Greene-McNabb-Muzzin-Sekera-Doughty-Regehr), the Kings were 11-12-4.

-Six games does not allow for a lengthy enough sample size. We know this because the Kings were a fortunate 4-1-1 in the six games Slava Voynov played despite the club’s 47.6% Corsi-for rating over that span. You remember this, because you watched Jonathan Quick lead the team to narrow victories over St. Louis and Minnesota despite L.A. being outshot 84-34.

-Matt Greene and Drew Doughty were the only defensemen to appear in all 82 games. Jake Muzzin ended the season with a 76-game consecutive games played streak, while Brayden McNabb’s nine scratches were all due to a coach’s decision, and not due to injury (based on the information available).

-The Kings were 5-4-6 in the 15 games Robyn Regehr was injured. THAT’S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CAN’T USE REGEHR IN THE SHOOTOUT.

-A stick tap to the five defensemen who dressed on November 8 and picked up a win over Vancouver while the Kings were climbing out of salary cap purgatory. Oh, what a season it was!

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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.