Player evaluation: Pearson - LA Kings Insider

Florida Panthers v Los Angeles KingsTANNER PEARSON
This season: 79 games, 15 goals, 21 assists, 36 points, 18 penalty minutes, +11 rating, +1.7% CF%Rel, 14:28 time on ice

The good: Possessing a quick release and equipped with the ability to shoot accurately off the rush, Tanner Pearson proved to be a highly reliable weapon in the extra session after the Kopitar-Doughty-Carter trio had left the ice, accounting for two regular season overtime daggers and one more in the postseason. He was pretty useful in the first 60 minutes of the game, too, accounting for 15 goals and 36 points and compiling a shooting percentage that, similar to previous years, was among the highest on the team. His career shooting percentage through 146 games is a robust 12.7%, but in the future he should be expected to gravitate towards 2015-16’s healthy 10.9% rate. He’s capable of driving possession and again posted rates in the black relative to his teammates, which is a feat on such a possession-oriented team. With a bridge contract that carries a $1.4-million cap hit through this coming season, he’s essentially though perhaps superficially a viable second liner compensated like a third liner. He remained healthy, posting his first season of at least 70 games at any level of junior or professional hockey. He didn’t exactly step into a wider array of roles – his power play usage per game actually declined – but continued to gain trust in key situations and increased his shorthanded time on ice per game from 27 seconds to 1:11, resulting in a modest raise to 14:28 of ice time per game. He’s particularly effective when he’s moving his feet and forechecking – like most players – and continued to show the ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone, and, especially later in the year, work effectively along the boards, below the opponents’ goal line and in front of the attacking goal. A hard-nosed and multifaceted player with good hockey sense, Pearson’s 2015-16 season was his most versatile to date as he logged at least 100 minutes alongside eight different forwards and saw time at both wings.

St Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings

The bad: Pearson needed prodding to get going at times. Such a development isn’t exactly unfathomable for a 23-year-old, but he was a healthy scratch in the first two games of the team’s seven-game road trip in early February. “You know what? He’s gone through the very same thing that a lot of these guys go through,” Darryl Sutter said at the time, noting that “he’s having a hard time keeping up right now.” Sutter also noted Pearson’s youth: “He signed a contract last year. I’ve seen it lots since I’ve been here with young players. Guys like that when they came here with the other guys. Tanner’s good. Everything’s in the right place – his head and his heart. He’s a boy.” He potted an overtime game-winner in his return to the lineup on February 12, though, and added another one a week later in Nashville to salvage a trip in which the team dealt with injury and personnel challenges. Again, it goes back to work, forechecking, and battling. He was also a game-time decision earlier in the year at St. Louis, “and hopefully that woke him up,” Sutter said several days after the winger posted a two-point night in a win over the Blues in early November. “He’s got to check. There’s only a handful of guys in the league that get away now with not checking. I won’t say who they are, but they’re easy to pick up, and they go in and out of the lineup and one year they score 40 goals and then the next year they score two and I think that they don’t play on good teams, and we don’t want any of our players to be like that.” There’s no reason to suspect that observation will affect Pearson, who demonstrated a strong constitution as he ultimately responded well to the stimuli and finished the season with 16 goals and 24 points over his final 33 regular season and playoff games. One concern is that he did not latch on well with Jeff Carter in 2015-16, posting 1.49 GF/60, 2.60 GA/60 and a CF-Rel% in the red when skating alongside his familiar pivot on That 70’s Line. There had previously been concerns about Pearson’s conditioning, but none were sounded publicly during the 2015-16 season.

Going forward: Pearson posted a fine, if occasionally uneven, 2015-16 season despite coming off a major injury, regularly changing linemates and occasionally moving between the left and right wing. That his production solidified at the end of the year was an encouraging sign as the sometimes-injured winger – Pearson has broken a wrist and both fibulas since his 15-year-old season – spent an entire season in the NHL as an active player for the first time in his career. With a team that is contending with salary cap-related concerns, Pearson’s $1.4M AAV should continue to provide excellent value for the upcoming season, one in which he’ll look to continue to cash in on his shot attempts and reach the 20-goal barrier.

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game Four


Pearson evaluations: 2015 | 2014

Los Angeles Kings v Vancouver Canucks

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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.