Big season expected from Pearson, whose focus is more acute - LA Kings Insider

Tanner Pearson isn’t Rocket Richard, but he did score 15 goals last season, 13 of which came during even strength play. On a Kings team in search of offense, his reappearance in the lineup is a welcome and needed addition.

“It’s definitely a good feeling,” said Pearson, who was suspended for two preseason games and two regular season games for a check to the head of Edmonton’s Brandon Davidson that resulted in an injury. Pearson, who had no prior incidents with the Department of Player Safety, was also assessed a game misconduct during the October 2 game.

“I think it wasn’t an ideal way to start the season, but it happened, and now I’ve got to focus on playing my game and helping this team get the first win under the belt.”

Though the 24-year-old had seen a good amount of time opposite Tyler Toffoli on Jeff Carter’s line during the preseason, “That 70’s Line” hadn’t been consistently productive since the first month of the 2014-15 season. At yesterday’s practice and today’s morning skate, he was aligned to the left of Carter and Devin Setoguchi.

“There’s a reason why [Setoguchi has] scored [127] goals in this league,” Pearson said. “Good shot, good speed. You know, hopefully I’ll play with two shooters today, so get them the puck and let them do their thing. … It’d be nice to build some chemistry right off the get-go and get the ball rolling.”

Darryl Sutter reiterated what he had said yesterday, that Pearson will provide another scoring element from the left wing, a position the Kings didn’t wring much production from during the preseason due to Marian Gaborik’s injury. Sutter also noted that Pearson’s arrival helps the club in a variety of different situations. He has good, active legs and a poise that allows him to operate at a high speed and is among the most effective forecheckers on the club, which should allow the team to turn more pucks over and play to its strengths in the offensive zone.

“He can check and he can kill penalties,” Sutter said. “He can play on the power play, he can play against top guys. He’s a good competitor, it’s just getting a little more experience. He’s a 15-goal scorer last year that we hope can get to another level there.”

Any bigger picture, such as the pressure and expectation for Pearson to raise his production with 146 regular season games and a Stanley Cup under his belt, wasn’t the focus on the morning of the winger’s debut.

“I think the first game – as everyone’s had a couple under their belt already – you kind of just want to focus on the little things first and I think with every game being the same thing,” he said. “Focusing on those things and that will help the bigger picture.”

Tanner Pearson, on the challenges of sitting out games to start the season:
It’s always [challenging], I mean, I sat out long enough the one year. Watching any game is no fun obviously, you want to be out there helping the guys, helping the guys win and that sort of thing. But you know, the past is the past and you know what you’ve got to go shift by shift and hopefully get the win.

Pearson, on the importance of starting quickly against Minnesota:
Yeah, I think any time you’re on the road you want to have a good start. Obviously the building will be on their side. You know, slow the fans down then slow the momentum of them coming out. Just have a good ten minutes and then go from there.

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Jake Muzzin

#6 | 6′ 3″ | 216 lb | Age: 27

Born: Feb 21, 1989
Birthplace: Woodstock, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Left


Muzzin was drafted in 2007 by the Pittsburgh Penguins, before signing to the Kings in 2010. He has since become the first Woodstock, Ontario professional athlete to win a major sports trophy.

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

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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.

Tyler Toffoli

#73 | 6′ 1″ | 200 lb | Age: 24

Born: April 24, 1992
Birthplace: Scarborough, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Toffoli is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward, drafted by the Kings in the second round of the 2010 Draft. Toffoli scored his first career NHL goal in his second game in a 4–0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in 2013. He was also named the 2012–13 AHL All-Rookie Team.

Jeff Carter

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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.

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Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


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