John Stevens on the midway point, Fantenberg, Iafallo - LA Kings Insider

On his assessment at the team as it nears the midway point:
There’s things we track as a hockey team that we think are important to our team. I don’t think that’s really changed between now and the beginning of the year. I think we want to be a really good defensive team. I think for the most part we’ve done that, but I think we can get better in those areas. We wanted to try and play faster, and I think we’ve taken great strides in doing that. Our penalty kill’s always been important to us, and other than that one segment there has done a really good job for us. I actually like the way our power play has progressed. I thought there’s parts of the year it’s been really good, even when it didn’t score, but I think these last five games it’s done a really good job of creating momentum for us. I think the power play’s something we’d like to see continue to have some consistency in it. I think the forecheck’s an area that I’d like to see continue to improve, and I think our commitment without the puck has been everything we’d hoped it’d be, but still areas we need to improve on.

On how much Oscar Fantenberg provides “a different element”:
When he’s playing well and he’s confident with the puck, he really helps us. I think he shoots the puck really well, he passes the puck really well, and I think he does things quickly, so the fact that he wants to shoot the puck I think really helps the power play, but I think he can really shoot the puck well. If he gets the puck to the net when we’ve got people going there, I think it’s going to be really good for us. [Reporter: He made this team out of camp, and he’s been able to stick up here. Is he a good example of a good find by the hockey ops?] I think they’ve done a good job in a lot of areas, to be quite honest, with the depth of our team. You could talk about Kuemper and Iafallo and Folin and guys like that that I think have really shored up some of the depth. We have some kids that are coming along that maybe aren’t quite ready yet but are coming along, so that’s bought them some time to continue to grow as players. But, certainly guys that come in, he’s a little older, he’s got a little more experience, a little more mature. We’re still looking for consistency in his game, but certainly he’s had the ability to come in and help us when we’re looking to make a lineup change.

On any area of improvement he’s looking to see from Alex Iafallo:
Well, I just think Alex, we’re just trying to monitor fatigue levels. He’s a college player, first time going through an NHL season where there’s a very short holiday break. I talked to Blakey about it. He’d gone through it as a college player, and I just think that Alex, he’s done a terrific job for us coming in and really playing well in a lot of different situations for us. We really like Alex as a player. We’re going to get him back in a lineup here soon, but we just felt for a young player sometimes it’s good just to pull back, watch, really become a good student of the game and then get back to being the player we want him to be. We just thought he looked like he didn’t have the jump before. I think the wall play had become a little bit of an issue where it hadn’t been before, but it’s just probably a derivative of that. But, we love Alex. We love everything about him, and we think he’s going to be a really good player for us for a long time.

-Lead photo via Andy Devlin/NHLI

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
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.