The Kings went on ice at Toyota Sports Center at 10 a.m. today and stayed on for about an hour. The forward lines were as follows:
Alec Martinez rejoined the team’s defensive rotation after exiting the Kings’ loss to the Nashville Predators last week with a lower-body injury. He did not play in the Kings’ 6-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday.
Coach John Stevens struck an optimistic tone on how Martinez looked at practice and the progress he has made since the injury. He also talked at length about the Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl win over the Patriots. Stevens coached for many years in the Philadelphia Flyers organization.
Trevor Lewis was a popular topic at Kings practice Monday.
The forward hit a career high for goals in a season with his 13th on Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes. This came off a move where Lewis faked forehand and then went to his backhand and put the puck past goaltender Scott Wedgwood on a shorthanded breakaway.
Several reporters went to Lewis’ locker stall to ask how he has figured out a way to improve on his previous best goal total of 12 from last season and find his offense at this point in his career.
Lewis noted that last summer he spoke with coach John Stevens about how to boost his production while keeping the defensive nature that had become the bedrock of his game. So far this has paid dividends with the goal scoring boost. Also, Lewis’ 22 points are three behind his career-best of 25 set in 2014-15. Meanwhile, he has continued to draw tough defensive match-ups and has averaged 1:50 of penalty kill ice-time per-game.
“I’ve always kind of known I could do it (offensively). I think one of my focuses coming up was being a defensive guy and being a guy the coach can rely on to put you out in those key situations,” Lewis said. “I think that helps, I mean playing in a lot more situations that obviously helps your confidence. I mean I’m just trying to get to the net more and get those greasy (goals) too.”
Though Lewis has found his role as a defensive player at the NHL level, he was known more for his offense when he was younger. Lewis was picked 17th overall in the 2006 draft by the Kings and had 73 points and 29 goals in his last season of junior in 2006-07.
But Lewis had to alter his game to be more defensive to make it in the NHL and turned into one of the Kings’ top two-way players.
“I think my first year in Manchester (in the AHL) I tried to play more of a skilled game and I realized to come up to the next level, you have to really focus on the little things and make sure if you do get called up, the coach can put you out there in all situations,” Lewis said. “I think my first year I kind of realized that maybe I’m not going to be the so-called ‘skill’ guy and I really tried to focus on penalty killing and just being a defensively reliable forward. I think that was a big focus. It still is. I still take pride in that area a lot but always in the back of my mind I thought I could score more.”
Stevens also believed that Lewis could contribute more offensively if given the opportunity and made the 31-year-old Salt Lake City native part of his plan to boost scoring from the team’s bottom-six forwards.
“Lewy is just a guy who you love everything he does,” Stevens said. “He’s a very responsible detail-oriented guy. He was a big scorer at the junior level and put numbers up in the American (Hockey) League, and we think he’s a guy that can provide secondary offense.”
The Kings will practice again Tuesday at 10 a.m. at Toyota Sports Center.
Lead photo via Len Redkoles/NHLI