Waking up with the Kings: December 28 - LA Kings Insider

The LA Kings headed into the Christmas break having won three straight games against 2018 Western Conference semifinalists, and though they exited it against a low-scoring and banged up team in a nearby standings spot, established their game early and in a completely plausible story won a low-scoring game against Arizona at Staples Center. These two teams had a combined 10 players on injured reserve and were also without Jeff Carter and Brad Richardson, and the on-ice product at times resembled that of two banged-up, scuffled teams coming out of the break. But the Kings were solid and stingy at five-on-five, generated in-zone and rush chances and continued their solid offensive bent by out-chancing and out-playing a team that entered Staples Center having won all three of its prior divisional road games. Unlike several recent seasons, Los Angeles was solid going into and coming out of the break, winning in the first game before and after Christmas for the first time since December, 2010.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

Los Angeles activated defensemen well on Thursday, with Oscar Fantenberg continuing his recent sturdy play by hopping into several first period rushes and generating a couple of B-type chances. Sean Walker also played his most assertive game since his NHL debut, generating three shots and six shot attempts in 17:37. All defensemen recorded a shot on goal, with Jake Muzzin (seven shot attempts), Drew Doughty (five) and Forbort (three) complementing Walker’s pucks towards the net. With potential departures looming as the Kings head towards the trade deadline with a legitimate scenario in which they’d exchange multiple parts for picks and prospects, Walker, Fantenberg and Paul LaDue will be among those whose play in the second half of the season will draw significant scrutiny as the seeds of future roster construction are planted.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

Setting aside for a moment the notion that the Kings should not have come out of the Austin Wagner-Lawson Crouse-Nick Cousins web of antagonism shorthanded, it’s still good to see the younger players respond emotionally and demonstratively when teammates aren’t treated honestly. It happened over the weekend when Matt Luff engaged Erik Karlsson after the hit on Wagner, and both that episode and Thursday’s represented a step up from other higher profile muted engagement decisions. There’s good jam in Wagner’s game; he’ll fight, he’s competitive and forechecks physically, which paired with his speed should make him an effective third line forward for a number of years in the league. If there’s some positive to gain from this season – not the SportsClubStats.com algorithm, which has their playoff chances at 0.8% – it’s that the Kings have unearthed a pair of interesting forwards in Luff and Wagner that should play consistently in the future, with Luff, who seemingly generates one high-danger chance a night, solidifying his potential as a forward with top-six appeal. With their salary structure, those young, productive, role-playing forwards are of significant value.

Juan Ocampo/NHLI

-Lead photo via Juan Ocampo/NHLI

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left

Bio

Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.
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Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.
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Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left

Bio

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.

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Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right

Bio

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.

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Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right

Bio

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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Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

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

Bio

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.

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