Waking up with the Kings: February 8 - LA Kings Insider

So, let’s get this straight: the LA Kings, all of a sudden winners of three straight, went into Philadelphia, winners of eight straight, pushed the direction and pace of play and registered 12 of the game’s 15 high-danger scoring chances (via Natural Stat Trick)? Sure, why not. In the latest road demonstration of a healthy team game, the Kings banked on a solid 50 minutes of action between some Flyers bookends and a younger lineup to skate to a deserved 3-2 shootout victory that pointed them towards at least serving as an afterthought in the playoff race. It must be incredibly difficult for Willie Desjardins to scratch a player like Dion Phaneuf, who until Thursday night had never been a healthy scratch and earlier this year skated in his 1,000th game. But there will be a transition towards loosening the reins on many younger players, a push that should continue when several UFA-bound players and perhaps one or two others are moved in advance of the trade deadline. But Sean Walker was a plus-two with an assist, and over 16:04 of ice time was a positive possession influence. He won’t perform like that every game, but this is a good development for a young-ish late-bloomer whose play will dictate how much late-season opportunity he receives.

Len Redkoles/NHLI

Ditto for Austin Wagner, who has dug into a lineup spot and has played in seven consecutive games. Some tangible and perhaps unexpected chemistry has developed between him and Kyle Clifford, and with Michael Amadio skating between the two wings, the three furthered the line’s recent penchant of working in the offensive zone and generating good, hard, accountable minutes. The key for a fourth line is often to provide energy and not get scored upon, a notion reinforced by Desjardins three days ago when he said that his ideal fourth line is one “that’s hungry, plays hard and gives you a working shift every time they’re on the ice.” It’s beneficial that Wagner’s speed factors into this combination, because third and fourth lines are increasingly dependent on speed and skill across the league, and aren’t as much representative of the “checking” or “shutdown” lines of yore. While securing a high lottery pick is best for the long-term health of the organization, it’s also important that the younger players show some upward trajectory individually, and that’s been happening to a wider degree recently.

Len Redkoles/NHLI

Objects in the rearview mirror are not as close as they appear, so there’s little use in talking playoffs. By winning three straight and four of five, the Kings have now reached the probability stage of “winning a playoff series they trailed 3-0.” (I also acknowledge the irony of typing this in a building where a team lost a series it led 3-0 while covering another team that erased a 3-0 deficit.) The league thrives on this perceived parity through negligible increases in television ratings and perhaps a small spike in ticket sales, but keep in mind that it’s not the five-point deficit that you should be keying on, but rather the seven teams they have to leapfrog. Though it may feel good for Kings fans to be rooting against the Ducks during this ghastly stretch of theirs, in reality it would help L.A. out more if Anaheim started winning some games and didn’t rock the boat in the lottery sweepstakes. If the Kings win seven in a row, they’ll insert themselves into the playoff race. If they win nine in a row, they’ll give themselves some good footing. While we’re nowhere near that, it’s still a positive that we’re seeing some development and return from younger players who will be handled with some loosened reins over the remaining months.

Len Redkoles/NHLI

–Lead photo via Len Redkoles/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


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.