When the Kings created a line of center Mike Richards and rookie wingers Dwight King and Jordan Nolan, it had a “hey, why not?’’ feel to it. Jarret Stoll had just been placed on injured reserve, Dustin Penner was quickly closing in on a full year of a lack of productivity and the Kings were coming off an uninspiring loss to Florida. So, why not give the kids a look?
Two games is a tiny sample size — particularly for two rookies filled with some initial happy-to-be-in-the-NHL adrenaline — but so far, King and Nolan have been strong. They’re not reinventing the wheel out there, but they’re skating hard, playing physical and going to the net. The Kings got three out of a possible four points with the kids in the lineup. Can they keep it up, and what will happen when Stoll is ready to return? Those are questions for another day, but the Kings seem pleased with the effort of the two rookies, as Justin Williams said.
WILLIAMS: “It’s awesome. Their excitement, the other guys in the room feed off that. Youthful enthusiasm is kind of an intangible quality. They have played great in the last two games for us and given us a lot of spunk and given us kind of a new look and scored two huge goals.’’
Nolan scored his first NHL goal last night — his father, Ted, had six goals in 78 career NHL games — and King had a goal and an assist in his eighth NHL game. King, all-around, has looked a bit more polished, and that’s to be expected, given that he got a taste of the NHL last season, an experience that he said has been a benefit this time around.
KING: “For sure. I just got my feet wet. I wasn’t really mentally prepared last year, and focused in those six games. I can tell you that right now. But coming in, it took me about a period. I think Nolly would agree with that. We were able to feel it out, and then it’s just a matter of working hard and doing the things that we can do well as a line.’’