Looking back at Saturday’s game, the Kings got goals from 21-year-old Kyle Clifford and 22-year-old Dwight King. Neither winger carries the expectations of becoming a top-flight NHL scorer, but that game showed the potential of both. Clifford deftly handled a long-range pass and made a nice move in front of the net to score. King took the puck to the net and made a nice shot to beat Pekka Rinne.
It’s been an interesting season for both players. There were few expectations on King, who started the season in the AHL and has earned solid reviews since being called up five weeks ago. There were higher expectations on Clifford, who was one of the Kings’ strongest players during last season’s playoff series against San Jose. Clifford struggled a bit when asked to take on increased responsibilities, but has looked more comfortable and confident in a fourth-line role with Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan. Darryl Sutter today gave his thoughts on the development of both young wingers…
SUTTER: “He has the hockey sense to be able to play with top guys, so the next part, in his development going forward, will be his training and consistency, those sorts of things. … There hasn’t been much change in his game. What I’m trying to do is find some consistency during the game. Even in the other night, in our game here, there were parts when I wasn’t able to use him, because he wasn’t as sharp as he needs to be.’’
SUTTER: “I think he probably had a bigger role than he should have had. He’s the youngest player on the team, and he was probably pushed up a level a little too soon. I think the role he’s in now is one that he can really work at, to expand it again. It’s simple.’’