Stoll's absence necessitates lineup adjustments - LA Kings Insider

With Jarret Stoll out of the lineup for Game 2 of the Western Conference Semifinals, attention shifted to potential lineup changes and the how the absence of a veteran, two-way center would affect the club.

As expected, Darryl Sutter indicated that Brad Richardson would re-enter the lineup. Richardson has appeared in one playoff game thus far, having logged 14:02 of ice time in the 2-1 overtime loss to St. Louis in the opening game of the first round.

“Playoff time’s big, and you want to play your best, so tomorrow if I’m in, then I’m going to bring the best game I can,” Richardson said after the team’s practice on Wednesday.

Because of Richardson’s versatility up and down the lineup at wing and at center, he’s comfortable in any role he inherits.

“He plays with Penns and Lewie, so they’re kind of a checking line. They have a lot of speed and a lot of straight lines, so that would probably be my main focus – using speed and trying to [play] my best,” he said.

Stoll’s absence will affect faceoffs and the penalty kill, two areas of San Jose’s strength. The Sharks were a top-two faceoff team for the fifth consecutive year and rank second amongst active playoff teams with a 25.9% power play rate. The Kings’ penalty kill was a perfect 3-for-3 in Tuesday’s win.

During the regular season, Stoll registered more time on ice during the penalty kill than any other forward.

“Stolly…is clearly one of our top penalty killers. Him and Lewie always start cause of draws and…it’s an opportunity for someone else to step into a role on the PK,” Dustin Brown said. “I mean, we’re going to have to find a way to get the job done regardless of personnel. Again, it’s an opportunity for someone to step into a PK role. We pretty much had the six of seven guys on the same PK all year. I’m sure that one of those guys that kind of gets a shot once in a while will just step right in. We all know what we’re doing. It’s just a matter of executing.”

Colin Fraser has factored into the penalty kill for parts of the last two years and could see an expanded role in place of Stoll. He skated with Justin Williams during a third period San Jose power play. Fraser averaged 36 seconds of penalty killing time on ice per game, while Williams, who saw more time on the penalty kill as the season progressed, averaged 18 seconds per game on the penalty kill.

“Kind of my whole life I’ve kind of been more of a defensive-minded player,” Fraser said. I don’t necessarily kill every game, but when somebody goes down I get to fill the void, and I think it’s just about having good positioning and being smart. Less is more sometimes. Obviously it’s their top players, and if you give them time and space they’re going to make plays, so it’s being quick, being smart and having a good stick.”

Several players spoke of the new challenges presented by injuries to Stoll and Kyle Clifford – as well as to Matt Greene, who appeared in five games in 2013 and none since April 24. Last season, Los Angeles used the same six defensemen throughout the playoffs and weathered a Clifford injury in Game 1 of the Vancouver series during a Stanley Cup run marked by its continuity.

“That goes a long way in being successful. I think last year…no injuries and the amount of rest we got was huge for us,” Brown said. “But, you know, every year’s different. We’ve got to find ways to deal with it. Again, our team – part of our strength is our depth, and when a situation like this happens, that’s when it comes into play, big time.”

Against a team with high-caliber offensive weapons such as San Jose, the lineup alteerations will pose an adjustment in a series the Kings lead one game to none.

“That’s why we have a lot of guys, right? I mean, we have extra guys for a reason,” Fraser said. “We’ve got good players that have been sitting out all year. You never want to see Stolly go down. He’s a big piece to our puzzle. He’s a big player. He’s a veteran guy that’s played a lot of playoff games. Obviously he’s a big key to our team, but with that being said, you’ve got to move forward, too. Other guys are going to have to step up and fill the void.”

Rules for Blog Commenting
  • - No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • - Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other commenters, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • - Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • - Please do not discuss, or post links to, websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • - Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.
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.