The good: Let’s just get the word out there: versatile. Trevor Lewis is versatile. He plays all three positions, and he’s capable of playing up and down all four forward lines. He doesn’t have the elite skill to permanently stick on the top two lines (though his production and possession rates/60 were outstanding in the nearly 170 minutes he played alongside Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik) but is serviceable at the very least in some of the loftier parts of the lineup. For those who are new to this “hockey” and “Kings” thing, Lewis is an honest checking forward who is well liked by his teammates and unafraid to put pucks on net. He’s also an experienced penalty killer who ranked second amongst forwards under contract for next season with an average of 1:25 shorthanded ice time per game. But apart from the defensive metrics he traditionally excels at, 2014-15 was to this point a career year for Lewis, whose 24 points at even strength placed him in between Marian Gaborik and Dwight King amongst team forwards. His 56.7% Corsi-for in five-on-five play produced a +1.1% Corsi-rel, representing the first time in any of his five full seasons that he produced a positive possession rate relative to his teammates. “I think maybe the confidence level has a lot to do with it,” he said in late December. “[I’m] holding onto the puck a little bit longer rather than just dumping and chasing the whole time, and I’ve been playing with good guys this year and everyone seems to get the puck out quick and get it in and hold onto it longer. It’s really helped a lot.” On top of setting career-highs in goals, assists, points, shooting percentage (amongst qualifying seasons) and plus/minus, his checking and defensive responsibilities never deviated from their traditionally sturdy outcomes. While he was on the ice, opponents scored 1.43 goals per 60 minutes, the lowest goals against rate on the team amongst anyone with regular playing time. The Kings have a reputation of not ceding much space at all to their opponents, and Lewis is as strong as a player without the puck as there is in the organization.
The bad: Was this the 28-year-old’s ceiling? Perhaps, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; he’s a valuable and versatile role player who isn’t counted on to be a 20-goal guy. The Kings didn’t generate a ton of offense when Lewis was used, having averaged 1.98 goals per 60 minutes while he was on the ice, a rate that ranked 17th on the team. Really, there’s not a ton to fill out here. In last year’s evaluation, it was referenced that his possession rates, shooting percentage, ice time and point total could all be improved, and he ultimately set career-highs in each category (except for time on ice, in which he registered the second best rate of his career) in 2014-15. Though the points were there, there’s still the issue of his overall skill level. He can scoot and get up and down the ice quickly, but he doesn’t have the hands, creativity or the powerful shot that would keep him entrenched in a top-six forward role. Again, that’s not a huge issue, because the Kings have other players who do.
Going forward: Lewis is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent 13 months from today. There haven’t been any contract issues previously (he recently signed a one-year deal in 2013 and a two-year contract shortly before the end of the 2013-14 regular season), though this time around he’ll become a free agent in the off-season before Anze Kopitar’s next contract will kick in. At this point there’s not much of a worry that the Kings could lose Lewis; he’s one of Darryl Sutter’s favorite players (Sutter said so himself), and shouldn’t be a bank breaking-type free agent. But it’s something certainly worth keeping an eye on once this summer’s personnel decisions have been made and attention turns towards the upcoming season. By his 10-game, nine-point performance as a linemate of Jack Eichel while earning a bronze medal with a slightly Cinderella-esque United States team at the World Championship last month, he showed on the international stage that he’s capable of holding his own when tasked with a wider role. He won’t see such ample ice time this season; bank on a similar year from a glue-type player who has provided so much value in the Kings’ two Stanley Cup campaigns.
Player evaluations: #2 MATT GREENE | #3 BRAYDEN MCNABB | #5 JAMIE MCBAIN | #6 JAKE MUZZIN | #7 ANDREJ SEKERA | #8 DREW DOUGHTY | #10 MIKE RICHARDS | #11 ANZE KOPITAR | #12 MARIAN GABORIK | #13 KYLE CLIFFORD | #14 JUSTIN WILLIAMS | #15 ANDY ANDREOFF