The good: Jarret Stoll served as the third line checking center on a premier checking team that allowed the fewest shots against in the league. No longer the reliable secondary scorer he was earlier in his Kings tenure, Stoll still evolved towards a role that adhered to the team’s hard, north-south identity. With three power play goals – including an overtime game-winner at home against Anaheim – he tallied the most since his 2010-11 season and helped play a part in the power play’s improvement to the 11th rated regular season unit in the league; he also ranked second amongst team forwards with an average of 90 seconds of shorthanded time on ice per game. Stoll has traditionally an effective forechecker capable of winning greater than 50% of his battles and has clearly been, after seven seasons in Los Angeles, among the central unifying figures primarily responsible for the construction of a winning identity and culture and served as a veteran whose presence eased the transition of younger and less established players into the team’s close core. He won the Daryl Evans Youth Hockey Service award and continued to serve as a prominent figure in the team’s outreach and community efforts.
The bad: The issue is that many of the positives listed above are difficult to gauge as they are intangibles. In the more material, Stoll struggled through a rough 2014-15 – though don’t forget that he retained an important defensive role, and the Kings tied for the fourth-fewest goals allowed in the league. From a possession standpoint, however, Stoll didn’t drive play close to the level that many of his teammates did. His Corsi-for (51.1%) and Corsi-rel (-5.8%) were the third worst amongst team forwards, and while he has never traditionally been a possession-driver in his accomplished career, that -5.8% was far deeper in the red than any other season he experienced as a King. And while he was effective on special teams, he posted only 10 even strength points on the season. Really, there weren’t many “events” while Stoll was on the ice. The club averaged 1.92 5×5 G/60 and 1.79 GA/60 while he was on; of his six goals, only two were scored in five-on-five play. His drop-off in shots taken didn’t correlate with only a minor decrease in ice time; despite playing 23 fewer seconds per game in 2014-15 compared to 2013-14, he averaged .91 fewer shots per 60 minutes. Of the “events” that did take place while Stoll was on the ice, a disproportionate number happened to be minor penalties. His -7.4 penalty differential/60 in all situations was the worst mark on the Kings even though he took only five minor penalties in his final 27 games of the season. That he recorded just one assist (and no goals) through his first 17 games may be traced back to the June, 2014 hip surgery that caused him to proceed at an adjusted pace during the preseason and miss the Kings’ September exhibition games. He also dealt with a head injury suffered on a reckless Derek Dorsett hit on March 12 that caused him to miss nine games. Six days after the conclusion of the season, Stoll was arrested for drug possession and ultimately pleaded down to two misdemeanors after originally being charged with a felony.
Going forward: Though Stoll said that he spent time during the national anthem prior to the final game of the season looking up at the club’s championship banners and would “play any kind of role, to be honest,” if he were to return, the chances of the unrestricted free agent signing a new contract with Los Angeles are slim. Despite a graceless exit, Stoll’s overall body of work (if not the 2014-15 season) is in distinguished company. No other trade made by Dean Lombardi poured as much concrete into the team’s championship foundation as when he acquired Stoll and Matt Greene, two young players who evolved into central figures of the team’s leadership core, from Edmonton in June, 2008. And that’s what makes this spring’s events on the heel of a down season so clunky and disappointing. He’ll be remembered for lifting the Stanley Cup twice, though the degree to which his arrest affects his legacy and relationship with the team following the eventual conclusion of his playing days is unclear. Also unclear is the level of interest teams currently have in his services; as of early July, he hasn’t yet signed. Despite a challenging season, there’s still a great deal Stoll can offer as a role player, defensive specialist and unifying team presence. If he is to leave the Kings, he will do so after recording 81 goals in 214 points in 506 regular season games with the club and adding another 16 points in 69 playoff games.
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 | #22 TREVOR LEWIS | #23 DUSTIN BROWN | #27 ALEC MARTINEZ