This is as expected. Todd McLellan shared while in Tampa last week that “we believe he’ll be ready to go when we start up again after the break” and noted that Lizotte had been rehabbing back in El Segundo. Joakim Ryan (lower-body), who is essentially healthy, did not get into games on the road trip but is expected to be available to the team upon the conclusion of the break.
Back to Lizotte, whose line was clicking at the time of his injury. Not necessarily Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer-clicking, but clicking about as well as a 2019-20 LA Kings line could click. Which meant that they were dominant in their direction of play and scoring chances, but not at all actual goal scoring. Via Money Puck, they rank third in the league with a 64.4 xGF% and third in xGA/60 out of any forward line with a minimum of 100 minutes together. In line with the team’s fourth-ranked raw 53.6% CF% and 31st-ranked 6.2% 5×5 Sh%, they’ve only combined for nine 5×5 goals and the Kings haven’t outscored their opponents with any of the three on the ice at five-on-five play. This translates to: Lizotte and Co. are emblematic of a Kings corps that is playing structurally sound, attacking hockey but are yet to be consistently rewarded. In case you hadn’t noticed!
The 5-foot-7, 172-pound, 22-year-old Lizotte, who owns a 60.1% CF% since December 1 and who has boosted the Kings to a 60.2% percentage over the 273 minutes he’s spent with Kempe, has four goals, 15 points and a plus-two rating in 45 games this season. Signed in April, 2019 to an entry-level contract after his sophomore season at St. Cloud State University, he is yet to play in an AHL game.
-advanced stats via Money Puck, Natural Stat TrickThe LA Kings assigned Blake Lizotte to AHL-Ontario on Wednesday, allowing the center to get games in during the bye week and All-Star break as he takes the next step in his rehabilitation from a lower-body injury sustained against Dallas on January 8. He skated Thursday morning with the Reign, who leave this afternoon for a Stockton-San Jose back-to-back road trip before returning to host the AHL All-Star Classic Sunday and Monday. The Kings’ next game is Wednesday, January 29 at Staples Center against Tampa Bay.