The LA Kings announced today that the organization has signed forward Blake Lizotte to a one-year contract extension, which carries an AAV of $800,000.
Lizotte was one of 11 restricted free agents throughout the Kings organization entering this offseason, including one of eight to play an NHL game with the team this season. The Kings could have tendered Lizotte a qualifying offer, but Lizotte and the Kings got a deal done early, well before the qualifying offer deadline in late-July.
The 5-7 centerman had ten points (3-7-10) from 44 games played at the NHL level this season and has 33 points (9-24-33) from 107 career NHL games after he made his professional debut in April 2019 out of college.
From our seasons in review series, Lizotte was one of just four Kings regulars at the forward position to be a positive in terms of shot attempts, the only regular forward beyond the usual top line of Alex Iafallo – Anze Kopitar – Dustin Brown to finish on the upper end of the 50 percent mark. While down from his numbers that exceeded 55 percent in his favor during the season prior, Lizotte performed similarly relative to his teammates.
Lizotte also led the Kings with a +2 rating and was the only regular skater, regardless of position, to finish the season as a positive in the plus/minus column.
The Kings got more than their money’s worth on Lizotte’s entry-level contract, with an undrafted free agent signed out of college playing the entirety of his first two seasons at the NHL level, barring one rehab assignment with the Ontario Reign, that lasted just a game.
Looking ahead at the 2021-22 season, Lizotte’s re-signing gives the Kings some decisions to make at the center position. Naturally, Kopitar is a lock as the team’s 1C, and Lizotte enters back into a group that also features returning regulars Gabriel Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan, as well as top prospects Quinton Byfield and Rasmus Kupari, who impressed in NHL spurts. All of the aforementioned names are expected to, at the least, challenge for full-time role in the fall.
With now two seasons under his belt, Lizotte has shown an ability to play in various roles throughout the lineup, skating on the second, third and fourth lines at various times this season. His fit moving forward expects to be within the bottom six, as a hard-working, energetic forward who brings a spark to his team, while playing responsible, 200-foot hockey. Lizotte has shown to be a strong possession-based player in his short NHL time, as well as one of Todd McLellan’s most effective penalty killers.
The questions moving forward, for at least a couple of the aforementioned players, as well as those potentially joining the fray, would be who can also provide versatility in playing on the wing. With just four center positions available, and Lizotte now making six options under contract for the coming season, that stands to be an interesting storyline to focus on as the Kings approach training camp.