2023 Kings Seasons In Review – Matt Roy

Continuing the seasons in review with the beacon of consistency, Matt Roy is a fitting follow-up to Sean Walker with the similar trajectory in their careers. From game-to-game, Roy is one of the team’s steadiest contributors without a ton of fluctuation in his game, though he added an offensive element this season.

The articles roll on with a look at number 3.

Matt Roy
LAK Statline – 82 games played, 9 goals, 17 assists, +8 rating, 22 penalty minutes
Playoff Statline – 6 games played, 1 goal, 2 assists, +4 rating, 0 penalty minutes
Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 52.5% (+0.2%), SCF% – 53.8% (+1.2%), HDCF% – 55.6% (+1.8%)

Matt Roy was dubbed “Steady Eddie” by Kings Head Coach Todd McLellan early in both of their tenures with the organization. Roy earned that title through a style of play that brought consistency just about every night, with a similar mindset and a similar output from game-to-game. That was as a rookie, too, as Roy brought the same traits that he showcased in the AHL up to the NHL level.

As he’s grown, he’s kept that steadiness and built on it. This season, that building was his offensive breakout performance. Roy scored 10 goals this season between the regular season and the playoffs, tied for the most amongst all Kings blueliners. He did most of his damage at even strength, too, all the more reason to highlight his offensive growth.

“Not a lot of power-play time, if any, for Matt Roy and he has nine goals, so that’ll tell you about his impact offensive, in the rush and in the offensive zone,” McLellan said of Roy’s offensive play. “He’s got a tremendous shot and for me, he’s got a great sense of timing of when to jump in and when not to. There’s guys that are going all the time and it doesn’t pay off, it’s a waste of energy, and then there’s guys that never go. He’s found the sweet spot and he gets rewarded more often than not.”

Trending Up – Let’s start by building upon that offensive breakout. Roy played in all 82 games and scored nine goals during the regular season and added what was almost the biggest goal of the Kings season in the playoffs in Game 4. 10 goals from the blueline, over the course of 88 games, is impressive but as McLellan’s quote mentioned, doing it with zero power-play goals is even more so. Roy posted 0.35 even-strength goals per/60, nearly tripling his rates from the last two seasons. He also set career highs in individual scoring chances and high-danger chances per/60 and shot at a 6.2 percent clip, up from 1.4 percent a season ago.

Defensively, Roy ranked in the NHL’s Top-15 in blocked shots per/60, at a career high 5.7. The league leader was notorious shot blocker Alec Martinez, with players like Alex Pietrangelo, Moritz Seider and Charlie McAvoy among that group. Roy was also the Kings defenseman who most frequently started his shifts in the defensive zone among the six regular blueliner the Kings had this season. Roy also had the lowest expected goals against per/60 among Kings defensemen. Three stats out of context, but three stats that seem to jive with who Roy is as a player. Trusted defensively, starts shifts defensively and does good things while he’s there.

He also gelled almost immediately with deadline acquisition Vladislav Gavrikov, forming an effective pairing from nearly their first shift together. Through two periods of their first game together the stat line read 22 shot attempts for, compared to 3 against. While they didn’t operate quite at that level through the end of the season, as shared in Gavrikov’s review, the duo of Gavrikov and Matt Roy ranked third in HDCF% and fifth in SCF% among the 172 defensive pairings with at least 200 minutes played at 5-on-5. Between the regular season and postseason, the GavROYkov duo was on the ice for 18 goals for, compared to 6 goals against. Right off the hop, a solid go for those two players.

Trending Down – While Roy’s time with Gavrikov was quite dominant, his season as a whole paints a much higher-event picture than we’ve seen from him in past seasons. For the first time in his career, Roy’s on-ice chances for and chances against were both higher than team average. His goals against per/60 were also higher than team average for the first full season in his NHL career. There are a few reasons as to why that could be, but his on-ice save percentage and his PDO were significantly lower than past seasons. His numbers also improved as the season went along, as did those of the Kings. Didn’t walk away too frequently feeling like Matt Roy was at fault, so perhaps one of those situations when other factors were more the cause than the effect.

There’s also the penalty kill and while it’s a team-wide issue, the defensive pairing of Sean Durzi and Roy gave up goals at the fifth-highest rate of the 75 defensive duos with 50 or more minutes played together on the PK around the NHL. Roy and Durzi also had the highest goals against totals of any regular penalty killers on the Kings this season. These stats have to be considered within the grander picture of a team that struggled overall on the PK. However, it’s a stat that might come up somewhat frequently throughout these articles, as it was one of the largest team-wide struggles of the season for the Kings.

2023-24 Outlook– Roy has one season remaining on his contract, at a cap hit of $3,150,000. Similar to what is written here when talking about Sean Walker or Sean Durzi, Roy plays in the deepest part of the NHL-Ready group of players, but Roy’s style of play differs from just about everyone else at his position. Roy’s mindset is defense first and he brings steady, reliable play in the defensive zone, though that did not come at the expense of offense this season. His 10 goals between regular and postseason provided an effective, two-way game that fits in well behind Drew Doughty.

Roy’s contract takes him to unrestricted free agency at the end of the season, but since we’re looking at where things stand right now, Roy has cemented his place as the organization’s RD2.

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