ATKM Extended Interview w/ Head Coach Jim Hiller + Jacob Ingham NHL Contract

A couple quick ones today, Insiders!

First things first, sharing our extended sitdown conversation with Head Coach Jim Hiller!

Very exciting interview for myself and Jesse Cohen, as Jim was gracious enough to spend more than a half hour with us in studio touching on a variety of different topics. Since taking over as the head coach of the club last month, Hiller has led the Kings to a record of 8-4-1, which has seen the mindset of the group get back on track with where it was in the early stages of the season, when the Kings were thought as being closer to the contender status than that of a playoff hopeful. With the ship righted, points accrued and more stable footing, the group feels it is in a good place as it hits the stretch run.

A few excerpts from Hiller below and the full episode embedded above, edited for clarity –

On if he’s previously thought about each of the in-game line adjustments he’s made
Definitely. We talk about that as a coaching staff too, but it’s something that you’re out for dinner with the coaches and you’re thinking about hockey and you’re talking about hockey, it’s the dead times, it’s the non-pressure times, but you’re still thinking how can we get better, what would this look like, does this player complement this player, enough, can we get more out of it if we put these three together, can we get more out of all three, is the sum of the parts greater than the whole if we can do it this way or by doing that, do we take away here? Maybe we overthink it in those moments, but yes, to answer your question directly, we do. There’s some times where, in a game, certain players have more energy, they’re feeling better, so maybe that’s when you make that switch, maybe it just calls for it in a certain moment of the game. Somebody else doesn’t have as much energy, as much legs, maybe we need somebody else with that player……I think it’s an important part of the coaching process.

On Being Part of a group that’s won together
Everybody wants to win, it’s so difficult to win and when you can get it done, and you can be part of a team that got it done, it’s just the feeling that’s hard to describe. You just got it done and so many others were trying, so many other good players, good people, good, everything committed and everybody’s going after the same thing. So, when you get it done, you know it holds a special place.

On his sense of where the team is at, just over 10 games into his tenure
I think we feel pretty good. I think we feel like we’ve gotten closer to our identity, which I talked about, which was our goal out of the gate, when we got off our break. I think we’ve gotten a lot closer to it. I don’t think we’re there yet, but we’re feeling better about that. Once you do that, we know that when we play that style of game, we’re going to have success on most nights. So, to get feeling closer than that, I feel like now we feel like, okay, we trust each other again, let’s go in tomorrow night, we can beat anybody. It doesn’t mean we’re going to get the result, but we feel good about our game and we know that if we play it together, we can beat anybody.

Again, a big thank you to Jim for his time on Monday, as the team approaches a busy and intensive point in the season. Excited to have a couple other team guests lined up here over the next couple of weeks and excited to share them once the conversations are complete!

Team off day today, so no practice report to follow. Team plays Ottawa tomorrow and will practice on Friday, so full coverage to resume then with both days. We’ve obviously seen the waiver news today, but nothing to report until tomorrow, and we’ll expect an update around tomorrow’s morning skate. Working on a couple of more feature-specific stories that will hopefully work their way onto the site later in the week. One piece of news to add today though……

The Kings have signed goaltender Jacob Ingham to a one-year, two-way NHL contract, running through the end of the 2023-24 season. Ingham has been assigned to the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits, where he’s played the bulk of this season to date.

Ingham has skated in six games this season with the AHL’s Ontario Reign and 24 games with the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits, after signing an AHL contract with Ontario this past offseason. Ingham has a record of 3-2-0 with the Reign this season, posting a .917 save percentage and a 2.71 goals-against average. With Greenville, Ingham has a mark of 15-6-1, with a .916 save percentage and a 2.65 goals-against average.

Instant Analysis –
First and foremost, good story here.

Ingham was a sixth-round draft pick of the Kings back in 2018. Coming out of a strong season in the OHL, Ingham struggled to establish his footing at the professional level upon signing his entry-level contract with the Kings. Whether that be due to internal competition occupying certain spots at the AHL level or an injury that cost him the entirety of the 2022-23 season, Ingham played a total of six AHL games with Ontario and 29 ECHL games with Greenville from 2020 through 2022 before a long-term injury put his time with the Kings on hold, missing all of last season.

Now healthy, he began his return to professional play in rookie camp, with a strong performance in Vegas, and played well in a preseason appearance in Anaheim. Ingham has continued that strong form into the regular season in the minor leagues, filling in admirably with the AHL club when David Rittich was recalled to the NHL to replace an injured Pheonix Copley. Since the Reign added Aaron Dell, who was signed to an NHL contract on Monday, Ingham was re-assigned to Greenville and has delivered at a high level, winning the ECHL Goaltender of the Week award for the week of February 19 – 25.

This contract retains Ingham’s NHL rights for LA, making him a restricted free agent here this summer. Presently, no goaltender throughout the organization is signed to an NHL contract for next season, with each of the other four netminders a free agent, either unrestricted or restricted, this summer. Ingham is still just 23 years old, which especially for a goaltender is quite young in his career and this season is really his first full professional season that he’s gotten extended game action. He’s got that ideal goaltender’s build and he’s got potential. Good deal all around.

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