2024 Kings Seasons In Review – Jordan Spence

Jordan Spence is up next in the season in review series, as after completing his first full season at the NHL level.

Spence played games in 2021-22 and 2022-23, including postseason action in 2022, but wasn’t able to crack the lineup on a full-time basis in either season, spending the bulk of his time in the AHL. He played in 71 games this year, however, entering the lineup in October and retaining his place throughout the majority of the season. A look at his first go-around below.

Jordan Spence
LAK Statline –71 games played, 2 goals, 22 assists, +5 rating, 12 penalty minutes
LAK Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 0 goals, 1 assists, +2 rating, 0 penalty minutes
AHL Statline –1 game played, 0 goals, 0 assists, even rating, 2 penalty minutes
NHL Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 55.6% (+2.4%), SCF% – 55.2% (+2.8%), HDCF% – 52.3% (-1.7%)

Overall, Spence’s metrics show pretty much the exact player you’d expect them to show. More good than bad when he was on the ice, but a lot happened overall. Chances for at a higher rate than other Kings defensemen, chances against at a higher rate than other Kings defensemen. We saw Spence establish the baseline of an effective player who was a spark when it came to certain elements of creating chances. I think the eye test generally matched what the numbers tell us. Something to build on, certainly, going forward.

Trending Up – Not only did Jordan Spence rack up assists at a better per/60 rate than any other LA Kings defenseman at even strength, he actually did so at a higher rate than pretty much any player on the team. Spence posted 1.09 assists per/60 at 5-on-5 this season, the fifth best rate on the Kings among all skaters. Spence was the only defenseman in the Top 5 and he was actually the only defenseman in the Top 10. By primary assists only, Spence again led the way for the Kings on the backend. Around the NHL, of the 217 defensemen to play at least 500 minutes at 5-on-5 this season, only 15 had more assists per/60 than Spence did. Pretty impressive rates for a young defenseman playing his first full season at the NHL level.

To put it simply, a lot of good things happened when Spence was on the ice this season. The Kings controlled more than 55 percent of shot attempts with Spence on the ice, the best rate among Kings defensemen. The same can be said for the scoring chances category as well. Diving a bit deeper, the same can also be said for chances from the inner slot, which is an area that Kings management has preached as an area for overall team improvement. With Spence on this ice, those types of things are already happening, which is a great sign for a younger player the Kings want to see grow and develop. If you can look at an increasingly more dangerous list of chance types and see the name Jordan Spence at the top of all three, you’ve likely got a player who is positively impacting the game at the offensive end of the ice.

Trending Down – If the assists were trending up then it’s got to be the goals that were trending down. Spence came into the NHL lauded as a goalscoring threat from the backend, with strong reviews about his shot from those who watched him closest at the AHL level. Spence scored just twice this season, however, and none until mid-March when he scored his first of the year in Chicago. At 5-on-5, Spence’s shooting percentage was below two percent. Not that you expect defensemen to be super high in that area, but that was 190th out of the 217 defensemen to log 500+ minutes at 5-on-5. On a team that didn’t get a ton of goals from the blueline beyond Drew Doughty, Spence was probably the guy who was best suited to help in a supporting role. From a standpoint of goals scored, he wasn’t able to do that this season.

For all of the good above, Spence’s profile is that of a high-event player in terms of chances created. While the Kings seemed to do more good than bad with Spence on the ice, no Kings defensemen was on the ice for more goals against on a per/60 basis than Spence this season. He also ranked last of the team’s regular six defensemen in terms of high-danger chances against while on the ice at 5-on-5. Defensive growing pains are to be expected from a younger defenseman. Part of the gig. When looking at a player on the third pairing, though, who was generally given offensive-zone starts and lesser matchups, it’s an area the Kings will want to see improvement going forward. To develop into a top-four defenseman, Spence will continue to work on improving in that area of the ice.

2024-25 Outlook– Spence is a restricted free agent for the first time as a professional.

He’ll almost certainly be qualified by the Kings coming off his entry-level contract and his next deal is a very interesting one. Looking at other Kings defensemen who were in similar situations, you might profile him similarly perhaps to Sean Durzi when he was a restricted free agent, but Spence was not as productive offensively though more solid defensively. Probably the opposite profile to Mikey Anderson. Durzi and Anderson both landed between $1 million and $2 million on shorter-term contracts. Spence was used more regularly than Tobias Bjornfot was when the latter signed a two-year, one-way contract at the league minimum. An interesting contract to profile, but as things are looking right now, Spence appears to be fully in the plans of the team going forward. He’s proven that he can be an NHL regular this season and should he continue to take steps forward, the next thing for him to prove is that he can be an NHL regular in a larger, more expansive role in the lineup.

Rules for Blog Commenting

  • No profanity, slurs or other offensive language. Replacing letters with symbols does not turn expletives into non-expletives.
  • Personal attacks against other blog commenters, and/or blatant attempts to antagonize other comments, are not tolerated. Respectful disagreement is encouraged. Posts that continually express the same singular opinion will be deleted.
  • Comments that incite political, religious or similar debates will be deleted.
  • Please do not discuss, or post links to websites that illegally stream NHL games.
  • Posting under multiple user names is not allowed. Do not type in all caps. All violations are subject to comment deletion and/or banning of commenters, per the discretion of the blog administrator.

Repeated violations of the blog rules will result in site bans, commensurate with the nature and number of offenses.

Please flag any comments that violate the site rules for moderation. For immediate problems regarding problematic posts, please email zdooley@lakings.com.