2024 Kings Seasons In Review – Andreas Englund

Happy Monday, Insiders!

A look here at the season of defenseman Andreas Englund. Englund signed with the Kings last summer as a free agent and stuck around at the NHL level for the entirety of the season, the first time he’s done so throughout his career. Englund was a throwback in a lot of ways, playing the game physically, aggressively and forcibly, though without a ton of offense to complement it. A player who I think carried a lot of different opinions at various points in the season, with a look into why below.

Andreas Englund
LAK Statline –82 games played, 1 goal, 9 assists, -3 rating, 81 penalty minutes
LAK Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, +1 rating, 9 penalty minutes
NHL Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 51.7% (-2.9%), SCF% – 52.7% (-0.9%), HDCF% – 49.2% (-5.5%)

Andreas Englund was a curious case this season.

Because I write these articles and control the formatting, I’m going to first break down Englund’s body of work into two buckets. The team’s disastrous, 17-game stretch between Christmas and the NHL All-Star Break and the other 65 games they played this season.

No player wore the team’s midseason slump worse than Englund did. The Kings lost 14 of 17 games played between the Christmas break and the All-Star break. Englund was on the ice for a team-worst 17 goals during that stretch at 5-on-5, despite playing the fewest minutes among Kings defensemen to play in all 17 games. 12 of those goals came in high-danger areas. His possession metrics weren’t out of whack in that time but you can pinpoint goals that he was responsible for. Those plays won’t be reflected in numbers. Among NHL defensemen during that stretch, Englund ranked third-to-last in terms of goals against per/60. As much as any King, Englund saw his play decline during that stretch of games.

Over the other 65 games, though, Englund was on the ice for 25 goals against in total at 5-on-5. He was on the ice for more goals for than against over those 65 games, right around a 52 percent share. From October through December, Englund was exactly the player who was advertised. He was actually a really good story for the Kings to solidify the team’s third defensive pairing, while providing a different element than others both on the team and those used in that role in the past.

Feels like a chicken or the egg situation. Was a downturn in team form responsible for a complementary player like Englund seeing his own play suffer? Or, did a slippage in his play help contribute to the team’s struggles as a whole? Possibly a bit of both. Englund’s usage was that of the team’s sixth defenseman. Even when players above him were out of the lineup, Englund remained on the third pairing, with third-pairing usage and matchups. He’s not a play driver but he’s also not asked to be. That stretch of 17 games wasn’t excusable, but it wasn’t for a lot of people. I think that Englund became a lightning rod for criticism from that run on and some of it was obviously warranted. For a player who played D6 minutes though, the blame placed on him probably outweighed what reality was. If the biggest “problem” is your least used defenseman you probably don’t have too many issues. The issues for the Kings were ultimately greater than that.

Trending Up – While I just spent a few paragraphs talking about the numbers, what the Kings feel Englund brings to the team is largely not measured by the numbers. Englund is a physical player, someone who is not just willing but eager to play the body and stand up for teammates. Someone who brings a presence that empowers others. A player who has only those qualities is no longer viable in today’s NHL but players who have those traits and can also play a regular shift are still quite valued within the hockey community.

Rather than pull an excerpt, sharing an extended answer from Jim Hiller on Englund’s impact from the second half of the season –

The imposing, physical element is great to say in practice but only useful if it’s actually showing up in his play. For his part, Englund led the Kings both in total body checks per/60 and specifically, body checks in the defensive zone. Englund also blocked shots at the best per/60 clip of his NHL career. If you’re not a player who contributes offense from the backend, or a puck mover who thrives in transitioning the play from offense to defense, you’ve got to contribute in other ways and you’ve got to do so in a simple manner.

Trending Down – All of the above is great, but physicality doesn’t equal defense. Among regular Kings skaters this season, Englund was on the ice for the most high-danger goals, the most shots on goal and the third-most high-danger chances against, all on a per/60 basis. Looking a bit further away from his net, Englund’s denial rate on zone entries was the lowest among Kings defensemen. Englund was a physical player and he wasn’t glaringly out of sorts with others in those categories. But, with starts that were generally slanted towards the offensive zone, he was on the ice for chances and goals against at a higher rate than most.

I also think it’s worth mentioning that Englund did not factor into special teams, on a unit that relied pretty heavily on its top four this season. Up front, fourth-line players like Blake Lizotte and Trevor Lewis were leaders on the penalty kill. Englund’s partner, Spence, was on the second power-play unit. Englund was never expected to be a power-play guy, but he also did not emerge as a regular on the penalty kill to help spell the minutes of either Mikey Anderson or Vladislav Gavrikov higher in the lineup.

2024-25 Outlook– Englund has one season remaining on the two-year, $1 million contract he signed on July 1, 2023. Englund played the full 82-game slate with the Kings this past season, his first full season at the NHL level. The two-year contract he signed was always with the NHL in mind, although his deal is structured so that he could be assigned to the AHL without a cap penalty, should that decision be made.

Consider Englund a good bet to make next season’s team, though perhaps not a lock. It’s just a little bit too early to know exactly how the full picture shapes up for the Kings heading into next season, considering free agency and trades. More likely than not, Englund should be with the team next season either as the team’s LD3 or as a change-of-pace option as the seventh defenseman, though as always, there are camp battles to be contested. He’ll have to re-cement his spot come September and October, though he’ll certainly have a leg up in doing so with the experience he gained this season.

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.