2024 Kings Seasons In Review – Alex Laferriere

Moving along with the youngest member – experience wise – on the LA Kings this season in forward Alex Laferriere.

Of those to be NHL regulars, Laferriere was the longest shot to make the Kings this season. He was not projected to make the team out of camp and this was a group that felt pretty set back in September. Then Viktor Arvidsson got injured and Laferriere was the strongest to stake his claim to fill the spot. He never looked back, skating in 81 regular-season games as well as all five during the postseason. A look at his rookie campaign below.

Alex Laferriere
LAK Statline –81 games played, 12 goals, 11 assists, -14 rating, 46 penalty minutes
LAK Playoff Statline – 5 games played, 1 goal, 1 assist, 0 rating, 0 penalty minutes
NHL Possession Metrics (Relative To Kings) – CF% – 50.4% (-4.7%), SCF% – 51.7% (-2.2%), HDCF% – 49.4% (-5.5%)

Trending Up – I’m going to use the word maturity here to describe Laferriere’s first season in the NHL.

He didn’t travel with the team to Australia. He skated in the games reserved for younger players while the veterans were away and he excelled. He forced his way into the main group and played well enough to take advantage of the unfortunately timed injury to Arvidsson. He wound up playing in 81 games, missing just one in a “reset” moment, earning praise from both of his head coaches and several teammates along the way. It’s easy to drop the phrase “he just looks a pro” into the world but he simply looked the part of a professional, day in and day out, despite his experience level. By just doing what he did, he deserves praise.

Laferriere’s totals at a glance aren’t all that impressive, but his overall totals fared decently well among first-year players. Just eight rookies played in 80 or more games and Laferriere was one of them. He was tied for ninth in the league in both goals (13) and even-strength goals (12) among first-year players. His 147 shots on goal were tied for the sixth most among rookies, while he was a top-five rookie around the NHL in individual scoring chances (third) and high-danger chances (fifth) in 5-on-5 situations per Natural Stat Trick. In reality, he ranked higher, as players like Dallas’ Wyatt Johnston and Buffalo’s JJ Peterka were included in those totals, though they are no longer rookies. Compared to his peers, Laferriere had a strong season in terms of creating offense. The numbers suggested more offense was generated than was reflected in his 12 even-strength goals. A strong building block to move forward with.

Trending Down – Compared to other rookies around the league, Laferriere had some favorable comparisons. Among Kings regulars, however, his numbers ranked towards the bottom of the charts. Among regular forwards, Laferriere’s CF% and HDCF% were the lowest on the Kings, while he ranked third from the bottom in terms of SCF%. The numbers don’t always tell the story, but with 33 on-ice goals for compared to 45 against, Laferriere’s goal share was 42.3 percent, lowest among Kings regulars. There are growing pains to be expected for any first-year player and Laferriere had the lowest PDO among Kings’ regulars, a measurement of “luck” if you buy it. Some of that is natural improvement, others perhaps a bit of misfortune.

There are likely two camps as it pertains to Alex Laferriere. If you look at Laferriere’s season from the perspective of a rookie forward who overachieved by making the team and overachieved by cracking the top nine on a regular basis, you’re likely excited about the season he had and about his upside moving forward. If you look at his season as that of a middle-six winger, compared to the production you’d like to get from that spot, you might be disappointed, even if still bullish on his upside. Bottom line is, both can be true. He had a great season measured by preseason expectations but fell short of what the Kings would ideally like from a third-line forward. He was not a regular on special teams and you want played lower in the lineup to contribute on the PP or PK to help manage minutes. This season again next year wouldn’t be enough and wouldn’t be considered successful. Need to see the step forward that he is more than capable of.

2024-25 Outlook– Laferriere has one season remaining on his entry-level contract, which will make him a restricted free agent at the end of next season.

The Kings are counting on Laferriere to lock down a spot in their top nine next season. They also need a step forward, or two, in terms of his overall level of play. Laferriere did a great job in a limited role in 2023-24 and for the Kings to get to where they want to get to, Laferriere is a player with upside who needs to grow and develop as he is certainly capable of. Lots of different pieces of his game are extremely exciting for the organization and he’s got an opportunity to take that step. One of many players who the Kings will need to do that in order for the organization to strive forward.

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