With “speed and work ethic”, Warren Foegele is excited to join his “least favorite team to play against” in LA

Warren Foegele made it pretty clear why he decided to join the LA Kings.

He’s certainly familiar enough to know the team he’s joining, with the amount of times he’s played against the Kings as a member of the Edmonton Oilers over the last three seasons. Foegele a part of three consecutive series victories over the Kings with the Oilers.

“One thing that really stuck out to me is that I wanted to go to a competitive team,” Foegele said. “I can tell you one thing, probably the least favorite team to play against for myself throughout the years is the LA Kings, just because of how hard everyone on that team works. They have a great work ethic, a lot of skilled guys and just seeing an environment that’s heading in the right direction, honestly, I just wanted to join that and see if I could help them go further in the in the playoffs.”

The Kings set out to add players who play the game a certain way. Foegele plays the game with speed, he plays direct hockey and he’s shown a willingness to drive the puck to the net when it’s on his stick. It’s not the flashiest style of play offensively, but it’s translated into offensive production. When asked to talk about what he brings, Foegele pointed to two words, first and foremost.

Speed and work ethic.

The two traits in his own game that Foegele takes the most pride in.

“I would say my game is a two-way, fast, physical forward,” he said. “The two things that I rely on the most for my game is my speed and my work ethic. I like to be tenacious and create turnovers for my linemates, close space on opposing teams so they’re forcing turnovers. That would be what LA Kings fans can probably expect, is a hard-working, two-way forward who has some speed.”

Foegele has certainly brought those things throughout his career in the NHL.

First in Carolina and then in Edmonton, Foegele has established himself as a hardworking, two-way forward in the league. He’s always been a double-digit goals guy, but upped his production this season in Edmonton, burying 20 goals and exceeding 40 points, almost all of which came at even strength.

In Edmonton, time on the top power-play unit was limited. Happens when you have guys like McDavid and Draisaitl taking up the full two minutes on most opportunities. As we know all too well, that’s rightfully so. It can be difficult to standout on those teams and difficult to feel comfortable playing his game. This season, especially once Kris Knoblauch took over, Foegele established his confidence offensively and began to thrive.

“I think it has to do with confidence,” Foegele said of his uptick in production. “I think throughout my whole career, I’ve been a 5-on-5 producer and I was fortunate enough to get more opportunities on the ice this year under Kris Knoblauch. I think that, honestly, is the biggest factor for me, just a little bit more ice time to produce and that’s kind of also I chose LA. It’s such a good group of players and I can say I have a good opportunity to play my game here.”

Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Foegele’s game and approach should mesh well with the way the Kings play. There’s hope it can even grow with more of a consistent opportunity.

With the Kings, Foegele is joining a team with several high-end players, though there is not a McDavid or a Draisaitl-level star up front. The Kings are a team that, when playing as they are assembled to, should have three lines up front that do damage. Whether it’s the first line or the fourth line, Foegele said that he is comfortable playing anywhere and everywhere, as he did in Edmonton. Left side or right side, first line or fourth line, he has proven he can succeed in both roles.

“I think at the end of the day, you try to play your game,” he said. “I think I’ve learned, especially this year, but through the years, if you change your game too much, you’re getting away from your own identity. So it kind of goes back to what I said, when I’m moving my feet, using my speed, being tenacious and working hard, usually good things [happen] because it opens up room for my linemates. I would say being able to flexible and play anywhere is definitely a strength of mine.”

Foegele produced when playing with top-end players but he also impacted games when playing in other areas. In both scenarios, he was valuable. With the Kings, Foegele’s role should be a bit larger, perhaps including some time on special teams.

While nothing is set in stone – Foegele admitted he hasn’t gone into line combinations with the staff in LA just yet – it looks as if we could see Foegele tried on a line with Quinton Byfield and Kevin Fiala. Foegele and Byfield work together in the summers and know each other from there. Foegele was extremely high on Byfield’s potential and is excited to potentially play with him this season, if that’s what the situation calls for.

“I know Quinton Byfield, I’ve trained with him for the last three years, he’s been at our gym, he’s a great kid and he’s got a high ceiling,” Foegele said. “He’s super-fast, super-skilled and it would be pretty cool to get the opportunity to play with him or whoever, to be honest, but I’m just super excited.”

As Rob Blake described yesterday, he sees the same attributes in Foegele that Foegele used to describe himself. A good skater with good size, who can play both wings and in a variety of different places in the lineup. All traits that the Kings coveted in free agency.

He also brings the experience of a run to the Stanley Cup Final just this past season, falling just a goal short in Game 1. Along with Joel Edmundson and Darcy Kuemper, the Kings have now added three players this summer who have made it through four rounds of playoff hockey within the last four years, all on different teams. With that comes experience and a knowledge of what it takes to get over the hump.

The Kings have players who have gotten there before, though this team as it is constructed has not gotten over that hump in Round 1. Making the playoffs is one thing but finding success is another.

For Foegele, he’s hopeful to be part of the difference in helping this group do that. He was on the winning side of all three playoff series against the Kings but admitted that LA could have won at least one, if not two, of the series the teams played in. It’s that fine of a margin. He’s got the experience now from the other side that he’s hopeful to bring to the Kings, along with others the team has acquired this summer.

Combine that with the experience he’s acquired throughout his career, including what he learned from a player and leader who is no stranger to LA Kings fans – Justin Williams.

Williams was the established veteran in Carolina when Foegele broke into the NHL and the two were teammates with the Hurricanes.

“I learned a lot from Willy, I was so young when I first got into the league, trying to understand it and he’s such a great leader, a great player and he’s a gamer, he’s all about ‘don’t be scared of the moment, let’s take the moment and make plays,’” Foegele recalled. “There’s a reason why they call him Mr. Game 7, he shows up when things are on the line and he’s just a great leader and a great person. I’m super fortunate that I got to play with him and just looking back, when you’re so young, you don’t really understand all of what they’re saying, a little bit naïve. I can tell you one thing, through the years, I’m definitely fortunate for some of the guys that I’ve played with that passed on that experience.”

Ultimately, what Foegele has learned and experienced has led him to Los Angeles.

And man is he excited to be here.

“Coming here, most of those guys probably do not like playing against me on the ice and then I can say the same thing, so it’s kind of cool now that I’ll be battling with them, and I can’t wait for that,” he added. “I’m hoping I can help us get over that next step. Being on Edmonton, the saying I’ve been saying to a couple my friends is keep your friends close and your enemies closer, so I’m just really excited with this group, and I am really, really looking forward to it.”

Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

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