Tanner Jeannot’s mindset coming to LA is simple – “being the hardest guy on the ice to play against”

“My mindset every night is just to do everything I can to help the team and a lot of times that’s being the hardest guy on the ice to play against and having the other team not want to be on the ice against me. Just kind of being in their face, knowing that they’re going to get hit and trying to create space, turnovers and possession for my own team. That’s what I think that I can bring.”

That was Tanner Jeannot, speaking about what he feels he can bring to the LA Kings.

There’s been a clear theme to the moves the Kings are making this summer. The notion of getting uncomfortable, about upping the desire to win, about taking the necessary punishment to get to the right areas and about dolling that out to the other team, to make that more difficult the other way…….Jeannot believes he is that guy. A guy who can help push the Kings forward in those areas.

He wasn’t necessarily looking to leave Tampa Bay this summer but Jeannot understood his situation with the Lightning. A team that couldn’t afford to bring back their captain at the time of the trade, let alone add others. He knew that a trade might be a possibility but even when you know, it’s still shocking when it comes. Jeannot and his wife Keely recently welcomed their second child and you throw a trade on top of that and it still hits you when you formally get the news.

“It’s always a little bit of a shock when you find out you’re picking up and moving your life somewhere else, but we knew the cap situation that Tampa was in,” Jeannot detailed. “At the time, there were a couple big free agents that we knew they still had to sign, so we knew it was a possibility. I think the initial reaction is still shock but when I found out it was LA, I was really excited, really excited to be joining LA.”

There’s a reason why Jeannot was perhaps the NHL’s most sought-after player at the 2023 trade deadline.

It’s why the Tampa Bay Lightning originally gave up five draft picks and a prospect to acquire him. The Kings are not acquiring Jeannot with the same profile that Tampa Bay did. He was coming off a 24-goal season in 2022, along with all of those other traits, plus he was under team control.

The Kings spent substantially less draft capital for a player coming off a seven-goal season with the Lightning, though still with those other attributes, with hopes that Jeannot can chip in offensively probably somewhere in between those two numbers.

The Kings see Jeannot as a third-line player, a middle-six winger, though with how they’ll likely distribute minutes, if you see him on the “second line” it shouldn’t be alarming. There’s hope he meshes well with Trevor Moore and Phillip Danault on a line that should be mighty unpleasant to play against if it works as it should on paper. The Kings aren’t banking on 24 goals but they’re looking for more than seven from any player in that spot, Jeannot included.

Jeannot has played all across an NHL lineup throughout his career. He’s been a penalty killer as well and that is perhaps a role the Kings could look to use him in, but it’s his 5-on-5 play that was most of interest for Los Angeles. The Kings are looking for players who can bring and assert a certain style of play. Jeannot fit the bill and he’s someone the Kings have had their eye on now for a bit.

If he’s a top-nine player for the Kings, there’s obviously a hope to see some of that additional offense in the fold as well. In speaking with Rob Blake, he sees Jeannot somewhere in between his Nashville and Tampa Bay numbers.

To get there, though, Jeannot is not going to chase the numbers. Playing the right way and playing in the offensive end, in Jeannot’s eyes, should lead to offensive opportunities for he and his linemates.

“I think if I’m doing what I’m good at and I’m not trying to change my game then we have success and the offense comes,” he said. “It might not be in the flashiest way, but offense can come in many different ways and I think that there are a lot of players that I could play with on the Kings that could compliment from that as well. You’re trying to be hard to play against, playing in the other team’s end, wearing them down and the more you can do that, the more opportunities that are going to come.”

Doing the right things, for Jeannot, is what he’s always been concerned with. First and foremost, it’s being a tough……bleep to play against.

That’s what he’s trying to bring to the table every night.

“I feel like my style of game and what can separate me from a lot of players is my physicality,” Jeannot said. “I like to be really physical out there, hard on other teams’ defenseman, being really hard on the forecheck, getting to the net front and causing chaos in there. That’s a big part of my game and I think that’s part of the way that the Kings like to play and have played in the past. I think that’s going to be a really big thing that I can bring.”

The proof is in the pudding, too, as Jeannot’s 211 hits this past season would have led the Kings. That total came in just 55 games too. In 5-on-5 situations, Jeannot ranked fourth in the NHL in hits per/60. I don’t love the usage of that stat alone to justify physical play, because it’s a judgement call from off-ice officials. So, ultimately, we’ll see Jeannot’s brand of physicality when he joins the Kings in the fall.

It was almost eerie to hear him describe his own game, though, as if he was documenting what the Kings are in search of. He wants to hit. He wants to go hard to the net. He wants to go into the corners. He wants to make life difficult on the opposition. Whether the stat is accurate or not, the mindset is certainly pointed in that direction.

“Every game, I’m just going in and asking myself ‘how can I help my team in the in the best way’ and what am I the best at doing?” Jeannot said. “If that’s being in hard on the forecheck, playing the body, being physical, and then controlling the puck down low when I have it and just trying to make plays for my teammates.”

For Jeannot, success ultimately centers around that opening quote. Being the hardest player to play against on the ice. If mindset is put into practice, the Kings just got a good player to help drive them forward.

Photo by Mark LoMoglio/NHLI via Getty Images

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.