With just 12 goals scored in their last six games, the Los Angeles Kings are looking for added offense.
Just not sure they’re looking in the right places.
Prior to tonight’s game against Vancouver, Kings head coach Terry Murray said that Trent Hunter will be back in the lineup for the first time in 11 days and that Colin Fraser will make his Kings debut after being out for six months. They’ll replace Kevin Westgarth and Brad Richardson, once again shaking up L.A.’s bottom two lines. Jarret Stoll will center Klye Clifford and Hunter while Ethan Moreau will center Trevor Lewis and Fraser.
“Quite simply, we’re looking to get some scoring going here, get some depth,” Murray explained to LA Kings Insider. “Hunter is a guy who, historically, has provided some scoring in the league. He’s got a heavy shot. He can give us second and third opportunities just by getting the puck on net with that heavy shot of his. We hope that we can recover some of those loose pucks and that good things will happen.’’
“Historically” is a good way of putting it with Hunter, because it happened a long time ago. After scoring 20-plus goals in two of his first three years, he’s spent the last few seasons injured (with decreasing goal totals.) Hunter’s scored just 25 times in his last 138 games.
As for Fraser — can’t imagine expectations are high. He’s scored 16 goals in 224 career games and is a bang-crash energy guy at best. That said, he couldn’t produce much less than the Kings’ other fourth-liners: Moreau, Lewis, Richardson, Westgarth and Hunter have combined for a measly four points this year, all of them assists.
The Kings are dangerously close to being the most top-heavy team in the NHL. Almost all the offense is coming from Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Dustin Brown and Simon Gagne — the blueline production has been minimal (Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty have just 11 points between them) and secondary scoring from the bottom-six forwards nonexistent.
Remember, this is a team that lost 75 points from last season in Wayne Simmonds (now with Philly), Michal Handzus (now in San Jose) and Alexei Ponikarovsky (now in Carolina). That production isn’t easily replaced — something the Kings are starting to figure out.