Brayden McNabb has been a key for the Kings


A healthy scratch in the Kings’ first game of the season, Brayden McNabb is now logging over 20 minutes a night on a top pairing with Drew Doughty.

We only point out that out because McNabb’s ability to handle such a dramatic increase in workload — from an average of 15:54 last season to 21:35 this season — has helped the Kings win seven in a row heading into tonight’s meeting with the Blackhawks in Chicago.

“I absolutely love playing with Nabber,” Doughty told L.A. Kings Insider a couple of weeks ago. “I think he’s a hell of a player, and he’s just getting better and better every game, and I also think I can help him a lot.”

Coach Darryl Sutter has similarly been impressed with the 24-year-old. And that’s no easy task, impressing Sutter.

“It’s the toughest position to learn at this level,” Sutter told the Daily News. “Goalies don’t come in until they’re really ready. It’s a little bit of a baptism by fire for (defensemen).”

Even after the Kings signed Christian Ehrhoff, the consensus was that somebody would have to step up to help fill the void left by Slava Voynov.

McNabb has done his part. At even strength, he’s only been on the ice for three goals against. And while he may not put up the offensive numbers that Voynov did, if he can eat up even-strength minutes and kill penalties, that leaves Ehrhoff, 33, fresher for the power play.