The Los Angeles Kings are down 1-0 in their first-round series to the Vegas Golden Knights and things have only gotten more difficult ahead of Game 2 on Friday night.
The Kings will be without Drew Doughty, because he was suspended for an illegal check to the head of Golden Knights forward William Carrier. As you’d imagine, not having Doughty is a major problem for them. On top of that suspension, they may not have Jake Muzzin (upper body) and Derek Forbort (lower body) at their disposal. Muzzin missed Game 1 and the final five games of the regular season, while Forbort missed the last two games of the season and Game 1, too.
Let’s start with Doughty, who is the most important blue liner of the three. The 28-year-old played in all 82 games during the regular season. He averaged almost 27 minutes of ice time over those games and while his team got 50.01 percent of the shot attempts overall, they got 52.76 percent of them when Doughty was on the ice. There aren’t too many defenseman better than him, so the fact that the Kings won’t be able to rely on him for one playoff game is a major disadvantage.
[NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub]
Muzzin, who averaged 21:39 during the season, also racked up an impressive eight goals and 42 points in 2017-18. With Muzzin on the ice, the Kings actually controlled slightly more of the shot attempts (52.93 percent) than when Doughty was on the ice. The 29-year-old hasn’t been ruled out for Game 2 yet, but he still hasn’t been able to take contact during practice.
Forbort isn’t as big of a name as the other two, but he still logged a significant amount of ice (averaged 20:47 throughout the regular season). He isn’t as gifted offensively as Doughty and Muzzin, but he still managed to post a Corsi For% number higher than 50 percent (50.33). Forbort played over 829 minutes with Drew Doughty, which means the Kings will be missing their top pairing in Game 2 and arguably their second-best defenseman in Muzzin.
As the old saying goes, “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” But heading back to Los Angeles down 0-2 is less than an ideal spot to be in when you’re playing an expansion team that is faster and deeper than you up front.
Joey Alfieri is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @joeyalfieri.
LA Kings VP of hockey ops Mike Futa, considered to be in the mix for Toronto’s vacant GM gig, isn’t going anywhere — at least according to GM Dean Lombardi.
“Mike Futa is still a Los Angeles King and will remain a Los Angeles King,” Lombardi said, per LA Kings Insider. “You don’t think the guy could jump ship now, right?”
Lombardi’s comment came while Futa prepped and continued scouting for the NHL Entry Draft, which will go later this month. Scouting is how Futa established such a strong reputation across the league — in his eight seasons with the Kings, he headed up a department responsible for drafting the likes of Drew Doughty, Kyle Clifford, Alec Martinez, Slava Voynov, Dwight King, Jordan Nolan, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson. (Jake Muzzin, an undrafted free agent, also came aboard under Futa’s watch.)
As mentioned above, Futa’s been tied primarily to the vacant GM gig in Toronto. But according to TSN, teams have tried in the past to lure him out of Los Angeles — Buffalo and Calgary during their GM searches — and the Kings responded with a promotion, new contract and stipulations about what jobs he could seek out.
Which probably explains why Lombardi was so adamant Futa wasn’t going anywhere.
“There’s a big challenge ahead of us,” he explained. “I don’t think [Futa’s] had time to think about it. He’s been going a hundred miles an hour.”
Tampa Bay prospect Anthony DeAngelo has joined a list that includes some of the top blue-liners in the history of the game.
DeAngelo has been awarded the Max Kaminsky Trophy, given to the OHL’s best defenseman, after racking up 89 points in 55 games for Sarnia and Sault Ste. Marie.
Past winners of the Max Kaminsky Trophy include Denis Potvin, Larry Murphy, Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger, and Drew Doughty. More recently, it’s been awarded to Jake Muzzin, Ryan Ellis, Dougie Hamilton, and Aaron Ekblad.
DeAngelo was drafted 19th overall last summer, an honor that came not long after being suspended eight games for making “a most inappropriate statement to a teammate.”
“I made a mistake in what I did and know I was wrong for the comment I made,” DeAngelo told NHL.com. “I was deserving of disciplinary actions.”
DeAngelo’s 89 points were 18 more than the second most by a d-man (Owen Sound’s Chris Bigras, Colorado Avalanche).
Related: In DeAngelo, Bolts say they got draft’s top offensive d-man
Canada won’t be lacking for offensive weapons at this year’s World Hockey Championships.
Two of the league’s top-12 scorers — Dallas’ Tyler Seguin and Philly’s Claude Giroux — will wear the red and white in Prague from May 1-17, Hockey Canada announced on Tuesday. Seguin and Giroux were part of the original 19-man roster set for the tournament; Canada can register up to 25 players as teams are eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The rest of the Canadian roster looks like this…
Goalies: Martin Jones, Mike Smith
Defense: Tyson Barrie, Brent Burns, Aaron Ekblad, Jake Muzzin, David Savard
Forwards: Seguin, Giroux, Matt Duchene, Cody Eakin, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Ennis, Taylor Hall, Nathan MacKinnon, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Ryan O’Reilly, Jason Spezza, Tyler Toffoli.
Team Canada will be coached by Todd McLellan.
L.A. Kings Jonathan Quick was not at all happy with the Anaheim Ducks second goal, which gave the hosts a 2-1 lead in the third period of Wednesday’s battle between the two California rivals.
Jakob Silfverberg scored the goal. Ducks forward Nate Thompson was going hard to the net in a battle with Jake Muzzin, and with Thompson’s left leg in the crease, Quick appeared to get blocked out from moving to his left for just a split second, which allowed Silfverberg plenty of room to find the net.
Quick was furious. He shot the puck down the ice and pushed the net even closer toward the end boards.