Early 2013-14 Grades for Each Los Angeles Kings Line
The Los Angeles Kings got off to a rocky start but have since won five of their past seven games.
Darryl Sutter has moved a few players around in the lineup, Matt Frattin being one of them. He has played on three different lines and has also been scratched once. L.A. has had All-Star-caliber players underperform early in the 2013-14 NHL season, while some players at the bottom of the depth chart have overachieved.
With that said, here are the grades for each L.A. line 10 games into the regular season.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams
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Anze Kopitar's lack of goals wouldn't be as big of an issue if Justin Williams and Dustin Brown were lighting the lamp regularly five-on-five. However, they have combined for just three even-strength goals this season.
While they aren't expected to produce as much as say, the Ducks or Sharks' first lines, they do need to find the back of the net on a consistent basis. Playing more efficiently when they have possession of the puck, and perhaps stepping it up physically, may give them a boost offensively.
That said, for the most part, they have played well defensively against the opposition's top line(s) and are currently a combined plus-three. Kopitar's faceoff win percentage of 53.6 is also a positive takeaway.
Daniel Carcillo-Mike Richards-Jeff Carter
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For much of the preseason and start of the regular season, it was newcomer Matt Frattin at left wing with Mike Richards and Jeff Carter. Now another newcomer to L.A., Daniel Carcillo, has taken on the role.
For a second line, they have been average. But considering the skill level of Richards and Carter, the line can play a lot better.
Each player has a minus-one rating, and together they have been sloppy at times. Richards has not been the physical force we've come to know and has yet to score a goal, although he does have six assists.
As expected, Carter leads the team with five goals and is playing more than 19 minutes per game, second only to Anze Kopitar among LA forwards.
If Carcillo can prove to be much more than a fourth-line player and develop chemistry with Richards and Carter, the trio could be highly effective on the forecheck and in creating scoring chances. If not, any number of players could work their way onto the line, including Dwight King, who has experience playing with the pair this season.
Dwight King-Jarret Stoll-Trevor Lewis
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This line has failed to produce offensively, with just a single goal scored between the three of them. They also have a combined plus/minus rating of minus-five.
Along with Kopitar and Richards, Jarret Stoll is another L.A. center who has yet to score this season. He has just two assists and has won only 52 percent of his faceoffs, which is disappointing considering he won over 55 percent the past two seasons.
Trevor Lewis is one of only two L.A. forwards who has yet to register a point, the other being Colin Fraser, who has played just five games. Lewis needs to do a better job of getting pucks to the net, as does Stoll. The major positive that can be taken from Lewis' start to the season is his nine blocked shots, which leads all L.A. forwards.
Normally L.A.'s top shutdown unit, this line needs to be better with and without the puck, especially in the neutral zone. Stoll will likely stay at center for now, but Darryl Sutter may make changes on the wings in the coming games.
Matt Frattin-Kyle Clifford-Colin Fraser/Jordan Nolan
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There are certainly worse fourth lines in the NHL.
Matt Frattin, Kyle Clifford, Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan have managed to produce just as much offense as the third line. And, although they are a combined minus-six, that stat isn't as bad when you take away Frattin's team-worst minus-five rating.
That said, there is still work to be done. They've shown in the past they can be more effective defensively and do a better job of wearing down the opponent with their consistent, clean checks.
An interesting stat to note is that Kyle Clifford leads the team with 18 penalty minutes, while Jordan Nolan is the only L.A. player yet to be sent to the sin bin.