Kings News & Rumors: Doughty, Lemieux Suspension & More

In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, I discuss Drew Doughty’s return to the lineup, the implications of Brendan Lemieux’s suspension, and Alexander Edler’s milestone goal.

Doughty Returns From Injury

In late October, Doughty suffered a knee injury after a collision with Jani Hakanpaa of the Dallas Stars. Earlier this week, Doughty returned to the Kings’ lineup for a game against the Anaheim Ducks. He played alongside his usual partner — Mikey Anderson — and after coming back in the third period, L.A. was able to get a point out of the shootout loss.

Drew Doughty Los Angeles Kings
Drew Doughty, Los Angeles Kings (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Doughty wasted no time getting back into the game. He recorded a whopping 27:55 time on ice (TOI) and contributed one assist. He was also the only player on the Kings to block two shots. However, his advanced stats were far from impressive; he showed a 50 Corsi for percentage (CF%) — LA possessed the puck no more than the Ducks with him on the ice — and a 25.32 expected goals for percentage (xGF%), indicating that the Kings were expected to be heavily outscored with him on the ice. This was for only one game, though, so he will look to continue to get back into the swing of things moving forward.

Lemieux Suspension Implications

On Nov. 30, the NHL suspended Lemieux for five games for biting Brady Tkachuk of the Ottawa Senators. He is suspended without pay, meaning he will miss out on $38,750 of his salary. The incident occurred during the third period, and he was given a match penalty.

Brendan Lemieux Los Angeles Kings
Brendan Lemieux, Los Angeles Kings (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)

After the game, Tkachuk and several members of the Kings commented on the event. Tkachuk made his displeasure clear: “It’s outrageous…Kids don’t even do that anymore. Babies do that. I don’t even know what he was thinking. He’s just a complete brick head. He’s got nothing up there. Bad guy, bad player, but what a joke he is.”

Following Tkachuk’s comments, Kings players and head coach Todd McLellan came to Lemieux’s defense. Jonathan Quick gave the following comment: “I have my own opinion about what happened, or did not happen last night, and what I can tell you is that any comments that were made about Pep were garbage…He’s a valuable player who sticks up for his teammates. We all support him and I’d rather have him on my team over that kid any day of the week.”

Alex Iafallo added to the support: “He’s a good teammate, he’s talkative, very talkative and he’s hard to play against…That’s why we respect him, he’s good in the room and it’s tough when it happens with that whole situation. He brings a toughness to our team and he’s a great team guy.”]

Related: Kings’ Lemieux Reaching New Heights This Season

McLellan also showed his appreciation for Lemieux: “I spoke to Brendan, we talked about him taking care of his teammates and how much we appreciate it…He’s got a team full of supporters today that are happy he’s a part of the group and he does his job and he does it very well.”

It is unfortunate that Lemieux’s season has been put on pause given how good of a campaign he has had thus far. He has scored four goals and one assist through 14 games, but his advanced stats best show how well he has played. He has put up a 59.07 CF% — best on the Kings — and a 53.76 xGF% — sixth on the team, fourth for those playing more than eight games.

Lemieux has also recorded a 3.2 goals for per 60 rate (GF/60) — second on the Kings — and a 1.2 goals against per 60 rate (GA/60) — third on the team, second for those playing more than eight games. His regularized adjusted plus/minus chart also shows how good he has been on both sides of the puck.

Brendan Lemieux
Brendan Lemieux 2021-22 regularized adjusted plus/minus (RAPM) chart (Evolving-Hockey)

What’s most impressive about Lemieux’s play so far this season, though, is his overall contribution to the Kings. Wins above replacement tracks the contribution of a player over that of a replacement-level player. His wins above replacement per 60 rate (WAR/60) so far this season is 0.189 — first on the team. LA will hope that he can return from his suspension and pick up right where he left off.

Edler Scores 100th Career Goal

Thursday night in Los Angeles, Edler scored his first goal since Feb. 25, 2020. This was a milestone goal for him, as it brought him to 100 over the course of his career.

The veteran defenseman has also recorded nine assists for the Kings this season and is a plus-7. Throughout his career, he has provided leadership on and off the ice, and he has continued to do so this season for LA.

Advanced Stats per Evolving-Hockey

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