In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News and Rumors, I will be discussing goalie coach Bill Ranford’s and head coach Todd McLellan’s comments about the team’s goaltending situation. I will also be discussing the small line changes heading into the team’s road trip, and the recent success of the team’s prospects.
Kings’ Net is Still Quick’s
In a recent article, The Athletic’s Lisa Dillman discussed the King’s current goaltending situation with Ranford and McLellan. Many people expected this to be the season that Cal Petersen took the net from Jonathan Quick, but at this point, it’s still Quick’s net. He’s played one more game than Petersen so far and is set to start the opening game of the team’s road trip against the Toronto Maple Leafs. When Dillman asked Ranford about Petersen taking the net from Quick, he responded,
“We haven’t got there quite yet, at some poin, we’re going to have to get there. The one thing that I think, as an organizaton, as a staff, and myself personally, we’ve always said everybody’s looking at Cal as the next guy or somebody like Cal as the next guy. But until somebody knocks Quickie off that throne, it’s still his job there.”From (Kings still waiting to see whether Cal Petersen will knock Jonathan Quick ‘off that throne’ as No. 1 goalie) Lisa Dillman, The Athletic
Ranford still sees Quick as the number one goalie, and it appears coach McLellan feels the same way, he stated,
“The natural progression of where we are as an organization — age and contract — is you want Cal Petersen to take over and away you go, but Quickie’s not giving that back. And that’s the healthiest type of competition we can have amongst both of them. It’s good for the team. It’s good for Cal. It’s good for Jonathan.”From (Kings still waiting to see whether Cal Petersen will knock Jonathan Quick ‘off that throne’ as No. 1 goalie) Lisa Dillman, The Athletic
After signing a 3-year, $15 million extension this past summer, the expectation was clearly on Petersen to become the number one goalie. Quick still seems to be, at the very least, the 1A goalie in this tandem, and for good reason. He’s posted better numbers through the early part of this season. Of course, the season is still young and Petersen has plenty of time to bounce back and claim the net. But Quick isn’t going to make it easy on him.
Both goalies have been scored on 15 times, with Quick playing one more game, he has more goals saved above expected, with 1.6, and a better save percentage. The only stat Petersen has on Quick right now is rebound control, with Petersen letting out far fewer rebounds per save. Both goalies have suffered from the team’s offensive struggles, but right now, Quick is giving the team a better chance at winning games.
Line Changes in Arvidsson’s Absence
Something I talked about after last Friday’s game against the New Jersey Devils, was the Kings’ struggles to find a replacement for Viktor Arvidsson on the top line. Lias Andersson looked good in that spot during the short time he had there, but an injury has taken him out of contention. Arthur Kaliyev was given two chances in that spot, but failed to impress both times, never making it through a full game with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown. But the team might have found the perfect fit with Adrian Kempe. Halfway through last Friday’s game against the Devils, Kempe was moved up to this line, with some real success. He grabbed the game’s first goal and was a positive impact 5v5 for the rest of the game, despite his costly turnover for the Devils’ first goal. It appears he will be given a chance on this line again during the team’s Canadian road trip, as coach McLellan looks to get that first line firing in Arvidsson’s absence.
This also means change for the team’s second line. The Alex Iafallo-Phillip Danault-Kempe line has been stellar so far, but they’re being split up for the time being, in an effort to improve the first line. Andreas Athanasiou was moved onto this line during the Devils game, and it appears he will retain his spot on that line. Athanasiou has just returned from injury and did enough to stay on this line.
There is a possible fit for him on this line too, they will miss Kempe’s ability to dominate possession, but Athanasiou is a more prolific shooter than Kempe. One of the criticisms against this line has been the lack of a natural goal scorer, and he is exactly that, certainly more so than Kempe. He also adds blazing speed to this line, Kempe is fast in his own right, but Athanasiou adds another gear to this line. Danault and Iafallo can also help make up for his defensive shortcomings, adding to the idea that this combination is a good fit.
Kings Prospects Continue to Impress
Headlining the weekend for Kings’ prospects was Harvard University forward Alex Laferriere. The third-round pick had an outstanding game, burying four goals in Harvard’s 5-1 victory over Colgate. A natural goal scorer coming out of the United States Hockey League (USHL), he is adapting well to the college game, with six points in four games now. An under-the-radar prospect for the Kings right now, he’s one to keep an eye on, as he continues to score goals at every level he plays in.
Martin Chromiak put together another impressive performance, with four assists against the Peterborough Petes on Sunday. This gives him 18 points in 11 games, he’s now leading the team in points, even more, impressive considering he’s on a team with consensus first overall pick Shane Wright. Chromiak was very impressive over the summer, earning himself a contract with the Kings, and he’s continuing to play great hockey into his junior season. He’s looking like a steal in the fifth round for the Kings.
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.