Before the start of the season, the Kings acquired Milan Lucic via trade and signed free agents Jhonas Enroth and Christian Ehrhoff. The three newest players introduced to the Kings’ team have provided stability to a roster that had holes to fill over the summer.
With an overtime win against Chicago last night, the Kings have 29 points and a 14-8-1 record. Lucic, Enroth and Ehrhoff have all contributed in their own ways in helping the Kings remain atop the Pacific Division with a one-point lead over the San Jose Sharks and two points ahead of the Arizona Coyotes.
Lucic came to the Kings on draft day and would give the Kings’ top-six a new look heading into the 2015-16 season. Lucic started the season lined-up alongside Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, but was quickly moved on a line with Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli.
The move has proven to work well for the 6-foot-3-inch power forward as Lucic has totaled 7 goals and 14 points in 23 games played and had an assist on Carter’s goal in the third period of the game against Chicago. The line has produced 28 of the team’s 58 total goals and Lucic has a point in his last four games and is third in team scoring.
Ehrhoff was a late offseason free-agent signing as the Kings were still looking to fill the voids left by Robyn Regehr’s retirement, Andrej Sekera’s decision to sign with the Edmonton Oilers and Slava Voynov’s (then) dubious legal and immigration status.
Ehrhoff has been in-and-out of the lineup as a healthy scratch. In the 19 games Ehrhoff has played, he has contributed six points and a minus-6 rating while averaging 13.17 minutes of ice-time at even strength 5v5 according to war-on-ice.com.
Ehrhoff has averaged over two minutes of ice-time on the power play in 18 of the 19 games he has played with five of his six assists coming on the power play and has a plus-11 on-ice shot differential at 5v5 even strength driving the play more often than defending it. Ehrhoff had an assist in the game against Chicago and 18 minutes and 33 seconds of ice time.
With the departure of Martin Jones at the draft in the deal that brought Lucic to the Kings, the team needed a backup goalie to play behind Jonathan Quick. The Kings and Enroth agreed on a one-year/$1.25 million deal the first day of free agency and Enroth has proved to be a serviceable backup.
Enroth has played in five games this season, four as a starter and one in relief coming in for Jonathan Quick in the third period of the loss against Carolina on Nov. 22. In those five games, Enroth is 3-1-1 with a GAA of 1.17 and a 0.962 save percentage.
Derek Forbort and Jordan Weal
The Kings have also introduced Derek Forbort and Jordan Weal into NHL regular season action, but there roles have been limited with the two having a combined 10 games played. Both Forbort and Weal won a Calder Cup with the Manchester Monarchs last season and have been used sparingly by head coach Darryl Sutter.
Forbort last saw time in a 3-2 loss against the Detroit Red Wings on Nov. 20 and in his seven games played, he has one assist and a minus-2 plus/minus rating. Weal last played in a 4-3 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes on Nov. 22 and has only played three games with the Kings. Both have been healthy scratches since those games.
The Kings next play the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday Dec. 1 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The Kings lost their first meeting with the Canucks by the score of 3-0, but will begin the month of December on top of the Pacific Division having earned at least a point in the last three games.
Cole R. Querry resides in Southern California. Having played hockey through college and a background in science and math, he promises to bring an objective analysis to the team and sport he loves.