Sometimes talent is discovered through the misfortune of others.
Injuries to Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell opened the door for Jake Muzzin to make a return to the NHL in a Kings uniform.
And also through the decisions of others, such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, who drafted Muzzin 141st overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, and let him walk.
This is the Woodstock, Ontario native’s second stint in the NHL, and it looks to be a permanent one.
Much like the Kings’ 5-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes in Glendale, Arizona Tuesday evening at Jobing.com Arena, Jake Muzzin faltered, albeit in a season that has brought many positive accomplishments to both the Kings and Muzzin’s ferocious rookie NHL season.
The kid doubled his penalty-minute total in a single evening on Arizona ice, racking up six minutes in the penalty box, matching his total in his previous 21 games played in a Kings uniform this season.
The Kings’ unfortunate health with their blue-line corps can’t afford such an absence during a game, especially with Jake Muzzin, who has blossomed into an everyday dependable asset in the Kings’ defensive scheme.
If six minutes in the penalty box Tuesday night is the most glaring rookie mistake Muzzin has made this season; because, quite frankly, it is, then the kid has to have some upside.
If you’ve watched the Kings’ new defensive young-blood this season, you’ll be able to tell he’s playing right up to par with Vyacheslav Voynov and Drew Doughty. Muzzin, who’s been Doughty’s defensive partner as of late, has taken offensive control of their pairing, which almost single-handedly justifies Doughty’s low point-total this season.
You want to talk numbers? Muzzin’s stat-line is rising on the consistent.
Drew Doughty has been in position this season. And I think he’s been wonderful. With Jake Muzzin on his side, he’s backed off to play a more conservative game.
Send it away now.
Can you hear it?
Looking right. It’s looking Right.
On Both Ends: After Matt Greene went down with an injury in the Kings’ season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks, Jake Muzzin got the call for promotion from the AHL‘s Manchester Monarchs.
During the NHL lockout, Muzzin played in 29 games for the Monarchs, potting two goals and handing over nine assists for 11 points.
In seven-less games at the NHL-level this season (22) with the Kings, Muzzin has matched his AHL point-mark, racking up five goals and six assists in a Los Angeles uniform. If that’s not a successful transition for a young player, it’s impossible to say what is.
He’s second among Kings defensemen in points, only behind Vyacheslav Voynov and his 18.
It’s all been positive, because he’s tied for the best plus-minus rating on the entire roster, currently at a +11 mark, toe to toe with Justin Williams.
And it’s been on net; Muzzin has 35 shots in 22 contests, ninth-best on the roster and third among Kings’ defensemen. He’s got a great shot coming off his left-handed stick. It’s accurate, it’s a quick-release, and it’s rarely forced. It creates opportunity, and as the numbers show, success.
You know what they say about putting the puck on net.
The kid has shown us he can hit the post from the point. Hit the post and coast, baby.
Don’t doubt Doughty
Muzzin’s Effect: There’s been a healthy amount of gripe towards Drew Doughty and his offensive output this season. Most of it centers on his goal-total this season, which stands at zero through 25 games. However, Doughty’s racked up 10 assists.
With the bad comes the good. Doughty has seen a sharp decline in his scoring, but he’s shown a much more conservative stay-at-home game. This may not be his most favorable style, but it’s the one he’s playing now.
Without a doubt, this is a better Drew Doughty than we saw early in the 2011-2012 campaign, when Doughty often forced his offensive game after signing his major contract extension, which would find him out of position defensively at an alarming rate.
Drew Doughty will score, it’s a non-issue. Right now, he’s playing a much more mature role. If it means less highlight shows and appearances on the stat-sheet, then so be it.
The Kings are doing just fine. And Drew Doughty has zero goals.
Meanwhile, his rookie line-mate is on a tear.
You’re a bit greedy if you want anything more.
Assist me with this?
What a golden feed that was. Muzzin’s crisp and Stolly snips.
Snacking at MacDonald’s
San Jose: The Kings will be at HP Pavilion for the first time since the final game of last year’s regular season, in which the Kings lost to the San Jose Sharks for the second consecutive contest. Those two losses to the Sharks only paved fate’s way – forcing the Kings to head into the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the Western Conference‘s 8th seed.
Remember how that turned out?
By the way, Ryan Clowe has zero goals, a weak eight assists, a liable minus-eight rating, and a hot-head total of 72 penalty minutes – in 23 games.
He might just be best used when on the bench.
The Kings (30) sit two points ahead of the Sharks (28) with both teams playing their 26th contests of the season tomorrow.
This will be the first of four matchups during this shortened campaign between the two Pacific Division rivals.
Puck drops Thursday night at HP Pavilion in San Jose, California at 7:30PM PST
Episode 183 KingsCast TV: Jarome Iginla will not be an L.A. King – HERE
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