Welcome to the top 10 of the LA Kings' Top 25 Under 25, folks. It's been a long journey through the first 15, from references to probably-30-year-old-Aqua songs to Craigslist personals to whatever the hell this was, but we're finally here. The cream of the crop, too sweet to be sour, etc. And we start that top ten with, uh, Dwight King. Yeah. I dunno you guys. Let's just get into it.
|10||7/5/1989||CAN||4th round, 109th overall, 2007||148|
(Regarding the vote total: there were 10 voters, with each ranking their own list of 1-25. Thus, the maximum possible vote total was 250, in the event all 10 voters had someone picked at first place. Alas for dear Dwight, this was obviously not the case for him. Related: "alas for dear Dwight" may be the best way I've ever started a sentence.)
So what is there to say about Dwight King, apart from the obvious coolness of having a Kings player whose name on the back is literally "King" (come on, that was really cool the first time you saw it, it's okay to admit it)? Well, some background would be nice I guess: after a 6-game call-up in 2010-11 in which he almost literally did nothing (no goals, no points, did have two whole penalty minutes though!), Dwight returned to the NHL in 2011-12 alongside the last fella on our list, Mr. Jordan Nolan. At the time, the Kings were regularly dressing such veteran luminaries as Trent Hunter and Ethan Moreau (yes, really. for those of you who blocked the early portion of that year out of your minds, presumably by self-inflicted head trauma, you are very lucky). King & Nolan largely took their spots from the moment they were called up and never really gave them back, and they did provide the team with a bit of a kick in the ass, so to speak. As far as King's actual numbers went, they weren't bad at all: 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points in 27 games, or just about 0.52 points-per-game. In the playoffs, he would throw in 5 goals and 3 assists for 8 points in 20 games, off the pace of his regular season somewhat (and largely carried by his strong performance in the Western Conference Final against Phoenix), but still pretty good for a rookie. Things looked promising for this large young gentleman.
As far as 2012-13 goes, well, he started the year in Manchester during the lockout and scored 5 goals and 12 assists for 17 points in 28 games: about an 0.6 PPG pace, good but not great considering he had scored almost as well at the NHL level the year before. Once the lockout ended he was back on the NHL roster before too long, and as far as how that went I'd direct you to our 2013 Season Review article for Dwight King, because Robert likely did a better job with that than anything I could hope to write about it. If you're lazy and/or the central character of a movie where each click of a new link brings you one click closer to death (it's just like A Thousand Words but with less Eddie Murphy and more dilemmas about resisting internet porn! hit waiting to happen!), luckily for you I will briefly recap it for you. Basically, our friend Dwight was great at shutting down the opposition, leading the team in both scoring chances against and shots on goal against, while also drawing more penalties than he took, but produced virtually nothing in scoring chances of his own (primarily due to how often he dumped the puck in). For a third line forward, this wasn't too horrible, but in terms of depth scoring he brought little to the table, and his traditional numbers showed it too (4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points in 47 games, or a 0.21 PPG rate, a drop of about 59.6% from his 2011-12 pace). Still, his contributions defensively and ability to shut down the opposition forwards were enough to earn him a C for his performance in 2013 in Robert's review.
So what should be expected of Dwight going forward? He's unlikely to ever be a prolific scorer at this level, and I'd personally be shocked if he approached that aforementioned 0.52 PPG pace again over the course of a full 82-game season. Although he's spent some time on the second line with the Dry Island duo, King is unlikely to get much of a long look there moving forward; new acquisition Matt Frattin has more offensive upside, having scored at a better PPG pace in the AHL than Dwight (albeit over shorter seasons), and Tyler Toffoli seems destined for that 2nd line slot at some point (even though the current word from Lombardi is that he will start the year somewhere in the bottom six). Still, King is a big body, and where he separates himself from the last player on this list is that unlike Nolan he's shown the ability to shut down the opposition consistently at the NHL level. As Robert said, without showing more of a scouring touch he could be destined to be nothing more than a solid 4th liner in the National Hockey League, but a solid 4th liner who draws more penalties than he takes and doesn't allow the opposition many scoring chances at all? I'll take that all day long (twice on Sundays). Plus his nameplate says "King". Don't take that for granted folks, it's freaking awesome.