New additions have made the Kings' offense formidable

Bruce Bennett

How much of an impact has the presence of Pearson, Toffoli and Gaborik had on the Kings roster?

As time dwindled off the clock at Madison Square Garden late in Game 4, the Kings tried desperately to get the puck past Henrick Lundqvist to tie the game. They out-shot the rangers 24 to 2 at even strength after Dustin Brown brought LA within a goal with 8:46 to play in the 2nd period. But as Alain Vigneault noted, the hockey gods intervened on the Rangers behalf.

The Kings ended the game having out-shot the Rangers 38 to 12 at evens. That differential is eye-popping even when you account for score effects. Much has been made about the Kings abilities to deny shots, sometimes seemingly at will. One thing that hasn’t received as much attention has been their ability to generate shots which has been their biggest improvement over their playoff run from a season ago.

Last year, LA had the worst shot rate among all playoff teams both at even strength and overall. Whereas they were only getting 24 shots off per 60 minutes last year, this year they have improved dramatically at 30 shots per 60.

We know that the Kings have benefited this postseason from a high shooting percentage . They’ve been running so hot, in fact, that they are scoring goals at a near historic rate. Yet, they are also getting shots off at a much higher pace and a lot of that improvement can be attributed to a substantial influx of talent to the roster.

Ice time that had previously gone to the likes of Colin Fraser, Brad Richardson, Jordan Nolan and Dustin Penner is now being funneled to Marian Gaborik, Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli (who was on the roster a year ago, but is seeing much more ice time this time around). The effects of this have been dramatic.


'14 EV Postseason Rates

Player Goals /60 Shots /60 Unblocked shots /60 Attempts /60
Tyler Toffoli 1.4 11.9 15 19.8
Tanner Pearson 0.5 10.7 16.2 19.2
Marian Gaborik 1.8 10.8 13.8 16.1
Total 1.3 11.2 14.9 18.2


'13 EV Postseason Rates

Player Goals /60 Shots /60 Unblocked shots /60 Attempts /60
Dustin Penner 0.8 8.7 11 13.8
Brad Richardson 0 5.5 8.5 10.3
Colin Fraser 0 2.8 3.3 4.2
Jordan Nolan 0 1 2.9 3.9
Total 0.3 6.6 7.7 9.6
courtesy of extraskater.com

The Kings are getting twice as many shots and four times as many goals from Gaborik, Pearson and Toffoli over the group they’ve replaced from a year ago. It really can’t be understated how beneficial it’s been for LA to have them in the lineup.

Marian Gaborik has 13 total goals this postseason which is more than any player has scored in a single postseason over the last four years.

Tyler Toffoli is leading the Kings in shot rate for the second straight postseason.

Yet, the biggest surprise among new additions to the roster this year has been 21 year old Tanner Pearson. He’s added some much needed speed and skill on the left side of the Kings forward corps. In game 4, he was nothing short of dominant as he routinely blew past Rangers defenders.

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Pearson generated 8 shots on goal and 5 scoring chances in just 13 minutes of ice time in Game 4 alone. 8 shots is more than Colin Fraser and Jordan Nolan were able to log in last year's postseason combined. Pearson surpassed their production in one game.

If the Kings are able to retain Marian Gaborik (and odds are good that they will), then the Kings will unquestionably be a cup contender next year once again. Gaborik, Pearson and Toffoli have helped transform the Kings from a very strong team into what could turn out to be the best team of their era.

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