2014 Season Review: Dwight King
Of course I am the one writing this review.
Dwight King Corsi, 2011-14
|GP||Corsi Relative||Corsi On||Expected Corsi||dCorsi|
Dwight King has two cup rings, an additional conference finals appearance, and just one full season in the NHL under his belt, so one clear positive swinging in his favor is that he is a winner. Proven winner. In 10 years he'll provide the veteran leadership and grit some team desperately needs to secure a deep playoff run.
Thankfully, Dwight had himself a pretty nice season so we can come up with some real positives instead of grasping at straws. His raw corsi sat at 58.5%, which was good for 10th in the league. Almost regardless of linemates and deployment, he had a nice enough season right there. Anything more would've been icing on the cake, and he was actually able to provide a substantial amount on top of that.
King's most common linemates this past season were Anze Koptar and Jeff Carter (a shade under 400 minutes with both of them). Surprisingly, both Kopitar and Carter saw their corsi get worse away from King than it was with him. It's a small sample size, but it's very encouraging that King did not turn out to be a burden for the team's best two forwards.
King's scoring chance numbers actually profile him as a very capable fill-in in an offensive role. He had the 3rd-best 5v5 scoring chance share (56.5%) on the team and was involved in 5.5 scoring chances per 60 minutes of play, good for a three-way tie for 6th on the team with Marian Gaborik and Tanner Pearson. I won't argue that his ideal role is in the top two lines (or even the top three), but in the event of injuries he is certainly not going to do any damage.
King experienced a significant uptick in scoring success this season. His 1.44 points/60 at 5v5 tied him with Tanner Pearson for 6th on the team. His goal 0.662 goals/60 also place him 6th on the team. The overall numbers are still positive, even if they're not glowing. They're certainly a significant step forward from his 2013 numbers which were abysmal.
Dwight also has the cutest baby on planet earth. This is his wife's twitter. Go there and marvel at how this man created that baby. This is a huge positive to me. Way to go buddy.
I like King overall, but a lack of offensive skill is more than apparent in his game. Though his overall scoring chance numbers are acceptable, he creates just 3.6 chances per 60 minutes, which is 9th on the team. He is behind offensive luminaries like Matt Frattin and Trevor Lewis.
His lack of skill is displayed no more clearly than it is in his zone entry numbers. For one, he doesn't get involved in neutral zone play very well. His 19.39 entries per 60 are good for 12th on the team, which is abysmal. More than that, he simply does not have enough skill or speed to carry the puck into the zone with any regularity. At 6.32 carry-ins/60, he carries the puck into the offensive zone considerably less than any other forward on the team. His 32.61% carry-in success rate is also good for last on the team among forwards.
Though he did see his scoring numbers jump considerably, there remains question as to whether that is a real improvement or simply a matter of shooting luck. King does not have enough of a sample at the NHL level to draw meaningful conclusions from in any direction. By the eye-test he doesn't seem like he'd be an 11% shooter, but he does now have 1300+ minutes during which he has bested that figure (2011/12 and this season). His on-ice shooting percentage numbers (basically, the success of his teammates while he was on the ice) don't seem too wacky, but he benefited from significant minutes with the team's best forwards this season. As the Kings are now a team with considerably more depth than they were when he joined the top line, it seems reasonable to expect him to A) not see the ice with the team's best players as often and B) for his shooting numbers to drop as a result. Even more than that, he might just simply not be the shooter he was this season.
Perhaps nothing better encapsulates his successful season than him pulling off a ridiculous move on one of the league's best defenders to set up Jeff Carter's tap-in goal to the complete shock of everyone
on the ice in the world. Jeff Carter's disbelieving stare was one of my favorite moments of the entire regular season.
Dwight King heads into arbitration with an awful lot of leverage for a player of his limited skill set. He's a useful role player for sure, he appears to be a pretty decent defensive player, and I am sure his agent is going to play up with a gritty hearty tough big winner he is. My position on players like King is that they are useful to a team until they draw a real paycheck. Cheap depth players that can actually play without destroying the team's chances to succeed while they are on the ice are more valuable to a team than they are in trade, but those same players don't necessarily deserve gobs of money. Their value lies in how cheap they are more than it lies in their effectiveness.
King's ceiling may already be met, and even if it hasn't, it can't be very far above his head. However, he is due for a pay raise and a significant one would be a detriment to the team. He is a depth player that should only fill in on the top lines in a pinch, even if he won't hurt the team in that role. Should his paycheck remain small, he should remain a King.
Relative to role and expectations, it's pretty hard to give him anything other than an 'A'. King exceeded my wildest dreams this season, but his bar to clear was mere inches off the ground. Frankly, the grade can be interpreted so many ways that I can see any number of grades. His actual production was probably a 'B'. He was pretty boring to actually watch play the game, which is an 'F'. He didn't murder anyone, which is A+. I'll go ahead and give him an 'A' just because I was so pleasantly surprised by his play.
What grade would you give Dwight King this season?