Last year, I was given the enviable task of writing about the 15th best player under the age of 25 in the Kings organization. What we learned is that Andy Andreoff is a hockey player.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Nationality||Draft||Vote Total||Last Year|
|17||Andy Andreoff||5/17/1991||CAN||80 (3rd)||107||#15|
That Andreoff has dropped from #15 to #17 could mean a few different things. An idealist would say, hey, that means the system has improved! Way to go Kings! However, I'll align myself with Rust Cohle on this one and take the pessimistically-tinged "real" view. I think it's more a combination of us voters making better decisions and Andreoff not being that good.
Usually when the term "hockey player" gets tossed around as a laudatory term in these parts, it's because a player's actual, tangible skills aren't the most praise-worthy things in the world. I suspect that this is no different for Andreoff.
The good news for Andreoff is that he did have an okay season. He bumped his point totals slightly. Without the benefit of AHL fancystats, it's hard to tell how much of it was based on increased usage or just plain ol' dumb luck, but we'll take the positives where we can find 'em. For his play, the Kings rewarded him with a one-year contract in lieu of letting him go, so he'll get another crack at cementing his role in this organization.
It certainly won't be an easy path for Andreoff. For one, the Kings are stacked at this point, and there's a very real chance that solid NHLers like Jarret Stoll or Mike Richards play a regular role on the Kings' fourth line this season. Andreoff's easiest path to the NHL is probably through an injury to Kyle Cifford. Secondly, even at the AHL level, there are players ahead of him on the depth chart. He has some frogs to leap if he wants to make it with the Kings.
Andreoff remains the same gritty fighter he was a year ago. He mucks and grinds and plays in the corners and stands up for his teammates and so on. Pretty much any article about him alludes to his ability to scrap. Back in December, he sat down with two women from The Pink Puck to discuss that very topic.
I still suspect that Andreoff will see some NHL time at some point, whether it be with the Kings or another team. Fighters that can play a little bit tend to find their way into the big leagues, even if they very literally can only play a little bit. Jordan Nolan has two cup rings and I think I could make a reasonable case that he is one of the 10 worst players in the league. However, Nolan isn't the worst skater ever, so the fact that he can't catch passes or handle the puck is apparently worth overlooking. The NHL is a stupid and strange place sometimes.
To carry the Nolan comparison a step further, he was a 22-year old in the midst of season during which he notched more than a half point per game when the Kings gave him a shot. Andreoff hasn't done that yet in his professional career and he's already 23. Nolan was recalled almost on a whim along with Dwight King in a bizarre attempt to inject youthful energy into a squad struggling through a difficult scoring drought. Andreoff is now sitting behind a considerably more loaded depth chart.
Andreoff might not be bad, but his AHL numbers aren't overwhelming. They're barely whelming, for that matter. He seems to be an okay player. That's about it. As a 23-year old that hasn't dominated the AHL yet or logged a single NHL game, he's running out of time. This will be his make-or-break season with this organization. Though he is a RFA again next season, the Kings didn't give him a very stern vote of confidence when they handed him a meager one-year contract.