After two full seasons in Manchester, Andy Andreoff finally cracked the big leagues in 2014-15. With the exception of a two-week AHL conditioning stint in December, Andreoff spent the entire season with the Kings and suited up for his first 18 NHL games. In doing so he fulfilled a lifelong dream, which is pretty cool.
Of course, part of the reason Andreoff stuck in the NHL, even when he was scratched most games, was that he was no longer waiver exempt; sending him down would have meant likely losing him to another NHL team, something the Kings were unwilling to do. So why were the Kings loath to risk losing Andreoff? My guess is that they probably like his intangibles. After training camp Darryl Sutter called Andreoff "coachable." He's generally seen as a good character guy who will work hard to improve.
Statistically there isn't a whole lot to like, but Andreoff did win 52.5% of his faceoffs. The importance of faceoffs are in this author's opinion massively overrated, but still, that's a nice bonus for a defensive center. Andreoff also brings physicality, a trait the Kings, like most NHL teams, greatly prize.
I don't see much purpose in belaboring the point here and picking on Andreoff, so I'll go through this quickly. Andreoff was ineffective in his 18 NHL games. His 47.5% Corsi was the worst of any King, and he and Jordan Nolan were the only two Kings to fail to crack the 50% barrier. He received sheltered zone starts (+9.3% ZS relative), but the Kings conceded shots at a higher rate with him on the ice than with any other player. His Corsi was hurt by playing almost entirely with other fourth liners, of course, but Nolan and Clifford both did substantially better without him than with him. The Kings understandably did not trust Andreoff on special teams and only deployed him at 5v5.
Now all this is only 18 games, so it hardly seals Andreoff's fate. But there's little in his much more sizable AHL track record to indicate a promising NHLer. He's got 72 points in 157 AHL games, which establishes his NHL ceiling at the fourth line barring a major unexpected change in his scoring ability. He turns 24 this month, old for a prospect, so that kind of improvement really can't be considered probable.
His first NHL goal! I'm a sucker for first goals and this one was particularly heartwarming. Just look at him on the bench moments after scoring:
That smile was a wonderful moment in a season that didn't produce nearly as many of those as we expected.
I'm not willing to completely write off Andreoff's future on the basis of 18 bad NHL games. But given his struggles and his mediocre AHL point totals, I think the Kings would be foolish to count on Andreoff to even be an acceptable fourth liner next year. Maybe he will someday prove that he can be a good defensive fourth line center and carve out a long NHL career à la Matt Hendricks, but right now the Kings can't expect any contribution from him.
Nonetheless, his low cost means he'll have a decent shot at making the team next year. Even if neither Jarret Stoll nor Mike Richards play for the Kings next year (certainly possible), one would imagine Trevor Lewis and Nick Shore are currently ahead of Andreoff in the competition for the third and fourth line center spots.
Andreoff's NHL performance was poor. I wouldn't want to overstate the impact of that on the Kings, since he didn't play enough to affect the team that much one way or the other. For Andreoff's personal NHL future, though, this year was a big missed opportunity. D.