Poor Kyle Clifford can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to injuries. He’s never played a full season since becoming a full-time NHLer (save for the lockout shortened season in 2013) and has a concerning history with concussions. Fortunately this time he didn’t get hit in the head, but unfortunately it appears to be a shoulder or arm type of injury.
Per Jon Rosen (via General Manager Rob Blake), Clifford is week-to-week.
Via GM Rob Blake: pic.twitter.com/HHn6r0ikU3— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) October 12, 2017
It appears that the injury happened when Clifford went to play the puck and Michael Stone just kind of caught him in a bad spot.
Clifford injury: https://t.co/MfSvjWShAw#LAKings #GoKingsGo #CofRed #CGYvsLAK pic.twitter.com/QMeITf5blH— Eric (@Kingsgifs) October 12, 2017
Bad luck for poor Cliffy.
In any case, depth-wise, the Kings still have Nic Dowd and Jonny Brodzinski, who have been healthy scratches lately. So the only question is if the team’s fourth line will suffer a major blow as they’ve gotten off to a surprisingly good start. The combination of Clifford, Trevor Lewis, and Nick Shore seem to have great chemistry and is almost, to a far, FAR lesser extent, kind of a 70s line. Except two-thirds American and with less promise of offense.
Who should draw in for the injured Clifford? Brodzinski had a rough start in the first game of the season but he does have a wicked slapshot that he was known for in college. On the other hand, Dowd has a more defensively responsible reputation. Brodzinski played almost eight minutes and Dowd played a little over five while both have only drawn into one game so far. Neither has a great Corsi +/- or even stellar CF% (just generally speaking; it bears repeating that is not an end-all, be-all statistic), which could be the product of random noise. Given the data sample, it’s too hard to tell.
Should John Stevens go with the more offensively minded guy against a group that has some firepower but is overall expected to be pretty terrible this year, or go with the guy who can potentially defend against some of the Buffalo Sabres hot young stars? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.