This season is already one that clearly will be forgotten the instant it’s over—there haven’t been many memorable moments, and when “failure” is your season’s single biggest characteristic, maybe it’s better off that way. There hasn’t even been a true break-out star performance as the Kings have struggled. At least the 2016-17 season, similarly dismal in team performance, saw Jeff Carter put up 32 goals, his most since 2010-11 when he was still with the Flyers. That was at least something to watch.
This season, well. We’ve had glimpses of young players who could become solid depth/role players in the future. We’ve seen Alex Iafallo already match his goals total from last season, and he’s close to surpassing his points total as well.
But consider: Kyle Clifford.
Clifford, despite missing 10 games, due either to injury or being a healthy scratch, has seven goals. That puts him in a league with Ilya Kovalchuk, Tyler Toffoli, and promising rookie Matt Luff.
Yes, that Kyle Clifford.
He’s tied his career high in goals, set in his rookie season (2010-11) and matched a few years later (2012-13). It was, in fact, a milestone goal for the career King:
Clifford, a true heart-on-sleeve player, has been honest all season about the team’s play, and despite achieving personal success, didn’t mince words after the game yesterday:
Clifford: “That’s awful. It’s just embarrassing, to be honest. Not much else to say, other than that.”— Jon Rosen (@lakingsinsider) January 11, 2019
It’s nice to see Clifford putting up goals, particularly since he’s never really been “that guy”. He could maybe even get to double digits for the first time as a pro. Again: he probably doesn’t care, but it would be nice to see.
Why? Clifford has one more season on his contract.
What do you think Rob Blake could get for a 27-year old inexpensive winger who chips in sometimes on offense, has two Stanley Cup rings, and isn’t afraid to go to bat for his team? That’s got to be at least like a fifth round draft pick, right?
The view from Staples Center last night. [Jewels from the Crown]
At least Ottawa was happy. [Silver Seven Sens]
Post game notes and reactions from Willie Desjardins, Jake Muzzin, and Kyle Clifford. [Kings Insider]
Dion Phaneuf, his bad season, and what the rest of his career might look like. [The Athletic]
Adrian Kempe is still struggling to find consistency. Can he develop into more of a threat on the power play? [Kings Insider]
A breakdown of Tyler Toffoli’s play this season, and a look at whether or not he can bounce back. (Yes.) [The Athletic]
Former Kings Things
The Seattle Team doesn’t even have a name yet and they’re already planning to hold some big NHL events in the future. [NHL]
More on another teen player dealing with racist abuse in hockey who PK Subban reached out to with encouragement after the teen. [The Athletic]
NWHL Deputy Commissioner Hayley Moore talks about the format, planning, and results of the 2018 draft. [The Ice Garden]
Should starting goalies see less work throughout the season? [The Athletic]
Learn more about standard player recalls versus emergency recalls. [Pension Plan Puppets]
How do former captains adapt to their new teams when they’re not necessarily wearing a letter? [Star Tribune]
Butts butts butts butts butts butts. [ESPN]
Four games on the schedule to pick from tonight. You can do some advance scouting of the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, as they play the Anaheim Ducks tonight. That game starts at 7:00 pm Pacific and airs on ESPN+ and Prime.