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Keeping up with old friends: Former Kings in the playoffs

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We can still sort of root for some of these guys, right?

Carolina Hurricanes v Washington Capitals - Game Two Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Kings may not be in the playoffs, but plenty of former players who’ve suited up in a Kings uniform — or who at least heard their names called by a Kings official during the draft — are still competing for the Stanley Cup.

Over the course of the playoffs, we’ll be keeping tabs on some of these former friends with the hopes that maybe one of them raises the Stanley Cup at the end of all of this.

Seventeen players who at one point in their careers were part of the Kings organization are still in the mix. Let’s look at how they performed during the regular season, and then check in on what they’ve been up to in the first few games of the playoffs.

Stats are as of the end of the regular season

(Many thanks to Shayna Goldman of Blueshirt Banter for working some chart magic to provide the above image.)


Calgary Flames

Oscar Fantenberg: The pending free agent was sent north to the Flames to add defensive depth, which is exactly the role he’s played for the Flames down the stretch. While Fantenberg is capable of playing up in the lineup, he largely has settled into a bottom pairing role for the Flames. He has been on the ice for more shots against the Flames than for (nine for, 13 against) but no goals against at even strength.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists

Carolina Hurricanes

Justin Williams: Williams, on his second team now after leaving the Kings in free agency after the 2014-15 season, put up his best points totals in the regular season since 2011-12. And while his Carolina Hurricanes are down 2-0 to the Capitals, the Hurricanes are showing signs of life, taking game number two to overtime. They head back to Raleigh for game three where we hope to see Williams work some more of his motivational magic.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist

Dallas Stars

Ben Bishop: Bishop, who played briefly for the Kings in the 2016-17 season in their futile push to make the playoffs, is now in his second season with the Dallas Stars. He put together a stand-out season for the stars, recording a league-leading save percentage of .934 and the second best goals against average at 1.98, behind only Jordan Binnington. Bishop has one win and one overtime loss against the Nashville Predators in what has been a very tight series to date.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 1-0-1, .946 Sv%, 1.92 GAA

Nashville Predators

Brian Boyle: Did you forget Boyle was a King? That’s okay, it was ages ago, in hockey years. The Kings drafted Boyle in the first round of the 2003 draft; he played two seasons for the organization, mostly in the AHL, before being traded to the New York Rangers in 2009. Boyle was a trade deadline acquisition of the Predators, scoring five goals for them down the stretch. He’s appeared in one of their two playoff games, missing the other due to illness.

Current Stats: 1 game played, 0 goals, 1 assist

Wayne Simmonds: Still a Los Angeles fan favorite, despite having played only three seasons for the Kings, Simmonds was reluctantly traded by the Flyers at this year’s trade deadline. He provides a skilled, physical presence for the Predators, who are tied at one win apiece in their series with the Dallas Stars.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists

Update: Looks like neither Boyle nor Simmonds will be playing for a bit:

New York Islanders

Thomas Hickey: Hickey was selected by the Kings in the first round of the 2007 draft, and while he spent several seasons as a key player on the then-AHL Manchester Monarchs, he never actually skated for the Kings before being claimed on waivers by the Islanders in January 2013. While he’s generally been an NHL regular, he’s spent time this season as a healthy scratch and has yet to take the ice in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Jack Johnson: Johnson, traded to Columbus in the blessed trade that brought the Kings Jeff Carter, signed with the Penguins in free agency this off-season. The move reunited him with long-time friend Sidney Crosby, but brought about a whole world of criticism for the length and amount of his contract. Johnson has played in two of the Penguins’ three games and has no points, is a -3, and sees his team get massively outshot every time he’s on the ice.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists

Zach Trotman: Trotman, acquired by the Kings as a free agent in 2016, played only nine games for the Ontario Reign in 2016-17, limited by an upper body injury, and then was signed by the Pittsburgh Penguins in free agency, but we’re going to count him anyway for the purposes of this exercise. Trotman split the season between Pittsburgh and the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. He has yet to appear in the playoffs.

San Jose Sharks

Martin Jones: I regret to inform everyone that Martin Jones is having a very bad playoffs. And also a mostly very bad regular season. After finishing the regular season at nearly the bottom of the ranks of goaltenders in terms of save percentage, Jones hasn’t been able to reverse the trend of declining play in the playoffs. While he’s started all three games and performed very well in game one, he was pulled from game two after allowing three goals on seven shots in under seven minutes of play. Game three didn’t go much better, as Jones and the Sharks allowed goals in the opening minute of each period last night. Yikes, Martin.

Current Stats: 3 games played, 1-1-0 (pulled once), .849 Sv%, 5.24 GAA

St. Louis Blues

Brayden Schenn: Schenn, moved along with Simmonds in the trade that sent Mike Richards to the west coast, was traded to the Blues before the 2017-18 season and promptly put up career high numbers. He’s yet to make an impact in the playoffs, however, recording no points over three games. St. Louis leads their series with the Winnipeg Jets, 2-1.

Current Stats: 3 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists

Tampa Bay Lightning

Erik Cernak: Cernak was a 2015 second round draft pick of the Kings and was traded to the Lightning in the Peter Budaj/Ben Bishop swap. Cernak made his NHL debut this season and has mostly been a regular in the Lightning’s lineup. He earned his first career playoff point with a primary assist on the Lightning’s second goal of Game 1. Tampa Bay may be on the ropes, down 3-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but Cernak has two assists in two games played.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 2 assists

Toronto Maple Leafs

Jake Muzzin: Muzzin was most definitely the biggest casualty of the Kings’ dreadful season, getting moved out in January to the Leafs, who were looking to shore up their defense. He put up 16 points in 30 games for Toronto, missing some time with an illness before the playoffs started. In two hotly contested, no-love-lost playoff games against the Boston Bruins, Muzzin has one assist and five hits.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist

Vegas Golden Knights

Brayden McNabb: Who would have thought Brayden McNabb would sort of blossom away from the Kings? Selected by Vegas in the expansion draft, he has become one of the Golden Knights’ top defensemen. In the playoffs, he has the second highest time on ice at even strength (45:03), below only Shea Theodore (45:36). His underlying stats have been so-so over the three game playoff series (45.98% Corsi For, on ice for 15 shots for and 27 against), but does it really matter when Vegas has the upper hand over San Jose already?

Current Stats: 3 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists

Colin Miller: Ah, Colin Miller, we hardly even knew you. Drafted by the Kings in the fifth round of the 2012 draft, Miller played two very good seasons for the Manchester Monarchs before he was traded to the Boston Bruins in 2015 in the absolute bounty of goods and services that went back to Boston in exchange for … [checks notes] … one season of Milan Lucic. Anyway, Miller, after carving himself out a decent career in Boston, went to Vegas in the expansion draft, where he promptly had a career year, like basically everyone else on that team. He’s played in two of the three games in the Vegas/San Jose series so far, scoring one shorthanded goal. Miller leads the team in Corsi For (65.71%) at even strength.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 1 goal, 0 assists

Valentin Zykov: The Kings drafted Zykov in the second round of the 2013 draft, then traded him in the midst of his first professional season in 2016 to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for 14 games of Kris Versteeg. Zykov has bounced around since then, never finding a permanent home in the NHL despite performing well at the AHL level. He’s played for three separate organizations this year and is with Vegas now, where he’s largely been a healthy scratch. Zykov has yet to appear in a playoff game.

Washington Capitals

Nic Dowd: Dowd, a 2009 seventh round draft pick of the Kings, was traded to Vancouver in December 2017. He signed with the Washington Capitals this summer (and recently signed a three-year extension, locking him up as their fourth line center) and has been a stabilizing presence on their fourth line. Dowd has no points in two games played, is averaging 8:31 of ice time, and has won 53.8% of his faceoffs. At even strength, Dowd has yet to be on the ice for a goal against.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists

Carl Hagelin: Acquired early in the season in exchange for Tanner Pearson, the Kings flipped Hagelin to the Capitals at the trade deadline. As is the way of all players who leave the Kings, Hagelin put up way more points with the Capitals than he did during his tenure with the Kings. (He recorded 11 points in 20 games with Washington and five points in 22 games with the Kings.) Hagelin is yet to record a point, skating mostly with Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie.

Current Stats: 2 games played, 0 goals, 0 assists