There was a stretch of hockey during the Kings Stanley Cup run, specifically during the Phoenix series, where Dwight King was scoring all teh goalz. He had four in three games, and all the sudden a lot of fans, myself included, found ourselves having a “Wait, who’s that guy” moment.

I laughed him off a bit (I’m sure there’s podcasts that’d back that up), because he’s kinda of a goofy looking, big hulking dude who, at a glance, you would think is an enforcer. I mean, he’s huge.

Still, he kept doing things that made me sit up and take notice in playoffs. If you recall the third goal the Kings scored on their now-infamous Three Goal Powerplay in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final, he comes up the ice with a lot of speed for a guy who’s 6’3″ and some 234 pounds, drives wide, puts the puck under the d-man’s stick (that’s the part that gets me – skills), and gets the puck to the dangerous part of the ice. Then Trevor Lewis puts it home, and King has one of his two assists in the Cup-clinching game.

He was definitely a role player for the Kings in playoffs, and he played it well. Use that big body, don’t kill the team, any offense we get is a bonus. 

I looked into him a little bit today, and there’s a chance this guy could turn out to be one hell of an NHLer (maybe Kings fans already knew that – most of us didn’t).

For starters, the kid just turned 23 in July. He only has 33 career NHL games so far, but he’s scored a decent 14 points along the way. He also put up another eight points in 20 playoff games. (Advanced stats crowd – his Corsi On is good, PDO is a little high, nothing that stands out all that much from what I could tell.) And if you go farther back, he’s provided offense before.

As a rookie in the AHL, King scored 24 times, and totalled 52 points. In the WHL, his stat line the year he got drafted in the fourth round was 34 goals, 35 assists for 69 points, with a low but not too-low PIM count of 56.

The Kings have him under contract for two more seasons at a mere $750,000, making King the prime example of how you build a successful salary cap team. You need some of your prospects on entry-level deals to contribute at high levels so you have room to pay the rest of the guys you need. You need to draft well, and get lucky.

I’m not sure what his ceiling in the NHL is, but if he can be a 50-point big body that’s capable of understanding his role on a team, he’s going to command one hearty paycheque down the road.

Comments (14)

  1. One correction, He is under contract for the next two seasons. There wasn’t much to like about the kid last season. I’ll be curious to see if he can maintain that level of play next year.

  2. His 12.11 CorsiOn (6th among LAK forwards) is more impressive due to his 1.060 CorsiRelQoC (4th of all Kings skaters) and 47.8 OZ start%

    • Good signs, for sure. I could see him scoring 20 greasy ones one season. Maybe not next, but after that.

  3. 2 seasons ago he was called up for a brief stint and even played a few minutes alongside Kopitar. He was very unimpressive. However, the trend to pay attention to was that almost anybody called up under Terry Murray seemed unimpressive. This season, Sutter went to watch some Manchester games, and a few days later King and Nolan were called up. We all know how the story goes from there. Kings scouts obviously liked the guy. Sutter liked him. I think a lot of fans have him pegged for a 3rd liner but it wouldn’t be impossible for him to wind up on the 2nd line. Unlikely, but not impossible. Some fans ive talked to who are pretty knowledgeable seem to think Nolan has the bigger upside though so who knows.

    • I don’t know much about Nolan (I’ll get on that now). As for King, I don’t think he’ll be a second line guy, but a solid 3rd liner. The biggest thing for me is “has he produced at other levels.” And he has. Time to check out what Nolan’s done.

      • Ah – Jordan fights a lot. 119 and 115 PIMS in his two AHL seasons. More fourth line potential it looks like.

        • He’s got some really nice hands though (and has shown good patience with the puck), and while he isn’t always the most graceful skater, he can get going pretty fast.

          He did get caught a few times holding the puck too long and not protecting it and getting stripped pretty easily during the playoffs, but I think that’s something he’ll learn and adjust to with some more time. I think he could also benefit from another year in the AHL as well.

          I think he could pan out real well if the Kings keep developing him well.

        • And his brother is D.J. King, if you didn’t already know.

        • Yeah personally, i’m not so sure that Nolan has more potential than King, but he’s had his moments. I do have a question for you Justin now that im thinking about it, and if you have the time.

          When guys are coming up through juniors and then find themselves in the AHL, how often do guys get pigeonholed into certain slots vs. how often do they just not have the talent to reach a top line in the NHL?

          For instance, the Kings are clearly pretty deep and their top lines are mostly set for a bit. So how does a guy in the AHL, who isn’t immediately a gifted scorer, going to get a crack? Do they just keep playing their game and try and improve their offense, or do they try and develop into the “3rd line guy”?

          I guess that’s kind of vague, but do guys have the opportunity and is it possible/common for guys to develop their offensive game in the AHL? I ask, because as i mentioned people have talked to me about Nolan having “potential” to see 2nd line duties, but he certainly doesn’t strike me as a scorer, and from your comments he doens’t seem to strike you as one either.

          So how does “potential” work once you get to the AHL? how do guys go from somebody with potential, developing his game in the AHL, to a guy with decent offensive prowess sitting up on the 2nd line wing?

  4. Is Derek King his father?

  5. Funny thing was, according to Lombardi, Jack Ferreira (Special Assistant to the GM on the Kings) had penciled in King and Nolan on his mock line-ups for the 11-12 season.

    Article here: http://kings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=633507

    Relevant part is towards the end, but the whole thing is an insightful read.

    In the end, Lombardi chose to give Moreau and Hunter contracts instead, but time showed who was right.

    • ugh, don’t say those two names ever again plz :) . kthxbai

    • Moreau was a head scratcher, but I liked the move for Hunter at the time. I think he just didn’t recover fully after that injury which is a shame. Although, it is interesting that they both went as far into the season as they did.

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