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.