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Predicting Stats for the LA Kings Second Forward Line and Defensive Pairing

August 10, 2018, 9:03 AM ET [13 Comments]
Bobby Kittleberger
Los Angeles Kings Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
A few days ago I put up predictions for the LA Kings first forward line and defensive pairing, including Ilya Kovalchuk at the top left wing spot. This time, I’m going through the Kings’ second forward line and defensive pairing, which should get a fully healthy Jeff Carter centering a line between Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli, who both played full 82 game seasons last year.

While I don’t expect Carter to be totally the same player that led the Kings in scoring two seasons ago, I think he’ll bring a lot of stability to Pearson and Toffoli’s offensive game, who both breached the 40-point mark last year, playing mostly without him.

Toffoli, who has one 30-goal season under his belt, posted a 50.77 CF% last year, while Pearson sat at 51.92.

With Carter, those numbers should improve slightly and keep both wingers in the 40+ point column.

Second Forward Line

Barring further injury issues:

Pearson - Carter - Toffoli

Carter should be the line’s most productive player while his wingers will put up numbers similar to last season:

Carter: 26 - 29 - 55 pts
Toffoli: 25 - 18 - 43 pts
Pearson: 19 - 23 - 42

It’s not a banner year for Carter, but it won’t have to be with the offensive production LA power-playrom their top line and first power play unit. I also think the presence of Kovalchuk and the offensive abilities of the Kings’ top forwards will put a cap on Toffoli and Pearson. There’s also the possibility of Gabe Vilardi taking up some offensive real estate. It probably won’t be on the second line, but if Vilardi is productive on the third or even fourth line, John Stevens will have the luxury of spreading the scoring around a bit more.

Again, this limits the points totals of guys like Toffoli, Pearson and even Carter, to an extent.

Second Defensive Pairing

Dion Phaneuf, between Ottawa and LA last year put up only 26 points which seems to be his new normal. I can’t see him doing much more than that, as he and Alec Martinez will be deployed as your garden-variety stay-at-home defensive pairing. They’re good for big hits and safe defensive plays, but not much offense, especially at this stage of Phaneuf’s career.

Martinez: 5 - 20 - 25 pts
Phaneuf: 4 - 17 - 21 pts

That goal total for Phaneuf could be a little low and we’ve seen Martinez break the 30-point mark two of the last three season. Based on ice time alone (they ranked #5 and #2 on the team last year respectively) they could outperform my prediction. Yet, with all the other tools the Kings can deploy, I don’t think they’ll need either of these two defenders to do more than they did last season.

Now that we have two forward lines and two defensive pairings, let’s put it all together.

Kopitar: 24 - 52 - 76 pts
Brown: 19 - 39 - 58 pts
Doughty 11 - 45 - 56 pts
Carter: 26 - 29 - 55 pts
Kovalchuk: 24 - 29 - 53 pts
Toffoli: 25 - 18 - 43 pts
Pearson: 19 - 23 - 42 pts
Muzzin: 3 - 33 - 36 pts
Martinez: 5 - 20 - 25 pts
Phaneuf: 4 - 17 - 21 pts

Carter and Kovalchuk get two more 50-point players on the roster (LA had only three last year) making Stevens’ lines more offensively balanced. Expect the second line to be a consistent and reliable source of secondary scoring behind a formidable first line.

The third line, fourth line and third defensive pairing are up next.
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