02/24/2024

STL:

1

DET:

6

Final

MTL:

3

NJD:

4

Final

TBL:

4

NYI:

2

Final

NYR:

2

PHI:

1

Final

WSH:

2

FLA:

3

Final

TOR:

4

COL:

3

Final

VGK:

3

OTT:

4

Final

BOS:

2

VAN:

3

Final

DAL:

2

CAR:

1

Final

CGY:

6

EDM:

3

Final

MIN:

5

SEA:

2

Final

NSH:

4

SJS:

2

Final

ANA:

2

LAK:

3

Final

02/25/2024

TBL:

4

NJD:

1

Final

PHI:

6

PIT:

7

Final

CAR:

2

BUF:

3

Final

NYR:

2

CBJ:

4

Final

DET:

3

CHI:

2

Final

ARI:

3

WPG:

4

Final

NSH:

4

ANA:

2

Final

02/26/2024

OTT:

3

WSH:

6

Final

NYI:

3

DAL:

2

Final

LAK:

2

EDM:

4

Final

BOS:

3

SEA:

4

Final

02/27/2024

WSH:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

MTL:

0

07:00 ET

TBL:

0

PHI:

0

07:00 ET

VGK:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

MIN:

0

08:00 ET

OTT:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

STL:

0

WPG:

0

08:00 ET

LAK:

0

CGY:

0

09:00 ET

DAL:

0

COL:

0

09:30 ET

PIT:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

NJD:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

02/28/2024

CBJ:

0

NYR:

0

07:00 ET

STL:

0

EDM:

0

08:30 ET

02/29/2024

VGK:

0

BOS:

0

07:00 ET

CAR:

0

CBJ:

0

07:00 ET

NYI:

0

DET:

0

07:00 ET

MTL:

0

FLA:

0

07:00 ET

BUF:

0

TBL:

0

07:00 ET

ARI:

0

TOR:

0

07:00 ET

WPG:

0

DAL:

0

08:00 ET

MIN:

0

NSH:

0

08:00 ET

COL:

0

CHI:

0

09:00 ET

PIT:

0

SEA:

0

10:00 ET

LAK:

0

VAN:

0

10:00 ET

ANA:

0

SJS:

0

10:30 ET

03/01/2024

ARI:

0

OTT:

0

07:00 ET

PHI:

0

WSH:

0

07:00 ET

NJD:

0

ANA:

0

10:00 ET

The LA Kings Need Young Defensemen to Step Up This Season

Photo by Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Over the last few seasons, the Los Angeles Kings have come out of their rebuild and become a playoff contender. They’ve made the postseason each of the previous two years but lost in the first round. In 2023-24, the Kings are looking to take the next step and finally have success in the playoffs. To do so, they will need some young defensemen to step up and play a significant role in their lineup.

Looking at the Kings’ D-core heading into this season, half of their top eight defensemen are under the age of 25. 24-year-old Mikey Anderson, 20-year-old Brandt Clarke, 22-year-old Jordan Spence, and 22-year-old Tobias Bjornfot will all likely play some significant minutes for Los Angeles this year.

Anderson is now an established NHLer who set career highs in just about every statistic last season. In 2022-23, he played 77 games, scoring five goals, ten assists, 15 points, a +20 rating, and 40 penalty minutes.

Clarke was the Kings’ first-round draft pick in 2021. He played 9 NHL games last season and is looking to fully establish himself in the league this year. He has the potential to be a star on the blueline and could be one of the biggest additions to LA’s lineup in 2023-24.

Spence has been a solid call-up option for the Kings the past two seasons and could see more ice time this year. He’s played a total of 30 games and scored nine points over the last two years. He’s played well when he’s had to fill in but could find himself in the lineup more often this season.

Bjornfot is probably the biggest wild card of the group. The 2019 first-round draft pick played 70 NHL games in 2021-22 but just 10 in 2022-23. If Bjornfot can live up to his draft status and solidify his spot in the lineup, he could be a huge boost to the blue line. If not, it might be time to start looking at trade options.

Los Angeles does have some veterans they can lean on. Drew Doughty is obviously their number-one D-man, and Vladislav Gavrikov is under contract for two more years. However, there is no doubt that LA will rely heavily on young defensemen to fill out their D-core. If these young players can step up and fill the roles they need to, this might be the year that the Kings make a run in the playoffs. If they can not, the defense could be the demise of the 2023-24 LA Kings.

The Pacific Division is going to be very competitive this season, and LA is not necessarily a lock for the playoffs. Vegas, Edmonton, and Seattle are all good teams, and Calgary and Vancouver are looking to make strides forward. The Kings will need solid play out of their defense to win, and some of these young guys are going to play significant roles in whether or not they get it.

Jonathan Duncan

Jonathan Duncan is a lifelong hockey fan. He has covered the NHL, via video content, since 2017 on his YouTube channel Off the Wall Hockey. He has also produced written content for Overtime Heroics and now Inside the Rink.

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