Defensive pairs are going to look a little different than they have all season when the Kings suit up tonight to take on the Montreal Canadians. Maybe it’s not surprising considering the defensive lapses of the past few games, but the changes are fairly significant, and the results should be telling.
First of all, if you haven’t yet heard, Jake Muzzin has been demoted back to Manchester, where he will try to find his game again. I’m not worried about him long-term, but he has struggled a bit in some of his more recent appearances, and getting some game time where he can refine his play can only help him long term. In his stead, the Kings have called up Alec Martinez. Allegedly the reasoning is because Martinez has a significant offensive component to his game, as he’s been lighting the lamp with regularity in Manchester. If that will translate to professional play is yet to be determined, but it’s a move the Kings are going to try.
In addition to the new player on defense, the pairings have been all shook up. Drew Doughty will skate with Martinez, presumably to give him a stable defensive partner to ease his move into the NHL. Jack Johnson will get to skate with Rob Scuderi, a good move since as we’ve mentioned, Johnson has had a rough couple games. Scuderi is the kind of stabilizing force that can only help him return to the kind of game with which he is familiar. The final pairing will be Matt Greene with Davis Drewiske. It’s probably the #3 pairing, but it’s a solid if unspectacular 3rd pairing in the Kings.
In one final significant change, Peter Harrold will be playing winger again, slotting in on the 4th line with Trevor Lewis and Brad Richardson. I’ve always found Harrold to play better as a winger. His defensive game is just not strong enough to be a great defender, but as a pain-in-the-ass, agitating, defensive winger on the 4th line? He’s an excellent addition, and though offense is not his game, that’s not what anyone is really expecting out of the 4th line anyway.
It should be an interesting experiment to see if the Kings can get their game together in Montreal. Do you think these pairings are a good move?