Aside from being the son of a former NHL coach, I wasn’t sure what to think of him when the Los Angeles Kings called him up last February. Dwight King, who was also recalled, quickly began to leave his mark, contributing offensively to a Kings team who was struggling to put pucks in the net. The jury was still out on Jordan Nolan, though.
While Dwight King scored five goals and nine assists in his 27 regular season games with the big club last season, Jordan Nolan scored just two goals and added two assists in his 26 games. Surely, his 6’3, 227-pound frame had to be good for something – and it was.
During his time in Los Angeles last season, Nolan racked up 28 penalty minutes which mostly came from dropping the gloves. While the Kings already had tough guys like Kyle Clifford and Kevin Westgarth, the 23-year-old was hoping to be the new regular his team would look at to stir something up.
While both Dustin Brown and Mike Richards have fought multiple times (not against each other obviously), both only fight when it’s absolutely necessary – in other words, not very often. Kyle Clifford spent few years with the Kings as the fighter but has since integrated himself on the offensive side while he does throw them every once in a while. Kevin Westgarth only played once every few games where he solely fought and being such a fan favourite, Kings fans were disappointed to see him traded to Carolina over a month ago. With that, the door’s open for Jordan Nolan.
While so much has been said about Los Angeles’ offense and goaltending during last year’s playoffs, Jordan Nolan’s contributions were just as important. En route to registering a goal and an assist, the native of St. Catharines, Ontario, Nolan collected 21 penalty minutes and some of his fights were just the spark his team needed most notably in Game 4 of the Western Semi-Final when the Kings eliminated the St. Louis Blues from the playoffs.
In 19 games this season, Nolan has two goals and two assists in addition to 29 penalty minutes. While he still has a long way to go, the 115 and 119 penalty minutes respectively he earned in his two full seasons with Los Angeles’ AHL affiliate in Manchester proves how vital he is to his club even if he’s not chipping in the same way as the Browns or the Kopitars.
While it’s right in front us how important the roles Jeff Carter and the aforementioned Mike Richards have been playing especially during Los Angeles’ most recent winning streak, Jordan Nolan’s role is more unsung. With that said, from how he’s helped out in other ways, it’s evident that while Nolan can fight, he is anything but a goon.
While the Los Angeles Kings continue their season, the plan to have Jordan Nolan around will remain. What makes the Kings so special is that everyone brings a little something different to the table and Jordan Nolan is no exception as what he does give his team is something that goes a long, long way – and something that will hopefully once again translate to playoff success – but one step at a time.