LA Kings: What happened to Michael Amadio in 2021?

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Recently unclaimed on waivers, we dive into Michael Amadio’s regression. Unless an injury occurs, he’s likely not to play much again for the LA Kings.

Drafted in the third round of the 2014 NHL Draft, Michael Amadio put together his best season, statistically, in 2019-20, scoring six goals and 10 assists in 68 games while primarily centering the LA Kings fourth line. The 23-year-old logged a plus-minus rating of -11 in the 2019-20 season, while his shot percentage drastically decreased from 16.2 percent in 2018-19 to 6.1 percent last year.

While not a significant factor on special teams, Amadio registered three assists on the powerplay and logged a career-high 13:01 average TOI in the 2019-20 campaign.

Perhaps he was carried by veterans Kyle Clifford and Trevor Lewis, as the trio logged a 50.7 xGF% (expected-goals-for) in nearly 114 minutes of ice time. Once both Clifford and Lewis departed, Amadio’s shot-per-60 minutes, goals-per-SOG, and shift starts significantly favored the opposition.

As such, his WAR has been trending in the wrong direction since the 18-19 season.

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Amadio has fallen off a cliff this season, logging just two assists in 20 games while also being placed on waivers last week. With the LA Kings taking Quinton Byfield with the second-overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and the emergence of Gabe Vilardi and Jaret Anderson-Dolan, Amadio is fighting for fourth-line centerman duties at this point.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, native hasn’t played since March 14, and I wouldn’t expect him back in the lineup unless Blake Lizotte‘s play regresses even further or an injury forces Amadio back into the lineup. Honestly, he lost his job when Anderson-Dolan became a regular in the lineup, and the LA Kings went on a six-game winning streak. It was only after JAD’s injury when Amadio continued to play.

Despite a 39-minute sample size, the Moore-Amadio-Grundstrom line produced a 57.7 xGF%, but centering the second line with Austin Wagner and Jeff Carter, the trio yielded just a 43.7 xGF%. From an individual perspective, Amadio has accounted for a 41.7 xGF% in 210 minutes of on-ice time.

Without Amadio on the ice, the LA Kings are technically more productive, accounting for a 46.4 xGF%.

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Amadio’s puck possession metrics are the biggest reason for the dropoff in production this season. Compared to last year’s 54.7 CorsiFor percentage, the 24-year-old has accounted for a 44.1 CorsiFor percentage in the 2021 season.

Similar to the end of last season, Amadio’s dismal shot-per-60 minutes, goals-per-SOG, and shift starts have carried over, except for approximately a five-game sample at the beginning of February where both his offensive zone starts and goals-per-SOG metrics were a net positive.

Amadio recorded assists in back-to-back games on January 28 and February 2 while seeing the most shifts in a four-game stretch in early February. It may not come as much of a surprise, but the Kings lost every one of those games. One step further, except for one contest against the Blues in January, the Kings have lost every game in which Amadio has seen more than 16 shifts.

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If you throw out the Buffalo Sabres players in the expected-goals-for versus expected-goals-against category — players who are in a dumpster fire of an organization — Amadio is in the bottom three of NHL forwards.

With all the talent in the prospect pool developing and eventually making their way to Los Angeles, especially at center, Amadio’s days in a Kings’ uniform are numbered. He was already placed on waivers once this season, with no other NHL team wanting his services either.

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He is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the league year. Honestly, I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked if the Kings non-tender Amadio.