LA Kings: Christian Wolanin thankful for a change of scenery

LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports)
LA Kings (Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports) /

Christian Wolanin will likely get a chance to showcase himself with the LA Kings for the remainder of the season, and he’s been thankful for a fresh start.

Acquired at the end of March, Christian Wolanin gave the LA Kings something they sorely needed, defensive depth. A rash of absences along the blue line left the Kings scrambling on a couple of occasions.

The first when Matt Roy and Sean Walker were injured in the same game against Minnesota. And the next when Tobias Bjornfot and Roy were lost to injury and to the NHL’s COVID list, respectively.

Wolanin was drafted in the fourth round in 2015 by the Ottawa Senators and had 58 games of NHL experience prior to being traded. He’s played in just three games with the Kings thus far and has yet to record a point while averaging 14:35 TOI.

With the weekend’s games canceled with Colorado due to multiple COVID cases on the Avalanche, the Kings had a chance to reset and attend to some details or “get organized,” as Todd McLellan said. Wolanin was officially introduced to the LA Kings media, which felt like a match made in heaven, given his favorite player growing up was Luc Robitaille.

He spoke about how grateful he was for the fresh start, among other items on Sunday.

On the experience of his first trade at the NHL level

The first trade is a bit of a surprise. I got traded in juniors, and this one went a little bit differently. I think I handled it a little bit better this time around. Yeah, [it] happens quickly, especially after clearing waivers. You don’t really know what to expect, but when the trade happened, I was really excited to get out here and give the Kings everything I got.

On adjusting to the organization thus far

I think that’s the hardest part is just going into different systems and different ways of playing and then playing with new teammates. I like to think that I think the game pretty well and getting to know my teammates’ tendencies and things that they do…I was thankful for a new change of scenery, and I think just taking it one day at a time, and I like the direction I’m headed.

On being labeled a puck-moving defenseman

I think that’s pretty spot on. I think puck moving is something that you can do for a long time in this league, and I think that’s probably my strong suit. Offensively, I don’t think I’ve really contributed much this year as a whole in Ottawa or here. But I think that comes just with repetition. I haven’t played a lot of hockey in the last two years. I think the more game reps that I get and the more consistent repetition I get, I think the better I’ll get.

On his first impressions of the LA Kings organization thus far

I think before I say anything about the Kings, I want to imply that or say that anything I say has nothing to do with my time in Ottawa. But when I came here, this is kind of what the NHL dream has always been like in my mind prior to getting here…then to come here and just have a coach like Todd, who you don’t really hear his voice often in terms of them yelling and kind of getting on you. But you know, when he wants to talk, and you know when he wants your attention. This is a first-class organization. You can kind of tell right from the moment I walked in through these doors.

Wolanin and the Kings will resume play on Tuesday against the Ducks.