Kings’ Lias Andersson: I’m Happy to be Here and I Want to Stay Here

Jan 24, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Lias Andersson (24) at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 24, 2021; St. Louis, Missouri, USA; Los Angeles Kings center Lias Andersson (24) at Enterprise Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports /

His opportunities may have been limited with the Kings this season, but Lias Andersson remains undeterred, focusing on staying in Los Angeles.

The 2020 NHL Draft was a pivotal time for the LA Kings as far as solidifying their future went.

From drafting blue-chip prospect Quinton Byfield to selecting promising young defensemen Brock Faber and Helge Grans, the Kings showed that there are very serious about their future with the hopes of contending for a Stanley Cup sooner rather than later. But, the draft itself isn’t where the silver-and-black stopped.

During the event, the Kings also made a trade, acquiring Lias Andersson from the New York Rangers.

Drafted seventh overall by the Blueshirts in 2017, there were rumblings about Andersson’s attitude that made him a good conversational topic for a potential trade. Whatever the exact reasons were to make Andersson a valuable trade commodity, Rob Blake and the Kings jumped at the opportunity, giving the Rangers a second-round draft pick in exchange.

While hopes were definitely high for him entering this season, Lias Andersson didn’t see enough action with the Kings as some would have hoped, playing in just 14 games for the silver-and-black. Of course, for the 22-year-old, he’s been very busy this season, playing in three different leagues.

Following 19 games in his native Sweden for HV71 Jonkoping, Andersson came to North America, splitting time between the AHL and the NHL, suiting up for 14 games for each the Kings and the Ontario Reign. But, now that this season is wrapping up and the Kings are closer to being eliminated from postseason contention, Andersson is focused on the future and what he can bring the Kings down the road.

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Something Andersson has been getting used to this season is entering the Kings lineup from both the taxi squad and from being called up from Ontario. Following practice on Thursday, he was asked whether one situation was better than the other in terms of preparation.

“No. I mean, I always try to stay sharp and ready,” Andersson said. “I don’t know if it makes a difference to be on the taxi squad or not. You know, I just try to stay in shape and keep my conditioning up and keep my mind up all the time. So, I don’t know if I’m more prepared or not, but [my] body feels great and head feels good, so, yeah.”

On the one hand, the taxi squad has allowed Andersson to spend time on the ice with the big club, albeit only during practice, whereas being with the Reign, while not with the regular Kings roster, would allow him to play regular games. Regardless, this has not been a concern for the centerman thus far.

As is the case with most players, promotion to the NHL, while exhilarating, also means a decrease in minutes played, a less-defined role, if you will. Andersson is no exception to this but admitted that he’s been more focused on what he can control, to make the most of his opportunity with the big club.

“Yeah, I know I just try to play as good as I can every night,” noted the 22-year-old. “Of course, I want to get my minutes up and, you know, hopefully, one day with the Kings, get that same role I have down in Ontario. So, you know, working hard every day for it and feeling I’m taking steps every day and getting better.”

For the native of Smogen, Sweden, though, while he did benefit from his time with the Reign, which included collecting five goals and nine assists, he’d rather not return to Ontario. That, of course, is much more of a testament to achieving his NHL dream than it is a detriment to the Reign.

“Just going to earn my ice time and happy to be here and I want to stay here,” Andersson emphasized. “And I don’t want to go back [to Ontario], so I’m just going to earn my ice time and earn my spot here.”

Perhaps we didn’t see as much of Lias Andersson in a Kings’ uniform this season as we would have hoped to but it is worth noting that the youngster made a positive contribution to the big club.

In his 14 games for the Kings thus far, Andersson scored two goals and has averaged 10:51 of ice time per game. His 38.6% in the faceoff circle isn’t anything to write home about right now but give it time.

It will be interesting to see where Lias Andersson fits in with the Kings after this season but the Swedish center certainly has the right attitude and the ideal amount of determination to become a more regular member of this team.

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