Despite the fact that the entire Stanley Cup team from the 2011-2012 Los Angeles Kings will be returning, that doesn’t mean that roster spots are set in stone.
When you consider how offensively incompetent this team was during the regular season, I wouldn’t expect the lineup to stay the same as it was during the postseason for too long. Young guys, like a couple top prospects in Tyler Toffoli and Andrei Loktionov, will get chances to stick at some point. Whether that’s in training camp or during the season we’ll have to see.
But there are also guys on the roster already that could see an increased role with the team in the upcoming year. One of those guys is forward Jordan Nolan.
With the success of Dwight King, who could also see some more ice time this year, Nolan sort of flew under the radar in the bottom six for the Kings. But he was a valuable part of their run, nonetheless.
During the postseason, Nolan was part of a fourth line that didn’t score many goals, but was terrific on the forecheck and was a nightmare for opposing defenses to deal with. He had just two points during the postseason, but one of them came as an assist on Colin Fraser‘s huge goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Nolan has good size, standing 6’3″, and combines that with decent speed. He’s not going to put a ton of points on the board, but he’s the kind of guy you want in your lineup, as he brings that physical element, but doesn’t completely slow down the rest of the line, like some big forwards can.
Nolan may have his work cut out for him to grab more ice time, especially if he ends up competing with it against a similar player in Dwight king. But he’s shown his value to this Kings team, even though he’s done it quietly, and could be in line for a bit more time this year.