When you look at the young talent on the blue line for this Los Angeles Kings club, the tendency is to focus on the absence of goal scoring from Drew Doughty or the abundance of it from Jake Muzzin.
The defenseman that should be earning more of the attention as far as the Kings are concerned is the one that has taken over as a force for this team and has emerged as one of the better young blue liners in the league: Slava Voynov.
Whether you’re looking at regular ol’ plus/minus or looking at the advanced stats, the numbers all indicate that the Kings are better when Voynov is on the ice. Not necessarily better off than when Doughty is on the ice, but Voynov has proven to be a key contributor for the Kings.
His point total this season is already tied with that of last year. He has 20 points on the season, including 16 assists. That number is already four more than he had in 54 games last season. He’s playing bigger than his size may indicate as well, with 65 hits in 32 games on the year.
As far as his plus/minus goes, he’s a plus-9 for the year. He’s only finished with a minus rating in seven games this season. His Corsi looks good as well, as it’s way into the positive, sitting at an even 10. The Kings are a team that doesn’t allow a lot of shots, so it’s easy to see why that number may look so good.
There were some questions initially, as to the mental makeup of Voynov and whether or not he was ready to take over as a full time player, but he has proven those questions to be baseless. Remember, this was a player that was part of the reason that the Kings felt comfortable trading Jack Johnson.
When you consider that, it becomes even more of a joke that the Kings were able to acquire Jeff Carter for Johnson, but that’s a punchline for another day.