LA Kings defensive prospect Jordan Spence spoke about needing to adapt to the style of play this coming season in the AHL.
One of the more intriguing players participating in this year’s LA Kings Development Camp is Jordan Spence. The defenseman was plucked in the fourth round of the 2019 NHL Draft after scoring six goals with 43 assists for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL in his draft year. The young blueliner took home a plethora of accolades, including Defensive Rookie of the Year and overall Rookie of the Year.
The following season, the Sydney, Australia, native – by way of Japan – tallied nine goals and 52 points, increasing his point total from the previous season by three in eight fewer games. He began the 2020-21 season wearing a letter for Moncton, but Spence was traded to Val-d’Or mid-season, scoring a combined ten goals and 40 points in only 36 games.
Added, he was selected to Team Canada’s World Juniors team in Edmonton to start the 2021 calendar year. While he only played in two games, Spence cleaned up a bouncing puck, sniping a one-timer from the slot past the netminder to score Canada’s first goal in their matchup with Team Slovakia.
He’ll be joining head coach John Wroblewski and the Ontario Reign in the fall. Following Day 2 of the Kings Dev Camp, Spence spoke with the LA Kings media.
On being back in Los Angeles
it’s good to be back. The last time I was here was two years ago. So, yeah, I’m excited to be here.
On whether playing in the World Juniors impacted his confidence
I thought the World Juniors experience was — it was incredible. I was honored to be a part of that team. I only played two games and my confidence might have went down, but I think I just saw it in a different way of just being on that team and kind of knowing my role for that tournament. That’s what I was doing. And obviously, after the World Juniors, I went back to my former team and had a season there. So that’s when I kind of played my own game after that.
Thoughts on his own development thus far and whether he was nervous coming into camp
It’s nervous and exciting at the same time, but, for me, playing in the AHL this year, I just don’t want to change my game. Obviously, I have to adapt to the game and kind of, you know, play my game. And if there’s a thing or two that the coach tells me to do, obviously, I’ll change it and adapt to it as the season goes on.
On developing an early connection with Brandt Clarke
He’s a great player, and he’s a great guy off the ice. So it’s pretty easy for me to have a conversation with him. He has been asking quite a few questions just off-ice and what he should do and on-ice if he doesn’t know the drill, or if he’s confused, I’ll just tell him what to do. But, you know, he’s a smart guy as well, so he doesn’t really have to worry about that. It’s good for him to be here. And he’s also a great guy to the coach and to the players. So, yeah, it’s been good.
On what’s different about his game since being drafted two years ago
Two years ago, I was still a smaller guy. I was probably 5-foot-9, 5-foot-8, 165 pounds. Over those years, I just wanted to just work on my lower body and just gaining more muscle and obviously becoming stronger and faster throughout the season. And right now, I feel good with my body. I put up 10 to 15 pounds and on the ice, I feel good on the ice as well. I think that’s been the most improved. And there’s things to work on on the ice and off the ice as well. So I’m just really looking forward to now and the future.
On what the LA Kings have asked him to work on
With my offensive game, the Kings just wanted me to play as I am right now. And they really want me to work on my defensive game as well. You know, I’m a defense[man], so in order to be a good player, and to be an impact player, on any team, I have to defend well. After I do that, and kind of do my thing in the offensive zone, I’ll become a better player.
On the goals set forth for the week in Dev Camp
We’re learning a lot about positioning and doing the right things on the ice and being wherever you want to be and doing the things that we have to do in the defensive zone. So, Sean O’Donnell and Matt Greene have been doing really well with the D. It’s really good to learn the basics, but that goes a long way. Once you get to the next level and as the days go on, and hopefully, from today, and tomorrow, and the upcoming days, we start to learn more about it.
On the general feeling amongst the members of the prospect pool
There’s some returnees in the development camp and for those guys – Aidan Dudas, Alex Turcotte, Quinton Byfield – they played in Ontario last season and they know all the things that happened during the season and what they should do to become better players and how they act in the dressing room. So, it’s kind of good to see that and for me to learn from them because they played [in] Ontario last season. And they’re also great guys. So it’s really just, talk to them and have a conversation with them.