LA Kings

The LA Kings take game two in the Arizona Rookie Faceoff.

It wasn’t pretty by any means, but the LA Kings‘ rookies continue their tournament weekend with another victory. They defeated the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 in a shootout at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

My three stars of the game:

Here are five takeaways from their victory in game two.

1. LA shows some of their “rookie”.

It was an entirely different game played compared to the 4-0 victory over the Avalanche on Friday. Sloppy would be a good assessment for the overall pace of the game, and Head Coach John Wroblewski seemed to agree.

“I think we showed some of our ‘rookie’ tonight. You know, it is a rookie camp. It’s a rookie tournament. And I think that maybe some of the successes that guys had and the team success that we had the other night might have been taken for granted a little bit going into tonight’s contest.”

Wins will always be accepted, of course, but in an exhibition like this for young players, a little more continuity of good overall play is something Kings’ management is looking for.

We’ll see how they finish in their final game against Vegas later today.

2. Jordan Spence displays some versatility.

With many changes to the lineup from the Friday game, the one that stood out to me the most was the switch of Jordan Spence to the left side to pair with Helge Grans.

The organizational depth on the right side of LA’s defense is something we’ve all come to comprehend. There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of room on the Kings’ or Reign roster for new right-shot defensemen to make an impact unless they can move to the opposite side. And we may have got a glimpse of one player making that switch in Jordan Spence.

Spence plays a mobile type of defensive game. He skates very well and can move the puck quickly up ice.

His game on Sunday night was full of ups and downs but I thought it was a good showing for the young defenseman. And it could be a look with Helge Grans as a potential defensive pairing in Ontario this coming season.

3. Alex Turcotte’s tenacity.

I thought I’d be going out on a limb saying Alex Turcotte has been the best forward for LA in these first two games, but Coach Wroblewski seemed to agree with that sentiment.

“I’m gonna try to steer away from too many positive and negative references to players. But I’ll just say this about Turcotte’s overall game and I thought he displayed it tonight. He showed his game as well as anyone did out there. And you’re right when you say feistiness, and tenacious, and then that skill on top of it, you’ve got you got him. That’s who he is. And, you know, I thought those first two games, he’s probably our most consistent player up front.”

It’ll be interesting to watch some of the battles come to training camp starting on Thursday. Some bottom-six positions will be available for the taking, and some rookies could be among the players to grab those open spots.

But if I had to put money on it right now, I’d bet on Alex Turcotte. Because right now, he looks the most NHL-ready.

4. Another solid goaltending effort for LA.

When you are a goalie playing his first game in quite some time, you want to see the puck early and often. That didn’t happen much for LA Kings netminder Jacob Ingham in Sunday night’s game.

“You play those exhibition games, or those inter-squad games and development camp, and they’re good and all, but nothing can recreate an actual game until you get into one, “the young netminder noted. “So, to not have much action in the first period is pretty tough. I mean, they tested me just probably once or twice, but then in the second period, it was just kind of resetting in the room and doing what I normally do. And you know, that happens. So there’s nothing to get nervous about or free away from the game plan.”

It’s been good to see the quality goaltending starts from Matt Villalta and now Jacob Ingham these past two games. There wasn’t a lot of volume thrown at Ingham on Sunday night, but when he was needed, he was up to the task. Especially in overtime when he made a ridiculous post-to-post blocker save stopping the Coyotes’ 2021 first-round pick Dylan Guenther to keep it a tie game.

5. Another solid showing from Aidan Dudas.

If Alex Turcotte has been the most consistent LA Kings forward during these two games for Coach Wroblewski, Aidan Dudas is not far behind.

Dudas took a rough hit late in the first period and, to be honest, it was one I didn’t think he would be able to bounce back from. But to his credit, he did. And he continued to play his “buzzsaw” type of game. There’s a lot to like when watching Dudas play the game of hockey.

He’s the type of player that teams need in order to be successful. He’ll do it all for you. He brings energy and momentum to the ice that rubs off on his teammates. It’s someone you want to play with.

I’m expecting Dudas to continue with the Reign this coming season, maybe in a larger role. But with the number of question marks on LA’s bottom six, who knows? Maybe we see another surprise out of camp for him.

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