Here are five takeaways from the defensive heavy Kings v Kings Showcase.
It was a fun late afternoon of hockey at the Toyota Arena in Ontario. In the “Kings v Kings Showcase,” Team Black, headlined by veterans Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Jonathan Quick, beat Team White 1-0. But it was goaltending and an excellent goal by Samuel Fagemo that stole the show.
Here are a few takeaways from the afternoon of hockey.
1. Samuel Fagemo is ready for the NHL.
Samuel Fagemo’s goal in the first 25 minute period of 5 on 5 play was rather impressive, to say the least.
With some momentum built, Fagemo receives the puck from Arthur Kaliyev at the red line. Skating up the left side, he takes advantage of a bad line change from Team White and heads into the zone. Sean Durzi, who was late to arrive, forces Sammy to the outside. But Fagemo’s speed and puck protection on the backhand opens a cut across Cal Peterson and into an open net.
Fagemo is a goal scorer. That’s what he did in his entire career in the SHL, scoring 27 goals in 86 games with Frolunda, and the AHL last year, netting ten goals in 32 games with the Ontario Reign.
LA Kings’ Head Coach Todd McLellan is taking notice. “I think Sammy gets lost in the talk or the hype about the first-round picks and all that type of stuff. — He’s a hell of a player. You know, 18 months ago, he was one of the top scores at the World Junior Tournament, and he does a lot of things well 200 feet. Not only did he score tonight, but he checked well and made smart plays with the puck in different areas. So his game has grown, and he has an opportunity at a real good chance of staying if he continues on.”
For this team to be successful, goal-scoring will have to improve. So, at this point, I don’t think it is a far cry to start the season with the best goal-scoring prospects LA has to offer in Fagemo and Arthur Kaliyev. #playthekids
2. Low scoring, but one of the better Kings v Kings games, according to McLellan.
What do you get when you split the LA Kings into two teams and have them play each other? DEFENSE!
A little unfortunate for fans hoping to see some goals to come and witness a 1-0 “game” of sorts. But if you ask Todd McLellan, he was happy with how the two sides played and even called it one of the better Kings v Kings games he’s been a part of.
Postgame, McLellan mentioned he was satisfied with the overall pace of the showcase. “There were some skill plays, some physicalities, and good goaltending. So we’re pleased where we are, and we got a lot of work to do.”
3. Roster battles on full display.
We all know about the plethora of players vying for spots on the bottom six of the LA lineup. Players like Martin Frk, Austin Wagner, Blake Lizotte, Brenden Lemieux, and a few others have been battling it out during the early stages of camp. And those roster battles materialized during the intrasquad showcase.
Early in the first period, Austin Wagner caught Brenden Lemieux with a solid body check, knocking Lemiuex down to the ice. Brenden did not take too kindly to the hit and got up quickly to confront Wagner and deliver a healthy cross-check. It was an interesting scene so early in the scrimmage between two players who know this might be more than just a showcase.
Martin Frk, another one of the players hoping to impress enough for a spot on the lineup come October 14th, had a good game, I thought. His energy was palpable throughout the two periods of 5 on 5 play. He was finishing checks, used his speed to intimidate defenders, and utilized his cannon of a shot on several occasions.
It’s tough to imagine a spot for Frk to make the team at this moment. But if he continues this type of play, it would definitely help his chances.
- Don’t expect players like Drew Doughty, Anze Kopitar, or Dustin Brown for Monday’s game against the Coyotes. McLellan mentioned Adrian Kempe as the only real “senior” veteran who will be on the ice.
- The Monday night preseason opener against Arizona is not being televised, unfortunately. But you can hear the Kings take on the Coyotes on LA’s iHeartRadio station.
- We should see two entirely different lineups for the first two preseason games for LA