What will Troy Stecher bring to the LA Kings?

Albeit the LA Kings were said to have been in on big-name players like Conor Garland and Jakob Chychrun, Rob Blake brought in six-year veteran defenseman Troy Stecher in exchange for a 2022 7th round pick from the Detroit Red Wings.

Stecher, 27, has appeared in 16 games with the Red Wings this season, where he has registered one goal and one assist. Although the Red Wings have played 62 games, you may wonder why Stecher hasn’t appeared in roughly 71% of the games. Owing to Troy missing so many is because of a wrist injury that he had incurred earlier in the season.

Despite the loss of Troy Stecher, the Wings didn’t miss much in their lineup. Stecher was out some games in the 2020-21 season because he was a healthy scratch. It was evident that the coaching staff in Detroit wasn’t too fond of Stecher.

Signing with the Wings back in 2020 on a two-year deal carrying an AAV of $1.7 million, Stecher was latterly coming off of a 17 point season with his hometown team, the Vancouver Canucks. Stecher signed with the Canucks in 2016 as a free agent fresh off of a three-year stint with the University of North Dakota. Notably, he had played on the same defensive line as current LA King Christian Wolanin in North Dakota.

Making a sudden impact from the get-go in 2016-17, Stecher tallied 24 points in 71 games with the Canucks.

Troy spent the following three years with the Canucks, where he suited up for 215 regular-season games and recorded 51 points. He also played in 17 playoff games, where he had three points.

By any means, Stecher wasn’t a star, nor was he a revolutionary player to the Vancouver Canucks. Still, it indeed came as a surprise when the Canucks didn’t qualify the defenseman once his contract expired. In disappointment, Stecher signed a two-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings.

In his first year in Detroit, he played a substantial two-way game while recording 11 points. He wasn’t anything special, but the idea of Stecher playing with Dekeyser didn’t sit well with his point production.

This year, Stecher has had the worst season of his career. For most of this year, he has played alongside Danny Dekeyser once again. Dekeyser, known to have severely fallen off in production, supposedly dragged down his performance.

Now that Stecher is with the LA Kings, he’ll look to hopefully revive his career and once again prove himself as a suitable bottom pair defenseman with a righteous defensive touch to his game.

Stecher’s game

Stecher has a few holes in his game, including his non-existent offensive production and a few of his panic decisions. Still, as a third-pairing defenseman looking to redeem himself, he’ll undeniably pick up the production.

As for his defensive play, his positioning is fantastic. Whether it’s his placement in front of the net or blocking shots (by the way, he’s led the Red Wings in isolated blocks per 60 with 3.52), he’s always there to make the perfect defensive play. With him being 5’10″, you’d think that he would be knocked off the puck easily, but it’s the complete opposite. Stecher is tough to get the puck away from, and despite his small size, he matches up against some of the more prominent players really well.

His stick work in the defensive zone is a huge plus, too. He’s constantly moving it around, looking to break up passes and create some sort of interception. The chaos of his stickwork causes the opponent to lose the puck, which lets Stecher pick up the giveaways and break it out. 

That’s one of the issues that the Kings have struggled with this season, especially quite recently.

Zone exits and offensive zone entries have been the killer of the LA Kings this year, and the fact that one of the best parts about Stecher’s game is how talented he is at his zone exits.

Jfresh’s model proves to us sincerely how adept Stecher can be. His exits sitting at 94%, his pass exits at 91%, and his carry exits at 87%. Bringing in a defenseman that can put up those analytical numbers for a seventh-round pick was wondrous.

The puck battles statistic also stands out, seeing how he wins 92% of his puck battles. For a guy who’s 5’10, it makes it even more impressive. Having that tough guy on your team that will win those battles is beneficial, and the Kings have brought him in for cheap.

He doesn’t often make a big hit, nor does he drop the gloves too often, but it could be momentum-changing when he does hit.

Stecher also gets incredibly creative with the puck, especially when he’s confident. Back when he tore up the IIHF with team Canada, he was on his top game, and he pulled off moves nobody thought he could.

He doesn’t do that sort of stuff in the NHL too often, but it would be interesting to see the Richmond, Canada native, attempt to pull off something like that in-game. With the speedy and crafty style that the Kings do play, we may see Stecher attempt to pull off a few more moves like that. 

It’s noteworthy to point out that Stecher solely relies on his self-esteem. His morale does show up in multiple ways, and it impacts his game in its own way.

The first one is self-confidence and self-evaluation. When Stecher feels comfortable and has enough belief in himself, he plays like the best version of himself. He’s always going to try something new, and he’s continuously going to find a way to make a risky– but worth it– play. When he doesn’t have confidence, he struggles and falls into a slump. In his second year in Vancouver and his entire tenure with Detroit, we saw that happen.

The second part comes in the locker room. Stecher’s an energy guy who’s never afraid to yell in and out of the locker room. Thanks to his successful leadership on and off the ice, he’s served as a favorite amongst fans, coaches, and teammates in Vancouver and Detroit. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the team’s blood pumping so that the rest of the team gets their stuff figured out. Having a fun locker room helps the team win. With Brendan Lemieux out, Stecher can serve as that happy-go-lucky, fired-up teammate who’ll excite the team and the fans.

One of the things to look forward to with Stecher coming to the LA Kings is his connection with defenseman Alex Edler. A few years back, Stecher described Edler as his role model and mentioned how cool it was to play on a line with him.

Speaking of playing on a line with him, look out for that. Stecher played alongside Edler for three out of four years in Vancouver, and they weren’t a line to be taken lightly. Stecher played the responsible defensive game while Elder had more of an offensive touch to the line. They both felt like two-way defensemen, but they fit together perfectly. That line was also a massive help to Vancouver’s 2020 playoff run, which saw them fall to the Vegas Golden Knights in game 7 of the second round.

With Stecher coming to LA, it’s very likely that we may see a reunion of the Edler-Stecher line in black and silver. Maybe Stecher will bounce back playing alongside a player he’s looked up to for a good chunk of his career.

Having Stecher in LA isn’t going to move the needle too much. It’s a solid depth piece addition that will strengthen the back end while we wait for the team to heal up from all the injuries they’ve succumbed to. However, don’t be surprised if Stecher earns a spot on the roster for the rest of the season. He’s capable of being worth much more than a seventh, and he will try his best to prove it.

If the LA Kings can revive the Canucks version of Stecher, they’ll come out of this trade victorious. Even if it doesn’t work out, there’s practically no risk. It’s only a seventh-round pick, and the Kings already have a loaded prospect pool. Even though it isn’t the monumental move, we may have hoped to see from the Kings. Troy Stecher is an excellent addition for a comparatively cheap price.

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