Birthdate: March 1, 1995
Birthplace: Detroit, Michigan
Weight: 205 lbs
Draft: 7th round, 194th overall, 2015 NHL Entry Draft
Matt Roy had a phenomenal 2022-2023 season for the LA Kings. He was their best defenseman. Steady Eddy is what I like to call Roy, and he lived up to that name this past season. Roy led all Kings skaters with 153 blocked shots and added a career-high in goals (9) and points (26). Among defensemen on the Kings, Roy’s nine goals were tied for first with Drew Doughty and Sean Durzi, and his 26 points were ranked 3rd. Throughout the season, he was on the second defense pair, mainly with Durzi to start the year and then Vladislav Gavrikov after the trade deadline. The latter formed a duo with Roy and was the best pairing for the Kings down the stretch, earning the name “GavRoykov” from media and fans. At season’s end, Roy was named the unsung hero, voted by his teammates.
MATT ROY'S SECOND OF THE NIGHT SENDS US TO OT‼️ pic.twitter.com/llWvIHIZwQ
— LA Kings (@LAKings) October 19, 2022
Roy will be back on the second pair, we assume with Gavrikov, which means we could potentially get a full season of the “GavRoykov” pairing. Why potentially? Roy is in the last year of his deal, and the Kings have Brandt Clarke and Jordan Spence fighting for a roster spot. If the Kings wanted to find a way to put both prospects in the lineup, one of them, or Roy, would have to play on their offhand. It’s rare for Todd McLellan to put two young players with little experience on the back end together, so it would seem that pair would have to be broken up for Spence and Clarke to be in the lineup. Do the Kings want another right-handed defenseman playing on the left side again? Probably not. I don’t think that is something the Kings will want to do again even though I believe they both should be in the lineup.
Nevertheless, in a contract year, look for Roy to continue being a stable presence on the back end at 5-on-5 and on the penalty kill. If the “GavRoykov” pairing is together for a full season and performs how they did after the deadline, they could be the best defensive pairing for the Kings and probably a top shutdown pair in the league.
Featured image credit: Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images