Coach Murray on Kyle Clifford’s Promotion

The Kings drafted Kyle Clifford in the second round of the 2009 NHL Draft. A few months later after rookie camp in LA, then-assistant coach Mark Hardy called the young left wing his MVP of a two-game series with Phoenix – saying he played hard every shift, showed tons of grit and looked like a true power forward.

Even though he went on to impress others in the organization during the full training camp that followed, he was still just 18 years old at the time and not ready to make the jump up to the NHL. He was returned to his junior team in Barrie (OHL), where he put up 57 points in 58 games (28 g, 29 a) and totaled more than 110 penalty minutes for the second straight season.

In addition to his stats, other aspects of his game were being noticed around the junior league and in the annual OHL Coaches Poll last spring he was voted the best defensive forward in the Eastern Conference and second in the ‘Hardest Worker’ category.

Over the summer he was invited to Team Canada’s evaluation camp for the just completed World Junior Championships (something he reported on here).

Then, with all the attention focused on Brayden Schenn’s chances of making the Kings roster this past September, all Clifford did was go out and earn himself a spot in the NHL. Starting on the fourth line with limited minutes, he gradually moved to the third line and yesterday was promoted to the second line – along side Michal Handzus at center and Dustin Brown on the right side.

Given coach Terry Murray‘s frequent line changes over the past month or so, I asked him how long of a rope Clifford will get playing on that second line…

TM:  “A very long rope. I really like the way his game is developing. He’s been an incredible surprise for all of us from the day he got here in training camp. He’s growing each and every practice, each and every game. I’m seeing good things happen with confidence carrying the puck, making plays now and he’s bringing stuff that we talked about (earlier in the scrum) with Simmonds – that grit, that hard play. He’s establishing a presence in the game and certainly in our line-up. He will get a very long rope.”

Clifford – aka The Colonel – makes his official debut on the second line tomorrow night against St. Louis.

It will be Clifford’s 20th birthday too – and we’ll have more on that tomorrow.

The Mayor
www.twitter.com/Mayor119
www.facebook.com/MayorsManor

RELATED ARTICLES:

Warming Up for the World Juniors w/ Kyle Clifford

Clifford Explains His Nickname – The Colonel

LA-PHX Rookie Game Preview with Kyle Clifford

The Colonel Bobblehead

Coach Murray on Clifford – Nov 5, 2010

.
photo courtesy of Michael Zampelli

Recent Articles

TSN REPLAY: Hoven Breaks Down the LA Kings, Mike Futa Situation

Follow @mayorNHL
Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on TSN Radio, where he joined host Kevin Olszewski to discuss several NHL related topics – including what went down this week between the Kings and Mike Futa.
Today’s radio segment can be heard using the player below or download any previous appearances for free on the MayorsManor […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Players No. 7 and 8

It’s time for another pair of prospect reports! After revealing the first two players inside the Top 10 last week, we’re back with another pair of future Kings – and both are defensemen.
For anybody new to our rankings, know that you’ve come to the right place. Many view this as the definitive guide to the […]

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Players No. 9 and 10

We hear that all of our loyal readers are bored these days. They’ve caught up on all their Netflix shows and are ready to get after some hockey related reading. So, here we are. Like your favorite pair of jeans or a cozy blanket. We’re back with the latest round of prospect reports.
In all seriousness, […]

Major News Items

LA Kings 2020 Prospect Rankings – Goalie Depth Chart

Before we get started here, some context… While normally our Midseason Prospect Rankings come out shortly after the World Junior Championships, we held off in anticipation of any deals the Kings may make prior to the … [Read More...]

More Prospect News

About John Hoven

John Hoven is a member of the of the Professional Hockey Writers Association and co-hosts Kings of the Podcast. He is also the founder and editor of MayorsManor.com, which has been named Best Sports Blog in Los Angeles by LA Weekly and Hockey Blog of the Year by Yahoo Sports. Click "ABOUT OUR TEAM" above for a full bio.