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

2015 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7

At the NHL Draft Table with Mark Yannetti, Kings Director of Scouting

Coming out of last weekend’s NHL Draft and heading into next week’s Development Camp, we’re turning up the focus on our prospect coverage. For the Kings’ 2015 Draft class, the work is just about to begin, as they will get their first taste of what will be needed to hopefully reach the NHL someday. Behind-the-scenes, […]

TSN Radio

FREE REPLAY: Hoven on TSN Radio – Talking Sekera, Stoll, and Williams

Follow @MayorsManor Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on TSN Radio in Winnipeg with Rick Ralph, where they discussed what the Milan Lucic trade means for the Los Angeles Kings, the team’s interest in signing Andrej Sekera, Jarret Stoll’s status heading into free agency, and more. You can give today’s segment a listen using […]

Kopitar-Anze-hockey-LA-Kings

FREE REPLAY: Hoven on Sportsnet, Talking Kopitar, Lucic, and Jones

Follow @MayorsManor Enjoy a free replay of John Hoven on Sportsnet Radio in Calgary with Pat Steinberg and Rob Kerr, where they discussed the latest on a possible contract extension for Anze Kopitar, Boston trading Milan Lucic to Los Angeles, the status of Andrej Sekera, what happened with Martin Jones, and more. You can give […]

Major News Items

Forbort AHL Burger King

LA Kings 2014-15 Midseason Prospect Rankings: The Top 5

Finally, the wait is over. With the Honorable Mentions and Nos. 6-10 prospects previously revealed in other articles, we are now prepared to share the final five players making up the latest edition of our L.A. Kings Top … [Read More...]

More Prospect News