Murray calls Voynov ‘a man,’ plans to play him big minutes

The last time the Kings played at Staples Center was Sunday, September 25th.

Slava Voynov – the only Kings defenseman to play in every possible pre-season game last month – was paired with Willie Mitchell that night. He went on to make the trip with the team to Europe. However, he was eventually was sent to Manchester before the season officially opened vs. the Rangers.

Tomorrow night, when the Kings return to their home arena Voynov will be back with Mitchell – due to an injury Drew Doughty suffered on Saturday in Philadelphia.

Voynov flew to LA yesterday and was on the ice for practice with the team earlier today. Afterwards, coach Terry Murray had the following comments about the young Russian blueliner…

“I really liked what Voynov did in the training camp. I thought all of his games were very impressive to me…he’s intelligent, he has an aggressive attitude and he has a very good skill level. He’s a second, third option player and he does a nice job on the power play. We’re looking at him as a veteran player who’s getting an opportunity to play, not a player who’s coming up just to fill in for an injured player.”

On how he’ll be used tomorrow night…

“I might start him. I want him to play, probably, big minutes. I just want him to play,” Murray said.  “He’s going to get into the line-up and play with Willie Mitchell. He’s not a kid (either), this is a man. He played in the elite level over in Russia before he even joined the Kings organization. He’s played some very good hockey since he’s been over in North America. I’m just trying to tie it all together with the confidence he showed us during training camp. His game was right where we needed it to be. There’s no problem with him handling the expectations. I think he’s a very confident young man.”

As noted in this morning’s weekly Prospect Report, Voynov had only played two games in Manchester, picking up one goal and one assist.  He was also a plus-5.

Prior to camp beginning, he was ranked number six on the MayorsManor list of LA’s top ten prospects.

In a recent article here, Murray talked about Voynov vs. Thomas Hickey, another top prospect among the Kings defensive group.

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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.

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