Los Angeles at the NHL level fell to 1-5-2 in their last eight. Conversely, Ontario has improved their record to 6-1-1 in the same number of games. The organization’s plan to get younger and better has become more of a reality. While the Kings overall record has fallen to second worst in the league, they’ve set themselves up to pick no worse than fifth overall if the season ended today.
As the plan has unfolded, there have certainly been players in the pipeline who improved their play and given us more hope for the future.
JANUARY’S TOP PERFORMERS
NO. 3 STAR
Akil Thomas: Forward, Niagara IceDogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2018)
Regular Season: 16 goals, 47 assists, plus-8, 41 PIM in 37 games played
1 goal, 1 assist, plus-1, 2 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Thomas, despite all the fanfare he’s found himself involved with the past month due to his gold medal-winning goal for Team Canada, doesn’t garner a lot of attention on his new team in Peterborough. In 10 games, he’s tallied one goal but added 18 helpers. Despite scoring nearly two points-per-game and having a hand in 56% of his team’s scoring, Thomas has only been recognized as one of the three stars once.
Peterborough set themselves up very comfortably for the playoffs, as they loaded up at the trade deadline and sit sixth overall in the league. Thomas, while he missed a lot of time playing in the WJC, has pushed himself up to the team lead in scoring with 63 points in 37 games.
Akil Thomas with a great chance in the 2nd period.
Those hands! #OHL @PetesOHLhockey @Petes_Updates pic.twitter.com/JOpG5CmUXr
— Caitlin Berry (@caitlinsports) January 24, 2020
NO. 2 STAR
Jacob Ingham: Goalie, Kitchener Rangers, OHL (6th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 23-5-5, 2.76 GAA, .922 SV%, 2 SO in 33 games played
The rangy goaltender has really turned his season around since returning from injury. From the end of November to the current date, Ingham has registered a 17-2-2 record. While less stellar than December, Ingham went 7-1-2 in January.
Though Kitchener may have benefited from a coaching change in November, as the team was not meeting expectations, Ingham frequently gets recognition for his contributions. He’s been recognized as the player of the week twice since December (with one such honor awarded in January) and a star of the game three times in 10 games.
NO. 1 STAR
Arthur Kaliyev: Forward, Hamilton Bulldogs, OHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 35 goals, 41 assists, plus-1, 22 PIM in 43 games played
4 goals, 2 assists, plus-4, 4 PIM in 5 games played (WJC)
It was far from the sniper’s most productive month, but it’s among the most memorable. Kaliyev’s pair of goals against Niagara over the weekend set the franchise record for career goals with the Bulldogs at 116. Matthew Strome held the previous record of 115. He added another goal on Sunday to grow his record further.
Kaliyev’s overall scoring has taken a bit of a dip, as teammate Jan Jenik was injured in the WJC. He went through a seven-game goal scoring drought in January, but still added 10 helpers in that span. He fell to fifth overall in overall points and fourth in goals in the entire league. It’s hard to fault him, though; while 2020 NHL Entry Draft eligible prospect Jan Mysak has been on a tear, the team depth is questionable. The next highest scorer on the active roster in Hamilton has 38 points – half of the 76 times Kaliyev has found himself on the scoresheet this season.
– Aidan Dudas has picked up at least a point in four of the last five games, scoring 6 times (1 G, 5 A) in that span.
– Lukáŝ Pařík’s injury during the WJC was minimal, as he returned to action on January 7.
– Braden Doyle fell to third overall in defensemen scoring, though he has picked up five points (1 G, 4 A) in as many games.
– While Cole Hults was blanked over the weekend, he kept hold of the lead in scoring among defensemen in the Big Ten with 24 points.
– Kim Nousiainen missed a week due to the flu, yet he tallied four points (1 G, 3 A) in seven games during the month of January.
– Alex Turcotte has missed three straight games due to a lower-body injury. It’s unfortunate timing, as he just started regaining his scoring touch. As discussed by MayorsManor editor John Hoven on the most recent Kings of the Podcast episode, we are hoping he’ll be back next weekend.
– Since returning from the WJC, Samuel Fagemo scored seven points (3 G, 4 A) in eight games.
– Jordan Spence made a strong case for himself to be one of the stars of the month. He’s picked up 12 points (4 G, 8 A) in his last 11 games – which includes two times in which he registered three points.
Braden Doyle: Defense, Dubuque Fighting Saints, USHL (6th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 7 goals, 19 assists, plus-12, 6 PIM in 35 games played
Aidan Dudas: Forward, Owen Sound Attack, OHL (4th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 12 goals, 27 assists, plus-9, 14 PIM in 34 games played
0 goals, 2 assists, plus-0, 2 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Samuel Fagemo: Forward, Frölunda HC, SHL (2nd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 9 goals, 9 assists, plus-0, 6 PIM in 28 games played
7 goals, 5 assists, plus-9, 4 PIM in 10 games played (CHL)
8 goals, 5 assists, plus-3, 6 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Dávid Hrenák: Goalie, St. Cloud State University Huskies, NCHC (5th round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 9-8-4, 2.81 GAA, .901 SV%, 2 SO in 24 games played
Cole Hults: Defense, Penn State Nittany Lions, Big Ten (5th round pick in 2017)
Regular season: 5 goals, 19 assists, plus-18, 18 PIM in 28 games played
Andre Lee: Forward, UMass-Lowell River Hawks, Hockey East (7th round pick in 2019)
Regular Season: 7 goals, 11 assists, plus-7, 18 PIM in 24 games played
Jacob Moverare: Defense, Frölunda HC, SHL (4th round pick in 2016)
Regular season: 6 goals, 8 assists, plus-13, 10 PIM in 37 games played (SHL)
0 goals, 5 assists, plus-0, 6 PIM in 12 games played (CHL)
Kim Nousiainen: Defense, KalPa, Liiga (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 3 goals, 8 assists, minus-4, 24 PIM in 38 games played
1 goal, 3 assists, plus-2, 4 PIM in 7 games played (WJC)
Lukas Parik: Goalie, Spokane Chiefs, WHL (3rd round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 13-6-2, 2.85 GAA, .911 SV%, 0 SO in 22 games played
0-2-0, 6.17, .846 SV%, 0 SO in 2 games played (WJC)
Markus Phillips: Defense, London Knights, OHL (4th round pick in 2017)
Regular season: 2 goals, 2 assists, plus-10, 0 PIM in 10 games played
Bulat Shafigullin: Forward, Reaktor Nizhnekamsk, KHL (3rd round pick in 2018)
Regular season: 9 goals, 7 assists, plus-7, 10 PIM in 12 games played (MHL)
0 goals, 0 assists, minus-1, 0 PIM in 2 games played (KHL)
Jordan Spence: Defense, Moncton Wildcats, QMJHL (4th round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 7 goals, 31 assists, plus-28, 20 PIM in 43 games played
Alex Turcotte: Forward, Wisconsin Badgers, Big Ten (1st round pick in 2019)
Regular season: 6 goals, 11 assists, minus-9, 14 PIM in 21 games played
0 goals, 2 assists, minus-1, 6 PIM in 5 games played (WJC)
Karl Henriksson (NYR) gets his 1st #SHL point, and it's an amazing pass for the primary assist. Samuel Fagemo (LAK) gets the goal. pic.twitter.com/627sOQwOyP
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) January 30, 2020
NOTE: Author David Hofreiter can be found on Twitter @Davidenkness if you’re interested in talking more hockey with him or asking further questions about these players.