Trevor Lewis’ NHL career is far from over, even though it’s closer to the end than the beginning. Since being selected 17th overall at the 2006 NHL Draft, he’s been on a fantastic journey. His two Stanley Cups with the Kings followed by a few years away from the organization that brought him back home to Los Angeles this past summer is too simplistic of a narrative. There’s way more to it. While calling it a cautionary tale wouldn’t quite be the right phrase, to say his journey should be studied by younger players is absolutely accurate.
In 56 USHL games during his draft year, Lewis had the second most goals (33) and points (75). He followed that up with a better than point-per-game season in the OHL just one year later, putting up 73 points (29G, 44A) in 62 games for the Owen Sound Attack. That same team featured future NHLers Bobby Ryan and Wayne Simmonds. The trio were coached by Mike Stothers, and he helped make them into men.
A few years later, as a 22-year-old forward, the Utah native recorded 20 goals with the Manchester Monarchs during his second and final full-time stint in the American Hockey League. By the time he found his way to Los Angeles for the 2010-11 season, Lewis was well on his way to reinventing himself.
Gone were the days of being known as an offensive threat. To stick in the NHL, he needed to become more of a defensive specialist. Similar to Ian Laperriere a decade prior, Lewis became one of the Kings high-character glue guys. A coach’s favorite and extremely dependable. He was productive at center or wing, and could easily move up and down the lineup, as needed.
Saturday night marked NHL game No. 900 for Lewis. And it wasn’t your typical 900 games from a former first rounder either. He earned nearly each and every one of those games the hard way, often grinding away on the fourth line.
“His story is a really good one for the organization right now,” said coach Todd McLellan. “Sometimes, we have to share that a little bit more maybe with [Alex Laferriere] or [Brandt Clarke] or some of these others. Trevor was drafted as a high-end scorer. He’s won two Cups because he’s been able to adjust his game. It doesn’t mean he can’t score — obviously, we saw that. But, he’s been able to adjust his game and continues to play at a very high level. We have a ton of confidence in him, [Carl Grundstrom] and [Blake Lizotte]. I think you can see that, the way we use them and the situations we put them in. And I think the team understands that and appreciates their effort. To Louie’s point, he is a real good story; not just for our players, but for a lot of drafted players.”
Caught up with Lewis post-game and he had lots of praise for Carl Grundstrom. Noted how 91 talks way more on the ice than in the room. Also commented how much he reminds him of Dustin Brown — pointing out the way he goes through people and battles in the hard areas of the ice.
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By finding the back of the net in his milestone game on Saturday, that gives Lewis two goals now just eight games into his 2023-24 campaign.
“Once I’m done [playing], I’ll kind of look back and it’ll be a pretty special game. It was just kind of another game tonight,” said Lewis in his typical humble way after the Kings 4-3 shootout loss to Vegas.
Also known to mix in some subtle humor to his conversations, the 36-year-old veteran added, “I don’t score too many goals, so every goal is always fun.”
Maybe it was the switch from his traditional No. 22 jersey back to his rookie No. 61 this season that has him tapping into some fountain of youth.
How much further can he extend this story?
With 682 games played with the Kings now, Lewis sits 11th on the club’s all-time list. He’s 54 games behind Butch Goring for 10th and would need another six after that to move past Jonathan Quick. However, the milestone that would probably mean more to him is NHL game No. 1,000. That would require him to sign with a team for one more season, as he’ll come up just short this year, even if he plays in all 82 contests. It’s really too early to cross that bridge. Yet, if he was to return to LA for another season, he could conceivably also pass Mattias Norstrom (780) and Rob Blake (805) in all-time games played with the Kings. That would push him up to No. 7 on the LA list. What an accomplishment that would be.
Lead photo via ALo Images
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