It isn’t hard to think of who the Los Angeles Kings’ best defenseman is — Drew Doughty. It’s an automatic response. However, that may not have been the case through 15 games this season. The Athletic’s Jordan Samuels-Thomas (subscription required) writes that Sean Walker has been the unsung hero on defense for a Kings’ team that has struggled this year.
The 5-foot-11, 194-pound blueliner has been the top performer in most statistical categories for the Kings’ this year. He ranks second among defensemen with six points, but is tops in 5×5 play in Corsi-for per/60 and Corsi-for percentage, while he is also third among Kings’ defensemen in expected goals per/60, while also showing off strong offense and possession numbers.
While Walker doesn’t have the immense talent that Doughty had, he has been a bright spot on the Kings’ current roster.
- Las Vegas Review Journal’s David Schoen reports that Vegas Golden Knights forward Alex Tuch had a setback Friday after sustaining an upper-body injury last week. The original hope was for Tuch to meet up with the team on their road trip, but with just two days remaining on that trip, it doesn’t look like Tuch will be meeting up with the team. “I was hoping he was going to come in for this trip. He’s not coming in. There’s nothing that changed with his injury,” said head coach Gerard Gallant. Tuch has appeared in just two games for the Golden Knights this season.
- Adrian Dater of ColoradoHockeyNow reports that Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen’s status remains vague. Rantanen has been working out on his own, but has yet to skate on the ice as of yet. The forward was injured on Oct. 21, suffering a lower-body injury, but head coach Jared Bednar said he had no idea when Rantanen might get back on the ice.
- Minnesota Wild forward Jason Zucker got the point after the first period Thursday night when head coach Bruce Boudreau benched him for a large amount of time in the final 40 minutes of play after the winger struggled defensively that allowed the San Jose Sharks to get out to an early lead. According to Michael Russo of The Athletic (subscription required), Zucker only played two shifts in the second period and five in the third, playing in a season-low 10:09. “We talk about it all the time. We show him all the time,” Boudreau said about Zucker’s defensive struggles. “He’s gotta be committed to doing it all the time, not just when you feel like it.”