How Jake Muzzin Can Fulfill His Potential on Los Angeles Kings’ Blue Line

Despite a strong beginning to his NHL career, Los Angeles Kings blueliner Jake Muzzin still boasts untapped promise.

The numbers he’s registered thus far are reason for optimism, and he appears to have surged in confidence over the past year following a rocky 2013 postseason. 

Granted, some of that progress may boil down to the steadiness of his regular partner, Drew Doughty, who ranks among the very finest defensemen in the world. The two-time Stanley Cup and Olympic champion is a paragon of composure and all-around brilliance, continually placing his teammates in positions to thrive with crafty passes, elusive breakouts and sterling defense—and Muzzin may well be the greatest beneficiary of his talents.

At this point in time, declaring the 25-year-old a true first-pairing rearguard is premature. Reaching that status down the line is certainly possible, although it will require a few tweaks to his game.


Puck Management

Strictly in terms of controlling shot attempts, Muzzin is unparalleled among defensemen. He has led the league’s entire blue-line corps in Corsi percentage in consecutive seasons.

That’s remarkable.

As Jewels from the Crown notes, every single defenseman who's played with Muzzin in the past two seasons—Doughty included—saw his numbers skyrocket in this area.

Few players—let alone fairly inexperienced ones—are as capable of driving play toward the opposition’s net. Simply put, Muzzin shoots the puck incessantly. That's obviously a tremendous asset, as it suggests the Kings own the biscuit when he's on the ice.

Furthermore, he’s improved his execution, finding ways to filter his bids through traffic where blocked shots were once the bane of his existence. From 2013 to 2013-14, his Corsi percentage dropped from 63.1 to 61.1. However, ...

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