Los Angeles Kings’ 3rd Line Requires Immediate Makeover

The Los Angeles Kings picked up a vital win on Tuesday night against the Colorado Avalanche, moving them within striking distance in the Pacific Division and wild-card races.

Moreover, they caught a glimpse of an effective third line—a rare sight in recent weeks.

Up-and-coming center Nick Shore replaced Jarret Stoll on the unit, and the youngster buzzed in the offensive zone alongside Justin Williams and Kyle Clifford.

Since depth is so critical to L.A.’s success, the team may have uncovered a key adjustment to the forward ranks as it hits 2014-15’s home stretch. Whether the coaching staff sticks to it, however, is anyone’s guess.


Jarret Stoll

The 32-year-old has mustered one point and a minus-six rating in the past 20 games.

Though that's actually kind of impressive in the worst way, it doesn’t come as a shock. He’s performed dismally for most of the season, and the numbers are starting to catch up to his play again. 

Williams is the reason he's managed to stay afloat, as the winger's terrific puck possession has funneled action toward the opposition's end and thus prevented Stoll from being exposed:

At 33, however, the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner is no spring chicken himself. He has also struggled with a decline, and without a strong center presence to lean on, his shortcomings—turnovers, defensive lapses—have come into sharper focus. 

Even in his prime, Stoll wouldn’t constitute the ideal fit next to Williams. At this stage, he represents an outright hindrance.

Plays regularly die on his stick, and it’s awfully difficult to establish a consistent cycle when one must avoid a specific forward in order to keep possession alive. As a result, Hockey-Reference.com indicates that Stoll is on pace for the lowest points-per-game ...

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