Los Angeles Kings Should Take Patient Approach with Brayden McNabb

Brayden McNabb is in the running for a spot on the Los Angeles Kings’ blue line in 2014-15. If he isn’t quite up to the task yet, however, L.A.’s management must employ a measured and deliberate approach to his development.

Just as the Kings shouldn’t rush him into the lineup before he’s ready, they shouldn’t be too quick to toss him aside in the face of early jitters.

According to John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor, McNabb has a legitimate shot at earning a place alongside Slava Voynov on the second pairing. That’s a huge opportunity for the 23-year-old, but he may not immediately look the part of an everyday NHL player.

Defensemen often require time to settle into their roles—especially those who focus primarily on keeping their end clean.

Though McNabb is raw in some respects, he’s a key prospect for the Kings and must be handled carefully in order to facilitate rather than stunt his growth.



Standing at 6’4” and 208 pounds, McNabb is an imposing rearguard who has performed very well in the AHL to this point. He’s amassed 102 points and a plus-28 rating in 159 regular-season games at that level.

That kind of production hasn’t yet translated to the NHL, where he’s put up eight points and an even rating in 37 regular-season contests with the Buffalo Sabres.

With that said, his underlying numbers provide cause for optimism.

Despite the modest sample size, he’s acquitted himself nicely in the metrics that matter. In 2011-12, he posted strong relative Corsi and goals-for percentages. In 2013-14—his only other season of big league action—Buffalo again governed a higher percentage of shot attempts and goals when McNabb was on the ice.

While this is a small body of work, the Sabres enjoying better results with McNabb...

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