Tanner Pearson Should Become Fixture on Los Angeles Kings’ 2nd Line

Tyler Toffoli may deliver a stronger jolt of pure offense on “That '70s Line,” but Tanner Pearson holds a firmer grip on a second-line spot with the Los Angeles Kings.

As it stands, that group performed admirably in the postseason and will likely ride its momentum into 2014-15.

Head coach Darryl Sutter has never hesitated to throw his lines into the blender, though, and it’s almost certain that he’ll mix and match once more as the Kings look to stay focused and defend their championship.

Nevertheless, Pearson should earn himself a permanent role in the top six this season due to a couple of well-defined traits working in his favor.



One of the main reasons Jeff Carter and Mike Richards appeared so out of sync in the second half of 2013-14—the latter was relegated to the fourth line and mustered only 14 points in the final 50 games—was a glaring discrepancy in pace.

With his deceptive stride and long reach, Carter routinely dashed up the ice to unleash his shot on opposing netminders. Alas, a weary Richards was continually late in reaching the point of attack.

Pearson has the wheels to not only keep up, but push the play forward:

Coming out of the 2012 draft, many scouting reports harped on Pearson's poor skating. Corey Pronman of Hockey Prospectus (h/t Jewels from the Crown) listed it as his primary weakness, while The Hockey News still considers him only an “average skater.”

During last season’s Stanley Cup Final, ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun sang an entirely different tune:

Tanner Pearson has rocket fuel in his skates tonight

— Pierre LeBrun (@Real_ESPNLeBrun) June 12, 2014 The 22-year-old has obviously dedicated himself to improving that element of his game, although it seemed like he didn’t realize just how much o...

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