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The Los Angeles Kings came up short against the Boston Bruins last night, falling 5-2.
After somewhat of a low-event opening frame, Phillip Danault opened the scoring for the Kings with about four minutes to go in the period converting on a pass from Alex Iafallo. The Bruins responded in the second period though, first with a goal from David Pastrnak that got through Pheonix Copley, followed by a go-ahead goal from Brad Marchand on the power play. However, Los Angeles did respond a few minutes later, with Sean Durzi wiring a one-timer past Jeremy Swayman to tie the game and while the Kings did have some great chances before the end of the period, the game remained tied through 40 minutes.
In the third period though, the Bruins pulled ahead with a nice tip from Trent Frederic midway through the frame, before Frederic then also extended the lead to 4-2 only 34 seconds later. David Pastrnak added an empty netter later, as the Kings fell 5-2.
The Kings did put together a solid game against Boston and certainly had their chances. They ended up outshooting the Bruins 29-22, which is impressive, given Boston has averaged roughly 35 shots per game this season.
The big news today was the Kings officially reassigned defenseman Brandt Clarke to the OHL’s Barrie Colts. This comes a day after Clarke won Gold with Canada at the World Juniors, where he managed eight points in seven games.
It’s not shocking that Clarke was reassigned, given the Kings delayed having him suit up for his 10th NHL game for as long as possible. As a result, they’ll preserve a year of his entry-level contract. Clarke played nine games with the Kings, managing two assists, and also played five games with the AHL’s Ontario Reign.
We know Clarke can make an impact on the Kings’ blue line just based on his limited action this season. That said, if you look at the benefits of keeping him now versus sending him back, it’s hard to argue against letting him play out the year in the OHL.
Essentially, you’re looking at whether you want Clarke playing with the Kings at under $1 million for the remainder of this season, or whether you want that extra year to come in the 2025-2026 season. While he was a welcome addition to the blue line this year, we also know that Clarke is going to get better and better over the next three years and by the time that final year of his entry-level contract comes in the 2025-26 season, he’s going to be worth significantly more than his entry-level salary. If the Kings had kept him and burned that year, they’d be paying for it with a larger contract a year earlier than necessary.
Speaking of the World Juniors, while Clarke won Gold, forward Kenny Connors also earned a Bronze Medal with the United States. Connors managed two goals in seven tournament games.
Otto Salin, who was representing Finland, left empty handed after posting three assists in five games.
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